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B2B Branding.
How to Strengthen Your B2B Brand and Stand Out in the Industry.

#Brand Strategy

Are you running a successful B2B operation or responsible for its marketing? Are you unsure whether branding is truly relevant for your business? You are not alone. Many specialized companies, hidden champions, and experienced service providers who do not directly target the broad mass of customers ask themselves the same question: Is it worth investing in our brand and external perception? The answer is simple: Yes, it is worth it! Investing in the brand is a long-term investment in the company itself. To stand out in the market, one must distinguish themselves from the competition. This applies to both B2C companies offering products or services to end customers and companies active in the B2B environment. After all, it is always people interacting with each other.

Digitization as an Opportunity
Many SMEs, as well as large corporations, are in continuous digitization. Processes, infrastructure, and know-how in this area are key resources of our time and often determine whether a company is profitable and can develop further. However, some companies are just beginning to digitize their processes and are making significant investments to meet market challenges. Regardless of where your company currently stands: Websites, applications, and other brand touchpoints are often more than just marketing tools today. They serve B2B customers as tools and are connected to other digital instruments used internally. Digitization and the associated transformation within the company is the best time to integrate brand perception into your process.

B2B businesses have the advantage that communication and brand touchpoints are limited to a few channels, such as the website and LinkedIn profile. However, this should not be underestimated. A 2023 study by consulting firm Gartner shows that 75% of B2B buyers prefer a sales experience without representatives (or sales experts). Although the study also mentions that a mix of sales channels is needed to avoid so-called buyer's remorse, it highlights the importance of a B2B company's digital presence. Do not miss the opportunity to actively address the needs of your customers with your company's brand communication and to specifically target them. To meet the challenges of the present and remain competitive, brands must be flexible and continuously evolve. Therefore, a rethinking in corporate design is necessary. To be perceived as a digital brand, the design elements must be adapted to the new digital-first approach. This starts with the online presence as the gateway to the company but also affects advertising measures and social media presence. Web-optimized fonts, the use of vibrant colors, animations, and the definition of motion picture guidelines are part of the new normal.

Branding is Made for People
B2B brand communication is traditionally fact-based and sober. At first glance, this seems sensible since the target group has industry knowledge and expertise. However, there is a trend towards emotional communication in the B2B environment because, in the end, people with the same feelings and needs as end consumers work there. A study with 400 B2B marketing experts from Europe by Allison+Partners shows that the experts desire emotional communication. To meet these needs, authentic storytelling paired with fact-based information can appeal to both sides of a business customer. The storytelling aspect should always be used in strategic brand development because, in addition to existing facts, every product or service offers added value that has enough potential to tell a story. A brand and its associated communication are made for people, and people love stories.

Strengthening Identification with the Company
Another point advocating for dealing with the company's appearance is employer branding. Many companies struggle to find qualified employees due to the current skills shortage or have to endure energy-draining and costly hiring processes. Employer branding is essential to strengthen employees' identification with the company and to find motivated personnel. Through a strong employer brand, companies can not only solidify the loyalty of their existing employees but also unlock the potential for deeper identification of new professionals with the company. Various employer branding measures help increase employee satisfaction, reduce turnover, and ultimately secure long-term business success.

Purpose Economy is More Than a Buzzword
Perhaps the term purpose economy is new to you: It refers to the brand management of tomorrow and an increasingly important target group, Generation Z. The Zukunftsinstitut from Germany describes the term as follows: "New dimensions of value creation beyond the mindset of growth and profit maximization come to the fore: social added value, sustainability, a happy workforce, social progress. Companies that want to succeed in times increasingly critical of growth must live and promote these new value concepts of the purpose economy themselves." In times when climate change can no longer be denied, and equality, even in language, has become the new normal, it is essential to address the purpose economy even as a business without direct contact with the general public. To meet today's requirements, it is crucial to be aware of the company's values and logically integrate them into the appearance to lay the foundation for future success. This strengthens employees' identification with the brand and reinforces customers in their purchasing decisions. Your company is the right partner and also shares the same values. A bullseye.

From Sales to Marketing
Today, it is no longer just about filling order books but building long-term customer relationships. Many believe this was already the case decades ago. However, in addition to personal relationships, relationships with brands are now crucial. Why is that? Many companies rely on the personal relationships of the sales department to maintain their sales figures. This is a risky approach and almost seems outdated, especially when considering what could happen, for example, if an experienced employee leaves and possibly even joins a competitor. This risk can be minimized by focusing on strategic brand development and making customer loyalty not solely dependent on employees but on identification with the brand. This means that modern companies measure their success not only by sales figures but also by their recognition in the industry. What is evident and easy to understand in the B2C sector offers clear advantages in the B2B environment. High recognition automatically leads to a higher number of inquiries and verifiable interactions on digital channels. This can minimize potential cluster risks and thus secure the company's success in the long term.

Branding in the B2B sector strengthens the long-term market position, differentiates the company from competitors, and appeals not only to customers but also to potential employees. A strong brand helps to assert oneself in the digital world and to engage in more emotional and targeted communication. Branding in the B2B sector is not just a nice-to-have but a must to remain successful and competitive in the long term. It strengthens customer loyalty, facilitates employee recruitment and retention, and contributes significantly to digital transformation.

Key Points

1. Digitization as an Opportunity

Key channels like the website and LinkedIn are crucial for the first impression.

2. Importance of Digital Presence
75% of B2B buyers prefer a sales experience without representatives (sales experts).

3. Emotional Brand Communication
Emotional appeal alongside fact-based communication is important even in the B2B sector.

4. Storytelling
Authentic storytelling addresses both the emotional and fact-based sides of a business customer.

5. Employer Branding
An appealing brand appearance helps attract and retain qualified employees.

6. Meaning Economy
Sustainability and social values are becoming increasingly important for brand management.

7. From Sales to Marketing
Long-term customer relationships and brand recognition are more crucial than mere sales figures.

8. Risk Minimization
Strategic brand development reduces dependence on individual employees and increases corporate security.


Best Practice Case Derendinger 

Derendinger has taken a remarkable journey to solidify its position as a leading partner for Swiss workshops in the automotive parts sector. As a B2B company, Derendinger recognizes the opportunities of a forward-looking appearance. A radical step was the decision to redesign the corporate design in a bold lime green. This striking color choice, which corresponds to digital trends and consciously aims to stand out from competitors, underscores Derendinger's commitment to innovation and modernity. The lime green becomes a defining visual element that presents the brand across all digital platforms and communication channels.

The revamp of the web presence aims not only to provide information but also to tell stories and build a connection to the brand: The choice of a personal visual language to showcase the people behind Derendinger makes the brand tangible and emotionally relatable. Through this strategic reorientation, Derendinger seizes the potential of digitization as an opportunity to strengthen brand identity and face future challenges. Derendinger emphasizes not only doing business but also building long-term relationships that go beyond the mere purchase process.

"We have worked intensively to create a modern appearance that clearly communicates our values and vision. I am particularly proud of the creative collaboration within the team. With the new corporate design, a personal visual language, and clear language guidelines, we have made a strong statement in the vehicle parts market."
— Sibylle Walker, Head of Corporate Communications and Business Planning

"The rebranding of Derendinger was a big step for us. As CEO, I was heavily involved in the process, and the decision for bold color branding was necessary to give employees from teams with different brands a common identity. We distinguish ourselves significantly from the market's color uniformity and have not only strengthened our brand but also deepened the identification of our employees with the company."
— Karl Heusi, CEO

Author: André Konrad, Managing Partner and Branding Expert

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