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Does your B2B brand need a personality?

September 2019Helen

B2B branding has been a topic in our blogs over the past few weeks, so today we explore why your B2B brand needs a brand personality.

In August we looked at why branding is important for B2B businesses. We argued that branding can help to differentiate your business, helping to engage the right audience with clear brand messages, as well as communicating your values and adding value to your service offering.

In a more recent blog, we looked at 6 things B2B marketers should be doing and right up there was implementing more personalisation in marketing. Certainly, B2B brands that use personalisation and a targeted approach in their marketing will achieve greater engagement. For instance, we discovered that…

  • B2B customers are more than 2 x more likely to consider a brand that shows personal value over business value because they conceive little difference in the business value between suppliers. (Marketing Week)
  • B2B brands that connect with their buyers on an emotional level earn twice the impact over marketers who are still trying to sell a business of functional value. (LinkedIn)
  • B2B companies with brands that are perceived as strong generate a higher EBIT margin than others. (Forbes)

If the argument for a brand personality is so compelling, why are B2B companies so reticent about injecting some personality in their branding and marketing? Having worked in B2B for over 20 years, with corporates and SMEs, I think it’s a long standing view of how things get done. The B2B environment can be very professional, extremely technical and more often than not, product-led, and in many cases, B2B companies will showcase all three traits in abundance!

Marketers might argue that their company’s products are not sexy and their audience does not lend itself to the fluffy, gimmicky marketing campaigns you might see in consumer markets. And I agree – you do have to think about your audience and this approach won’t be right on every occasion. However, having a brand personality is different. Every B2B company has its own unique personality – a set of values, behaviour, culture or way of doing things. Customers buy into this just as much as your products and services. At the end of the day people really do buy from people, so why wouldn’t you want to communicate and promote your own brand personality to help customers make an informed choice about who you are, but also to help differentiate you in the marketplace when products and services are very similar.

At FIG when we are working on a B2B branding project we usually talk to customers to find out why they choose to work with that company. Customer service and the way they do business is often just as important as their products and services. But we also interview the staff because it’s just as important to understand what they think about the company. To try and get people, not in marketing, to think about brand personality can sometimes be tricky, so we will ask people to compare their company to a well-known make of car or a famous person or consumer brand. Always taken as a bit of fun, these answers can be illuminating and you will sometimes get very similar answers if the company has a very clear set of values.

Try it for yourselves.

What would your company be if it was a car and why?

Here are some of the answers we’ve had previously:

Audi – we’re known for quality, premium workmanship and not afraid of making a statement. We have loyal followers.

Alfa Romeo – We’re passionate and entrepreneurial. People like to follow what we do.

Who would your company be if it was a famous person or company and why?

Here are some of the answers we’ve had previously:

Alex Ferguson – Focused, Extensive knowledge of the industry, knowledgeable, successful at what we do.

David Attenborough – Has great history, wealth of knowledge, is trustworthy and always looking for new avenues to explore.

Virgin Airlines – We’re spirited and fast paced.

John Lewis   – We’re experts in our field, in everything we do. Our staff are knowledgeable, well trained and motivated.

If you would like help understanding and communicating your brand personality, get in touch with FIG on 01457 857111.

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