B2B branding is dead. Long live B2B branding.

In times of change one thing remains the same: The importance of a strong B2B brand.
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Killing off industry darlings is normally reserved for digital buzzwords and marketing flavours of the month. This time, however, we have gone for the main event. The king. The B2B brand. And if you strike the king, make sure you kill him.

Cause of death

B2B branding had a short-lived reign as king. It’s value was – and still is – obvious: the need to differentiate on something other than product specs, and the harvesting of emotional value from target audiences with increasingly shorter attention spans and disloyalty (insiders note: the target group was always disloyal – they have only just recently acquired the digital means necessary to act on their disloyalty).

So, who killed the king? The usual culprit: the internet.

The internet is ‘social’. It not only enables information gathering and knowledge sharing on a whole new level. It means talking, listening, evaluating. But first and foremost, it means a shift in power.

From you holding every card in every situation (omnipotent product knowledge) to becoming just another player in line for table (empowered customers). And this shift in power from you to your customer is not just a result of the new transparency, although this plays a big part.

In the digital age, it goes without saying, that your big mistakes will not go unnoticed. Your pricing policy and services are easily benchmarked. Your broken promises will be remembered. And online dents in your reputation are far more difficult to repair than a few bad KAM sales meetings. But the power shift is also a result of a return to…

B2B branding!

The resurrection

We see light. We see blooming ideas and hope in the eyes of a new generation of marketeers and brand owners. We see the same CEO, who could never muster an original opinion on any marketing initiative wake up and declare herself a brand enthusiast. We see a movement towards hardcore brand engagement on behalf of the company and a faith in the power of B2B. And we observe this in the middle of the digital frenzy that is today’s market place. In recent years, we have seen a rise in B2B companies working diligently with their brand, and this can be boiled down to two main reasons:

1. Digital initiatives = brand schizophrenia
2. Brand work is your CEO’s most interesting talk

Long live the queen

The king is dead. From the ashes rises the B2B queen.