The emotional role in B2B branding
Emotional concerns in B2B buying are at the heart of B2B decision-making and are determined by the same complex formula of reasoning, post-rationalisation, and emotion that drives B2C sales.
A Gartner study on B2B brand positioning revealed that while 10 to 50 percent of consumers have an emotional connection with B2C brands, that number is an even more impressive 40 to 70 percent of consumers who emotionally connect with B2B brands. So, it turns out that on average, B2B buyers are noticeably more emotionally connected to brands than B2C buyers.
Emotional connections happen when a brand is able to meet their clients’ motivations, aspirations and values. To be successful in their efforts, marketers must understand how to meet these needs to influence their B2B customers buying decisions and close more B2B deals.
Trust is the cornerstone of emotion
Building trust is paramount for success in the emotional space of B2B branding. The most successful brands are built on the basis of consistently delivering on their brand promises. B2B buyers are looking for businesses they see as transparent, ethical, and consistent.
You build trust with your B2B buyers by offering consistent messaging across all marketing channels to saturate them with these values. That demands a well-planned content strategy for knowledge pieces, social media channels, websites, advertising and more.
Once potential customers see that you share their values and concerns, they are much more likely to transform from a curious lead to an empathetic customer, and possibly even advocate for your brand to bring in future prospects longer term.
Address the risk tolerance of your B2B customers
Unless you are already a market leader with more market share and revenue than the competition, you will likely be seen as a riskier alternative by potential B2B buyers. If this is the case, your marketing strategies must be aligned to address the challenges that come with these perceptions.
Smaller firms must first sell themselves as entrusted and viable partners before selling their products and services. It’s imperative to satisfy your potential B2B buyers that your brand attributes include longevity, stability, and value.
One way to do this is by presenting case studies from previously successful campaigns and demonstrating value in your solutions. Referrals from the markets you are targeting are also an influential parameter to gaining market traction and influencing purchasing decisions.
Contrary to B2C purchases where a product can typically be returned, B2B purchases come with significant risks for decision makers. A bad business decision can mean a large investment could go wasted and the firm’s own performance could even decline as a result.
Think of it as your job as a marketer to consider all of the risks from the perspective of the buyer and how you are going to minimise those risks. Only once the B2B buyer is satisfied by the value and longevity your brand provides can you move towards selling your product.
The value of consistency in emotional relationships
The most dependable, long-lasting and valuable customers are built on emotional relationships. In fact, a strong, emotionally-based brand position is the key driver in sustaining relationships and growth over time.
The emotional connection is most powerful when it saturates the entire brand’s customer experience and its campaigns. This consistency helps ensure sustained growth in the shape of customer acquisition, lifetime value, and share of wallet.
Based on a thorough analysis of the target market and the emotions that motivate profitable behaviors, brands can measure and apply these learnings to all parts of the customer journey in a consistent way: from initial interaction to potential purchase and beyond.
There’s plenty of data in the B2B space demonstrating that a strong emotional connection with your buyers has a positive impact on your bottom line.
Acquiring new customers and growing existing ones requires firms to focus their investments on utilizing the power of emotional connections to tap into the highest impact growth opportunities. Costly marketing campaigns can fail to yield results when they’re not targeted towards monetizing buyers who feel emotionally connected to a brand.
And beyond just campaign level activities, it will serve you well to think outside of the box and position all of your B2B marketing strategies to push the boundaries of traditional marketing. You’re either building trust or failing to do just that – a costly mistake to make.