”Brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”
Gwen Lafage and Christine Sandmark, new network leaders for Marknadsföreningen Stockholm’s B2B network kicked off with their first meeting in May, at Frontit.
”B2B brands in the age of the customer” was the topic of the day. Despite what many believe, the brand is more important in B2B marketing than in B2C.
Many people in B2B think that the product is more important than the brand. But as Gwen pointed out, people don´t just buy your product – they buy your brand.
B2B decision process is long and expensive, making brand more important. 39% of a business purchase decision is based on brand, compared to 27% of a customer’s purchase decision. Brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.
What makes a strong brand?
- Customer centric – build your brand with storytelling
- Authentic – who are you, what are your values?
- Unique – find your voice
- Consistent – don’t have a disconnect, focus on the entire experience
80% of the purchase decision is made before the customer comes in contact with your sales team. Go from B2B to H2H (Human to Human). Long-term brand generation is as important as short-term lead generation.
Rickard Bäcklin, with extensive experience from both agencies and companies, presented the prize-winning campaign “The backbone of the internet” for Telia Sonera International Carrier.
Six to eight people are involved in the average decision-making process in B2B buying. Buying decisions are a combination of rational and emotional steps based on trust and long-term relationships. Brand loyalty must be earned.
Branding is not about advertising, brand books and the logo. Branding should steer the whole process from production development, marketing and communications, sales pitches and the customer service. Make branding a part of your employees´ daily work. Go from sales support to customer journey.
Mikkel Drucker, CMO at Tacton was the next speaker. Don´t ever take a job where the CEO doesn’t have a genuine interest in marketing.
- Get marketing on the agenda
- Fix the marketing machine
- Get focused on sales
- Be a change ninja
If you want to change from being product oriented to customer oriented you have to slice it up in small pieces.
Mikkel mentioned Microsoft as a good example of a company that has changed its culture and brand with the new CEO from the last five years.
–Change constantly, with small wins. Work in sprints and celebrate along the way.
Gwen summed up the discussion with a quote from Game of Thrones: Only stories unite people. The brand has to come from the inside out.
Thank you Mikkel and Rickard for sharing your experiences, thanks to Gwen and Christine for a great start and to all who attended and contributed to an interesting discussion.
Check the calendar for information about upcoming meetings.
Text & foto: Helen Crowe Blomgren