B2B Branding: Maximizing Brand Pull
Brand Strategy Director, Singapore
This article is one of a two-part series on B2B Branding, where we demystify the term “B2B2C” and focus on key takeaways to drive business growth.
In the last issue, we touched upon the benefits for B2B business of extending a reach towards the other end of the spectrum – from simple distributors to focusing on the people who finally use and interact with your brand.
In this article we discuss a few case studies of branding towards the end user (aka “B2B2C” branding) that have real world results, stemming from a strong strategy derived from five key takeaways.
Wonder Cement – Cement Manufacturer from India
Wonder Cement manufactures cement. This would seem like a brand you would have nothing to do with. However, it has successfully engaged its end consumers by beautifully changing the concept of cement from just a building material to a building block of social good.
Through its social media campaigns, Wonder Cement has portrayed its human side and successfully communicated its brand promise “My Perfect Shuruatt (beginning)” through real stories shared about beautiful beginnings. From witnessing the birth of a child to helping an injured dog, Wonder Cement’s employees shared stories that illustrated perfect beginnings. The Wonder Cement team was also named “people of wonder” with their own stories to tell. Its campaign on “The Art of Cement” has shone a different light on cement and that it can be a form of art in architecture, coasters or even USB devices.
More recently, its brand building activities have been centered around cricket – India’s national sport. The #Saath7 campaign saw a huge participation by a huge crowd and even featured a 61-year-old lady captain. Its aim was to empower rural India and help the stars of the future turn their dreams into reality. Wonder Cement hoped to identify talent at the grassroots level so they could be groomed for bigger league games. This was part of the overarching mission to help develop rural India.
The #Saath7 campaign was India’s biggest consumer engagement program that has captured hearts and minds. The cricket tournament attracted the participation of 39, 840 cricket enthusiasts across Rajasthan. This event also connected Wonder Cement with its audience vividly with the use of various platforms from Facebook to Twitter: the hashtag #Saath7 generated a reach of over 900,000 and over 7 million impressions.
The B2B brand has cemented its stature in the community as a caring and committed persona that is easy to relate to. Wonder Cement is becoming a memorable brand with a well-projected social cause, something the end consumer recognizes and appreciates.
Dairy Australia – Investment and Research arm of Australian Dairy Industry
Dairy Australia is the research and investment arm of the Australian Dairy industry. They run studies and surveys tracking the sentiment of farmers and consumer groups towards dairy products and the industry in general. There was a challenging time when prolonged drought and negative sentiments had sent demand in dairy products falling. The farmers’ morale was also seen to affect the industry.
In response, Dairy Australia launched a “Legendairy” campaign to boost the profile of the industry. The first year of the campaign put a spotlight on the farmers themselves, to inspire pride and confidence in the dairy people throughout the industry.
The re-launch of the campaign featured seemingly ordinary characters with extraordinary jobs made possible thanks to the benefits of Australian dairy. While tongue-in-cheek, this campaign reminds consumers about dairy’s positive attributes by featuring a “professional water-slider” relying on milk for rehydration and repairing of tired muscles.
Since the campaign was launched, consumer confidence in dairy products has increased and boosted participation of farmers in the campaign. This campaign boosted sales for dairy farmers by connecting them to the consumers directly. In contrast to the past industry sentiment, this has been a great boost to the industry amidst prolonged drought and other climate issues.
Legendairy platforms have gathered 15, 000 Facebook followers, 19, 000 unique visitors and over 55 positive farmer profiles and videos featured in the media. More importantly, farmer sentiment in the industry’s future has increased by 11%. It is a superb achievement to make a difference in the stakeholders’ lives by connecting with the end consumers as illustrated by Dairy Australia’s campaign.
How can I start branding B2B like a pro?
You don’t need to be big to start focusing on the end user: with the rise of all things digital, you can easily engage end-consumers in your brand-building process. The first step is to evaluate your current brand positioning – is it too narrow? Is it limited to just immediate customers? Is there an opportunity to reframe your territory and re-position your brand? We find that there are five fundamental steps to take.
Five Practical Steps to get started:
- Think BIG: Do not limit your audience to just your immediate customers. Invest in both B2B and B2B2C strategies to widen your audience and increase the possibility of discovering unmet market needs. This is a great opportunity for product innovation.
- Speak Correctly: Develop separate communication strategies for B2B and B2B2C markets. Speak in the medium and language which allows the target audiences to comprehend the content easily. The content must appeal to the right audience using the right channels. The diagram below on GE’s social media platforms and each of their respective roles is a perfect illustration. There is little impact of publicizing about your trade show in Facebook when the channel is dedicated towards relaxation. Along the same vein, tailor Instagram and Pinterest content towards what people engage with – likely not stale visuals about machines.
- Stay Relevant: Showcase how applications of your product or service can impact end users daily. Translate technical jargons and specifications into easy-to-understand concepts. Highlight your involvement in daily life products or applications which would otherwise be neglected. For example, SAP’s co-branding with Nestle lets consumers know that Nestle uses SAP systems in its operations that include delivery of Nestle’s water to end-consumers.
- Engage all: Traditionally, companies have been engaging in one-sided push marketing, eventually progressing to listening to customers through surveys and research. More recently, companies have been listening to the conversations about their brands on social media platforms. Going forth, communication shifts from pushing to listening to engaging. Engage your consumers and get their inputs. Two-way communication is the crux of all relationships, including one that is between your brand and end consumers.
- Collaborate Across: You don’t have to do everything by yourself. Work with partners, especially downstream brands in pushing for a common cause. Collaborate in consumer engagement initiatives such as idea conceptualization competitions, which could lead to innovative outcomes for all parties.
B2B2C branding is not for the faint of heart: it is a long-term brand-building process that will not yield results overnight, and must be executed with a true understanding of the end user’s needs. Begin thinking today about how your brand can reach beyond and engage end-consumers, and take the first step towards solidifying a position in the market backed by hundreds of thousands of positive brand perceptions.