There are some similarities between Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Customer (B2C) branding, but knowing the differences is critical to developing a strong B2B identity. Branding your B2B and marketing it correctly is easy when you understand what other businesses are looking for when researching your business.
- B2B clients are driven by need. Often, that need is based on expansion, and companies are willing to make significant time and financial investments to find a solution.
- B2C customers are driven by needs, wants and impulses. Sometimes, customers know what they want and the sales process is fast and smooth. Other times, customers want to shop around, look at many choices and make a decision based on what sometimes seems like arbitrary decisions.
- B2B purchases are driven primarily by logic and reason. Decisionmakers base purchasing decisions on costs, quality and the customer journey. Part of that customer journey is the brand creating trust and positing themselves as experts so the customer has confidence in finalising the purchase.
- B2C purchases are motivated primarily by emotion. Branding that appeals to the target customers’ emotions will motivate sales.
Multiple and Singular
- B2B products and services are sold to meet the needs of large groups of people, for this reason, your product needs to have broad appeal and pass multiple layers of approval on the sales journey.
- B2C products and services are sold to individuals. Generally, products need to appeal to one person or a small group – like a family. Perhaps one or two people make final decisions about the purchasing decision.
Types of Customers
- B2B companies generally have a small or specialist target market. The brand needs to appeal to its niche and demonstrate expertise in its field to secure client trust.
- B2C companies target a very specific customer persona that is honed and crafted as the company grows. Brands attempt to appeal to their customer through personalisation and community-building tactics.
- The B2B buyer persona focuses on appealing to a job role, not the individual.
- The B2C buyer persona focuses on the prospect’s individual characteristics, factoring in gender, income, social position, desires and more.
- B2B sales are about long-term relationships. Often, companies purchasing B2B services need to contact you for the term of the contract, so you need to build a relationship based on expertise and trust.
- B2C branding is transactional. Products and services are short-term and often a one-time purchase.
- B2B teams need to be experts. They must address every question and pain point with confidence and knowledge to secure sales. Sales teams must have experience and understand the needs of their industry clients.
- B2C branding needs to communicate clear benefits. Prospective customers want to know the key benefits of your product, with access to more information if they want, but primarily, they want to understand the immediate benefits.
- B2B purchases are expensive. While companies set budgets for such large investments, the price point is always in the tens of thousands. This is not a primary concern for clients who are more invested in securing the right solution.
- B2C purchases have a broad range. People have strict budgets for some items and flexible budgets for others. The price point can be very influential in decision-making.
- The long B2B sales cycle includes many stakeholders involved in the purchase. The goal of B2B branding is to develop trust over the duration of the sales cycle and establish a lasting relationship.
- B2C companies have a very short sales cycle. The goal is to achieve an instant connection to emotionally motivate the buying decision.
The motivations for B2B and B2C customers are different, so the branding approach needs to be adjusted for the audience. B2B brands should focus on the needs of the client and your experience as an expert. B2C brands should focus on a personalised approach that motivates sales using an emotional connection.
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