The short answer to this question is yes and in this article we explain how branding differs for B2B and B2C organisations and how branding can add substantial value to a business’ net worth. The fact is every business needs branding of some form, but you need to think broader than just the visual aesthetics of the website and marcomms you see everyday. Branding is a deep organisational entity that includes things that are both seen and unseen by the world. It is something that needs careful management and should be discussed at board level. Unfortunately, a lot of B2B businesses (big and small) don’t invest in their brand in the same way as a B2C business does because they lack the understanding or insight required to know what actions to take.
People tend to only associate branding with visible touchpoints such as a logo, website, packaging, press advert, email campaign or signage for example, and because B2C brands are generally more visible and acute with the implementation of their brand across the various touchpoints. There is a misconception that thorough strategic branding is better suited to consumer facing brands than a business serving other businesses. The visible touchpoints are obvious, but with any business/brand there are invisible touchpoints that are pivotal to the success of the business as a whole. These invisible touchpoints are things like the CEO vision, sales calls, relationship building, employee behaviour and problem solving.
Trust also plays a huge part in any business or brand’s success. If customers don’t trust you then they won’t use you. It’s as simple as that. So trust matters whether you are a B2B or B2C business. The only difference between B2B and B2C businesses is where that trust is placed.
With B2C product brands, customers trust the company and the touchpoints tend to be very visible. With B2B products, customers trust the company and the touchpoints tend to be more invisible.
For service led businesses the relationships customers have with the brand are not with the company as such; it’s more often with the employees within it. So, with B2C service companies such as your pension advisor, solicitor, gas fitter or dentist to name but a few, customers will trust the employees of these organisations due to the relationships they have built with the individuals within. The touchpoints of a B2C service brand brand need to be visible. Why is that the case?
Well, a brand can just happen. When a business is valued and the price is lower than others in the sector, it can sometimes be due to the fact the brand is an ‘accidental one’. What do we mean by an ‘accidental brand’?
It’s not always easy to understand but every product, service, or company has a brand whether it is intentional or not. Any business or product that has started, or has been around for decades, is a brand. A business can grow without investing in any valuable brand creation in terms of a visual or verbal identity. An accidental brand often refers to a business that has grown organically, without proper investment and strategic guidance as a whole. The organisation may just have a product in a niche industry that businesses or consumers want and they’re the only business offering it. You can claim to have a successful brand but as soon as a challenger comes into the market and shakes things up, you’ll need to change your position quite quickly. The comfortable position you once held will be compromised. For example, if a challenger enters the market and positions themselves in such away that enables them to start swallowing up some of the market share, and has invested in their brand properly, the value of their business /brand will become higher than that of the ‘accidental one’. That’s why the global players are continuously investing in their brand, because it affects the monetary value of the business.
To put this into context, CocaCola’s market cap is estimated at around $50 Billion, not including the brand value. When you apply the added value the brand brings to the business, the market cap of CocaCola jumps to around $120 Billion. Quite staggering how much more valuable CocaCola becomes when you take note of the brand value. We appreciate CocaCola is a global player but the value branding brings to any business is substantial.
How can you optimise the value of a brand?
Quite simply, the most powerful way to increase brand value is through design. However design by itself is weak and cannot increase value. Design needs strategy to focus it. The same works the other way. Strategy on its own is weak and needs great design to activate it.
When our strategic and creative team work together, we can build a powerful brand. One that reduces the “psychological distance” between the company and its products. When you build brands that adhere to a code of aesthetic and moral values and are also beautifully designed, they will command the highest priced premiums. In fact, up to 40% more than generic products and services!
So, should businesses take branding seriously? Absolutely, if you don’t just want to engage and attract the right customers, staff and or investors, but want to increase the monetary value of the company as well.