THEINTELLIGENTINDUSTRIAL                                 ™MARKETERw h i t e pa p e r s e r i e s                    brandi...
What makes someone buy from one company                               and not another?                               Answe...
What is a brand?                                                                 The Industrial Brand PyramidA brand is a ...
Why you should be branding all the time…            Reaching people, engaging with them and influencing their purchasing d...
Branding influences the growing committeeof buyers.                                                                       ...
2. Be relevant.                                  Make sure your branding messages reach people who want to hear more about...
Use the Internet to influence buyer behavior – and startbuilding your brand now.The Internet is an instrumental tool for b...
Five Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001©2010 Thomas Industrial Network, Inc.                          ...
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Branding White Paper


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Branding White Paper

  1. 1. THEINTELLIGENTINDUSTRIAL ™MARKETERw h i t e pa p e r s e r i e s branding and the industrial buying process: why and how to build your brand
  2. 2. What makes someone buy from one company and not another? Answers to this question can be varied and extensive. But, over the years, research has shown that there is one common theme: Whether buyers were thumbing through print catalogs to find what they needed just a decade ago, or when they’re searching and comparing products online today, people tend to buy from companies they know – or, at least, recognize. And that’s where branding makes all the difference. In his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell says buyers make most of their decisions by relying on quick, blink-like impressions based on their own stored memories, images, feelings and emotions. So, what’s really driving purchasing decisions? Many factors, including people’s unconscious emotional responses, play roles in the buying process. But, when you take a look at the big picture, you’ll see that branding efforts are behind the scenes controlling customers’ decisions to buy, and strong brands create a pre-disposition to buy. What makes a strong industrial brand? In B2B, you must remember that your customers are real people, not companies. A common misconception among industrial companies is that because we are doing business in the B2B arena, people aren’t involved in the branding equation. But that assumption is so wrong! B2B or not, companies don’t buy from companies, people buy from companies – and, these days, there’s a “growing committee” of people involved in the industrial buying process. Here are three reasons why B2B branding is important, offered by John Quelch, a professor at Harvard Business School, in his blog post on “How to Build a B2B Brand”: 1. B2B marketers must address thousands of small businesses as well as enterprise customers and they cannot do so economically using the traditional direct sales force. 2. Customers will be confused and the company will look disorganized if branding is unattended and individual managers are left to do their own adhoc marketing. “The result will be a hodgepodge of corporate logos, taglines, and packaging,” Quelch says. 3. Finally, Quelch notes, “B2B marketers are realizing that developing brand awareness among their customers’ customers can capture a larger share of channel margins and build loyalty that can protect them against lower-priced competitors.” This white paper offers an overview of B2B branding. It explains how branding influences customers’ buying decisions, and it reveals strategies that industrial companies can employ to encourage more people to buy your brand.1 the IntellIgent IndustrIal marketer
  3. 3. What is a brand? The Industrial Brand PyramidA brand is a marketer’s promise to consistently deliver a specific set offeatures, benefits, and services to buyers. How buyers view your productsand services, and the way they perceive the benefits of working with yourcompany, are what make branding so important for industrial companies.A successful brand: Belief: I’m doing a great job• Communicates your company’s Unique Value Proposition (UVP). It’s saving my company money what makes your company stand out from your competition and offers a reason why someone should buy from you rather than them.• Rises above the noise. Your challenge as an industrial marketer is to Benefit: Carbon fiber wings and fuselages build a brand that rises above the “sea of noise” in the B2B marketing weigh less than aluminum so planes world. How do you differentiate your products and services from the require less fuel bland sameness in tactics, never-ending lists of product features, and a general lack of personality in communication efforts? Your industrial brand should connect with customers – real people – on many levels and Attribute: Carbon fiber is lightweight and strong in meaningful ways.• Connects with your customers’ emotional drivers. People with emotions (or a committee of people) evaluate what products or services Example of a brand pyramid for a company that sells carbon to buy in the industrial purchasing process. In addition to logical and fiber wings and fuselages to the aerospace industry. rational criteria, emotions and powerful (and often irrational) impulses are always present when people make purchasing decisions. It’s just human nature. So, if your brand is positioned properly and speaks to buyers’ BELIEFS: Portray emotional benefits to needs, you’ll be successful. the buyer – how your brand will ultimately satisfy their emotional needs.A buyer’s overall comfort with a company and its brands is often the reason BENEFITS: Summarize the tangiblewhy they choose to buy one company’s product over another’s. Your experience – what do the attributes givecompany’s brand is important because: your customers? How will they benefit by • It is the image that customers and prospects have of you when they using your brand? see your company’s name. • It is the reputation associated with your company’s name. ATTRIBUTES: Starting at the foundation, your industrial brand needs to be based • It is the perception people have of your company. on the attributes of your products and • It is the trust they feel when they hear or see your company’s name. services. Focus on differentiating qualities and aspects.There are real ROI benefits in building your brand. Potential buyers takethe following preferential actions when they encounter strong brands: • People are more willing to try a product or service. • They’re also more likely to purchase. • They’re willing to pay a premium price. • They’re less sensitive to price increases. • And they’re less likely to try a competitive offering. BrandIng and the IndustrIal BuyIng Process: Why and hoW to BuIld your Brand 2
  4. 4. Why you should be branding all the time… Reaching people, engaging with them and influencing their purchasing decisions are the goals that make the branding process successful. Timing is everything, and that’s why you should be branding all the time. As the timeline below shows, there are three phases in the branding process that coordinate with specific steps in the buying process. THOMASNET NEWS C re a t e a wa re ne ss o f yo ur Re m i n d t h e b u yer t o l ook f or H el p b u yers f eel g oo d c o m p a n y a nd the yo ur com p an y w h en t h ey ’re ab ou t t h ei r d eci s i on to p r o d u c t s/se r vic e s yo u se ll se a rch i n g f or w h at y ou s el l ch oos e y ou G e t b u ye rs to a sso c ia te Re in f orce t h at t h ey ’re m aki n g Fu rt h er rei n f orce t h a t yo u r c o m pa ny na me with a good choice when comparing y ou ’re a g ood com p a ny wh a t yo u se ll yo u t o com p et i t ors t o work w i t h THE BUYING PROCESS s ed le e or rs ed te ic Sa ie nd Ne Ne uo Pr pl Ve e r Q e a te up h iz r t e se tia fo r S al iz te oo Re al go ts fo Af Ch Re es Ne ch qu ey ar Re Th Se nd re fo Se Be Consistently and constantly focusing on branding efforts – creating awareness, supporting branding efforts and reinforcing branding messages – your company’s brand will be top-of-mind at just the right time and will result in ROI for your company.3 the IntellIgent IndustrIal marketer
  5. 5. Branding influences the growing committeeof buyers. Use Branding toA major shift in the buying process is the way that more people are weighingin on individual purchasing decisions. It’s a growing committee of buyers, Influence the ‘Influencers’making it important for you to influence the influencers. According to Sean and ‘Champions’Donahue, MarketingSherpa’s senior editor, even at smaller companies (thosewith less than 500 employees), the average number of people involved in a In the growing committee of purchasingpurchasing decision is 6.8. decision-makers at industrial companies, you may encounter the following members:The need for an extensive branding program – one that reaches more peopleand influences their purchasing decisions at just the right time – cannot be • Gatekeepers, including executiveoverlooked. Limited time, limited resources, and an overall desire to limit assistants, are the people who areresponsibility and risk have created a lot of red tape in the industrial buying either receptive to your message andprocess. Today, we can cut through this red tape by using our branding efforts give you access to the committee, orto influence the “influencers” and the “champions” and treating all levels they can keep you locked out.of authority in the decision-making process with respect in our industrial • Information-gatherers may reachmarketing communications. (See sidebar) out to you for information about your company and its products and services, but they aren’t authorizedYour industrial branding campaign: to buy.Since branding is an all-encompassing effort, it’s often difficult to streamline a • Influencers are people withoutbranding campaign. By setting clear objectives, you can overcome challenges buying authority but with significantin the process. The objectives you set can mirror or be based on branding’s input, such as a consultant, a middleoverall ultimate objectives: manager or a user. • Share of voice – your company and brand need to be seen and heard. • Champions are users with purchasing • Share of mind – your company and brand must be able to capture and authority. retain the interest of prospects. • Share of market – your company and brand should have the ability to become the first choice of buyers.Here are four tactics to help you achieve your company’sbranding objectives:1. Target your audiences.Targeting is the process of focusing your efforts on audiences that willgenerate the maximum return on brand advertising investment. Accordingto an report on the “Golden Audience,” when a marketerconnects with the appropriate group, there is a: • 368% lift in unaided brand awareness • 17% lift in brand favorability • 47-150% improvement in cost efficiency BrandIng and the IndustrIal BuyIng Process: Why and hoW to BuIld your Brand 4
  6. 6. 2. Be relevant. Make sure your branding messages reach people who want to hear more about your company and its products and services. For instance, include your industrial branding messages on user- preferred sites such as, where engineers and buyers go to find the industrial products and services they need. An Online Publishers Association study found that advertisers on user-preferred sites are: • More likely to be read/noticed • More relevant • Perceived to offer higher quality products and services 3. Use frequency to your advantage. If you want your brand to make an impact and an impression, you need to reach your target audience(s) consistently, as frequently as you can, and at times when the people are most receptive to your messages. (Refer back to the “Why You Should be Branding All the Time” section of this white paper on page 3 for more details explaining why frequency is so important.) 4. Online ads support a brand’s image. For industrial brands, online ads are especially helpful and can project and support an image of strength and stability. The numbers prove that it’s imperative for industrial companies to use online advertisements to back up their branding efforts. ThomasNet’s Industrial Purchasing Barometer found that: • 78% of industrial buyers said they look online for new industrial product news and information. ≥ Internet users are more likely to purchase from known brands. ≥ Nearly 4 out of 10 Internet users who respond to an online ad first learn about the company from seeing an online ad. Source: iProspect/Forrester Online Display Advertising Study5 the IntellIgent IndustrIal marketer
  7. 7. Use the Internet to influence buyer behavior – and startbuilding your brand now.The Internet is an instrumental tool for branding for industrial/B2B companies. The onlineenvironment is “the place to go” to promote your company’s brand and to influenceindustrial-buyer behavior.Get more ROI by investing time and effort to build your company’s brand.Remember: In B2B, you’re still selling to people and you should be influencing their purchasingdecisions to garner more sales. Be relevant, “be known” and create a strong brand so thatindustrial companies will buy from you – and not your competition. You should be branding allthe time.Contact your ThomasNet representativeFor more information about branding, and the industrial buying process and to explore waysThomasNet solutions can help you achieve your branding objectives,call 800-879-6757 or visit http://promoteyourbusiness.thomasnet.comResources:Blink by Malcom Gladwellwww.gladwell.comBrands Matter in B2B Markets by Kevin Randall a Unique Value Proposition by Stoney deGeyterwww.polepositionmarketing.comHow to Build a B2B Brand by John Quelch Six Biggest Pitfalls in B-to-B Branding by Dan Morrisonwww.prophet.comTrends In Branding 2010 Forecast BrandIng and the IndustrIal BuyIng Process: Why and hoW to BuIld your Brand 6
  8. 8. Five Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001©2010 Thomas Industrial Network, Inc. 2803.09/10.10M