B2B branding insight

Nothing inspires the soul to ennui like the phrase 'industrial branding.' But stay with me for a minute, and allow me to throw out a few ideas that may change your thinking.

The Power of Industrial Brands – by Paul Hague and Peter Jackson

Nothing inspires the soul to ennui like the phrase ‘industrial branding.’ But stay with me for a minute, and allow me to throw out a few ideas that may change your thinking.

First, we should really call it ‘B2B branding,’ since by definition we’re talking about stuff companies buy to make other stuff for end consumers to buy. More importantly (and you can trust me on this), it sounds way better at parties.

Second, you’ll note that ad agencies are by definition B2B brands. If you live in that world it behooves you to pay attention to the peculiarities of this discipline.

All of which are nicely laid out in The Power of Industrial Branding. This innocuous-looking book very efficiently explains how the B2B purchase decision is different from the consumer process, and outlines the implications for non-consumer brands.

Generally speaking, the consumer process is internal, whereas the B2B process is external. The B2B process is structured, fraught with committees, plagued by inertia, and allegedly more ‘objective’ than the typical consumer process. In other words, it is the perfect feeding ground for a trusted brand.

I especially appreciated the authors’ emphasis on one of the most fundamental, powerful, and universally ignored ideas in B2B branding: Companies cannot expect to successfully differentiate on the basics. The fact that you are strong on price, quality and service essentially means you can fog a mirror. There’s got to be more.

The Power of Industrial Branding does not offer an in-depth understanding of the finer points of brand theory, and some sections are superficial. However, it offers outstanding insight into where this discipline differs from its sexier consumer cousin, and how to make those differences work for you.

NOTE: You’ll have to order this book directly from the authors, who can be found at www.b2binternational.com.

BookMark Rating: 4.0 out of 5

Mark Szabo is an account director with Parallel Strategies in Calgary. He can be reached at mark.szabo@parallel.ca.