B2B business branding

By Agnes Claye, Blair Crawford, Tjark Freundt, Sascha Lehmann and Thomas Meyer

A deeper understanding of branding’s role in decision making is critical if B2B companies want their brands to drive value.

Present-day companies tend to underestimate the power of brands and trademarks in business-to-business decision making. Our analysis shows, however, that B2B companies with strong brands outperform weak ones by 20 percent.

Unfortunately, many still think of branding as consumer-facing communication. In fact, some of today’s most iconic brands are not, or at least not exclusively, consumer brands. Brands in the narrow sense of logos and taglines form only the tip of the iceberg that is corporate reputation management. To reflect this complexity, we propose a holistic view of business branding that involves managing a corporation’s reputation and the perception of its products and services across multiple stakeholders and all touch points. Relevant touch points, for example, may include anything from sales force interactions and sponsorships to social media and product usage. Truly successful brands appeal to many different types of stakeholders. Business branding should reflect the essence of value propositions made to a large and varied group of stakeholders.

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