Difference Between B2B and B2C Branding
If the terms B2B and B2C sound like Greek to you, this article is for you. While the terms are Greek, the principles of both likely are not. B2B refers to businesses that sell their products directly to other businesses, while B2C refers to businesses that sell products directly to consumers.
There is a bit more depth to the subject, which we will dive into later, but for now, that primary distinction will define the way you approach any B2B or B2C branding campaigns for your company. Your target audience needs to be defined before launching a branding campaign or rebranding your existing company.
Why? Because consumers and businesses shop for products with different approaches. Consumers can buy something the first time they visit a web page, while a business often has to get approval from other team members, the marketing department, etc. Therefore, the branding approach is different. B2B companies essentially have to pursue leads, while B2C companies focus on immediate sales.
Let’s take a minute to break down branding campaigns for both B2B and B2C companies, along with a few examples to help highlight the differences between both. While reading, keep in mind that some businesses need B2B and B2C, so if it starts to sound like you could benefit from both, you might be right.
What is B2B Branding?
B2B branding is building a brand that sells business-to-business. A great example of this is a medical supply company. Most work directly with healthcare offices and do not sell medications or medical supplies directly to consumers. Another great example would be a manufacturing company that creates white-label products to sell to retail companies to market as their own.
B2B branding requires more attention to detail because the target audience is another specialized business that wants to know the facts, details, and individual specifications of any product they consider purchasing. They also are looking to buy in bulk and often have a chain of command involved in purchase decisions.
Therefore, when building a B2B brand, you have to lean heavily on information and relationship building. A B2B customer will not purchase on their first visit and often not on their second. They will gather information, send information to others, and likely engage in several discussions with the company before finalizing a sale. The main goal of a B2B branding campaign is to communicate thoroughly, effectively, and clearly to customers. The main emphasis should be on demonstrating a strong ROI for businesses interested in purchasing a product and showcasing expertise.
What is B2C Branding?
On the flip side of the coin is B2C branding and marketing, marketing from a business directly to the customer. Customers don’t want the plethora of information that business clients wish to. They prefer less information and more bang for their money. Multiple studies have shown that customers prefer short, informal, and fun advertising over informative advertising.
Customers are more likely to make emotional decisions, so give them a tidbit of information, and if it appeals to them, they will impulsively click their way through your CTA and make a purchase. Unlike business-to-business sales, customers don’t need to ask permission to purchase, so you can close the deal in minutes versus months.
In addition, effective B2C branding is straightforward and lacks the jargon or informational quality that a B2B brand would have. Customers are used to information at their fingertips in less than three seconds. Your brand needs to match that level of communication to secure a sale. If you can’t, they will move on to another brand that can.
Where They Intertwin:
The tricky thing is that sometimes B2B and B2C branding campaigns can intertwine, posing a problem for companies trying to establish their place in the marketplace. For instance, a company that sells products to retail stores might also choose to sell directly to customers online. Kate Farms is an excellent example of a brand that built its business around selling medically approved food supplements to hospitals, DMEs, and nutritionists and selling directly to consumers. It is good to consider several branding campaigns launched in different formats for each potential business sector in these instances.
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Examples of B2B Branding:
Launching a new B2B branding campaign can be difficult sometimes. Inspiration does not always strike just because you are ready to reinvent your brand. However, learning the creative ways some top B2B brands have launched their campaigns can help spark an idea that grows into an innovative branding approach. Here are a few great examples of powerful B2B branding campaigns.
Shopify is an excellent example of an effective B2B marketing campaign. Shopify provides a platform for budding businesses, and their initial branding campaign capitalized on the integrated idea of “Let’s Make You a Business.” Their overall goal is to help independent business owners find a home, and the campaign launched in several formats and utilized various media tools, including video, social advertising, and infographics.
Another excellent example of a B2B branding campaign is a graphic novel produced by Cisco to help emphasize the need for cybersecurity. Admittedly, cybersecurity is a dull and tedious topic, but Cicso helps raise its profile by using a cartoon superhero to rely on pertinent information and capture the attention of its audience.
Google used a similar technique when it launched Google Chrome. Instead of simply announcing the product, the internet giant created a comic explaining why it is the better choice for modern browsers in a few short frames. The result was a brand that was built with both content and imagery.
Examples of B2C Branding:
Creativity and an open mind are the key components of a strong B2C branding campaign. While B2C branding might be perceived as easier since targeting your client base, creating an innovative branding campaign out of thin air is not easy. Here are a few examples of some companies that nailed their B2C campaigns.
Spotify is an excellent example of a brand that uses customized B2C branding to strengthen its personalized music streaming platform image. In addition, do they create a playlist targeted at each user? Still, they utilize the “Year in Music” feature each year that quickly spreads across social media platforms, further extending the campaign’s reach.
Herschel Supply’s visual marketing campaign is another excellent addition to crisp, sharp, concise B2C branding. The company relies on stunning adventure pictures to market its products. In their case, a picture can tell a hundred words as the images come from their customers who hashtag their travels with the tag #Welltraveled and include glimpses of their premium products.
In conclusion, the significant differences between B2B and B2C branding campaigns are:
- The customer’s attention span.
- The length of the buying circle. The need for information (or lack thereof).
- Informal vs. formal approach.
These factors need to be carefully deliberated before building a branding campaign to be effective. Individual approaches to branding taking into account the target audience will always result in more effective branding campaigns. Thus, branding campaigns for B2B and B2C companies should not be combined or undervalued.
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