If most business-to-business products are commodities being almost identical in price and performance, then the brand becomes the difference. Consumer companies figured that out a long time ago. B2B, and particularly companies in the metalworking manufacturing space, are often run by enginnering types. Marketing has most often taken a back seat.
Many B2B companies have been slow to recognize the importance of marketing, but they are now becoming more receptive to brand building programs due to increased technology parity and more global competition. More-and-more, there is a shift from product marketing to brand marketing. As competitive advantages diminish, brand building becomes a necessity rather than a luxury. The need to differentiate by personality or image is rapidly increasing.
However, brand building is not easy as technology and products become more similar. Plus, target audiences, communication channels and media are increasingly complex. It can be expensive as well.
Next time: Can small and medium-size companies build their brands?