Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Brand Building - Part I

Brand building is not new but it's a consumer marketing strategy more recently discovered in the business-to-business world.

So what's the big deal and why has the time come for branding in B2B and technology marketing? Partly, it's the natural evolution of an industry, initially being internally-driven by engineering, then becoming externally-driven by marketing, because of margin pressures and more competitors. The "window of advantage" had become smaller and smaller. By aggressively competing on features and price, it's been difficult for companies to create meaningful and lasting differences from their competitors. The customer is in effect buying a commoditiy and has no sense of brand loyalty because little is known about the company making the product or about service after the sale.

Many B2B companies have been slow to recognize the importance of marketing, but they are now becoming more receptive to brand building programs because of increased technology parity and fierce global competition. As competitive advantages disappear, brand building becomes a necessity rather than a luxury. So the need to differentiate companies by pesonality or image is rapidly increasing.

Next time: Can small to medium-sized companies build their brands?

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To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.

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I'm really just a "mature" guy picking up experience along the way. If only by osmosis, I've observed what works and what doesn't work under the marketing umbrella -- with 11 years in sales and marketing at Procter & Gamble; 30-plus years in B2B publishing (including three years as a publisher); and 1,000's of calls on every size company starting with the likes of Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard all the way down to small, brash start-ups.