B2B buyers are more emotionally connected to the brands they buy than B2C consumers. This contradicts popular belief, but is what new research shows.
Everyone knows that B2C advertising has been focusing a lot on creating emotional bonds, letting people express themselves by the use of a particular brand. In marketing, this is often compared to the traditional B2B approach: rational arguments, focusing on building a reputation around the company as a reliable player, providing qualitative products and services. This has developed as people started to realize that B2B buyers are looking for more than a company with a good reputation, they are also looking for suppliers that can add value to their business. That’s why today, we are flooded with terms like TCO, ROI and other acronyms speaking to the rational and logical people that B2B buyers are. But are they really as rational and logical as we think?
B2B companies benefit most from emotional advertising
New research from Google and CEB Marketing Leadership Council contradicts this, and actually paints a completely different picture. Emotional bonds are actually both stronger and more important when it comes to B2B. Surprised? When you start to think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. Since B2B purchases entail a high level of personal risk, much higher than 90% of all B2C purchases, the emotional attachment to a certain brand becomes a critical question. If I’m putting my career and reputation at stake, at least I want to feel a certain amount of trust and security.
So what are the implications?
1) B2B branding must dare be more emotional. Easier said than done, since this puts new demands on agencies to create something beyond the expected.
2) Clients need to be braver. Emotional communication requires a great amount of courage from the client since this is somewhat of a paradigm shift within B2B.
3) B2B branding has to be able to show a different kind of value. Even though TCO and ROI are important, you also need to be able to deliver a more personal and emotional value to the customers. More effective B2B communication means not getting too hung up on the ‘B’s. After all, no matter what industry, regardless of the brand, businesses don’t buy things, people do.