As B2B marketers, it’s important for us to keep an eye on the competition. Unfortunately, in the days of social networking and user-generated content, we have to compete with B2B brands and even with other consumers if we want to earn people’s attention.
Fortunately, the principles of branding are the same whether you’re B2B, B2C or even just an individual. Here are two B2C companies who have lessons to offer to the B2B brands of the world.
Richard Branson’s powerhouse company is notorious for the power of its brand, but what’s interesting is the way in which they’ve always prided themselves on innovation and entrepreneurialism. Of course, it helps that they have one of the most famous businessmen in the world at the helm.
Still, Virgin has repeatedly reinvented itself through innovative marketing campaigns and constant reimagining. After all, it started out as a record shop – and now they own airlines, hotels, communication companies and even a music festival.
The lesson on offer for B2B businessmen is that it’s okay to pivot, as long as you unite everything under an overall brand. Branching out is all very well, as long as it’s all working together towards a common goal. If you never try new things then your company will stagnate and disappear, like when Blockbuster Video passed on Netflix and later got taken out by it.
You should always be testing something. Some B2Bs even find themselves selling directly to consumers and drastically altering their business model, while others discover new ways of operating. For example, a marketing agency might branch out into PR or events management, while a financial consultant might start to offer business advice. Be creative – like Virgin!
Ellevest’s CEO Sallie Krawcheck can teach you a thing or two when it comes to branding. The company works within the investing industry to help women to achieve their financial goals. As a challenger brand, it worked its way into a competitive but well-established industry by focusing on exactly what makes it different – the fact that it’s built by women for women.
The world of investments has historically been male-dominated, and Ellevest turned that to their advantage. They appreciated that women had a lack of options when it came to investing, and they also knew that it can be confusing and intimidating to get started. They partnered these insights with the clever use of technology to develop a platform that could revolutionise the industry.
The foundation of any marketing campaign is a decent product, but Ellevest goes one better by focusing on the ladies. They show how tapping into a specific market – either through your marketing or your product – can help you to earn attention. So if you specialise in selling medical products to physiotherapists, consider tailoring your product and your communications specifically for sports physios or people who work in clinics. Measure the results and see whether niche marketing works for you.