Brand New World: The Paradigm Shift in B2B Communications – Part II

Part II – Transforming the Brand Experience

The Business world is firmly focusing on digital transformation. Companies are feverishly assessing and reconsidering current revenue models, operational processes, customer engagement and marketing strategies. By 2020, one million new devices will go online every hour. As a consequence the digital experience has become a new reality that creates disruptions as well as significantly more data. In the new digital world, 83 percent of B2B buyers conduct online research before they make a purchase. Four out of five customer purchases are starting online. And an estimated 60 percent of the journey to a buying decision is traveled before a supplier is even contacted.

In this second part of our five part series we want to explain why the only chance for a brand to stay in the game under these extreme circumstances is to raise awareness, be purposeful, authentic and engage in a constant conversation with customers in order to build personal relationships.

In a globalized and digital world with a growing number of media and marketing channels, with less loyalty and fluent customer expectations, brands need to raise awareness and become more agile. They need to be relevant, social and helpful. They need to switch from broad promises to more tailored assurances. They need to deal with shrinking attention spans and be extremely responsive. They need to become “merchants of experience”, as a post by Accenture put it recently. And all this needs to happen in a world with increasing volatility and conflict. The only chance for a brand to stay in the game under these extreme circumstances is to raise awareness, be purposeful, authentic and engage in a constant conversation with its customers in order to build personal relationships. After all, consecutive surveys have shown that a majority of customers prefer custom content to traditional advertising. They are open to deeper brand relationships. And they want brands to introduce themselves and engage with them.

Connecting through Purpose

Among the best and most effective ways to connect with your customers is to explain to them and convince them of your purpose and mission. In order to achieve that, there needs to be communication and trust. Customers want to hear and see that you are working towards the greater good. It is paramount that you use constant conversations and the available social media channels to find out what goes to the heart of your customers. Find out their preferences and connect their purpose-related demand with your brand purpose. The best way to achieve that is through storytelling. There are many themes and concerns through which to connect: Some of the more emotional ones are the numerous social and environmental challenges we are facing, among them increasing wealth inequality, the pollution of our waters or the desire for a healthy lifestyle. Consumers and customers like to see that their brands are caring brands. Marketing experts know that caring and socially responsible brands have a higher “share of wallet” and can outperform the competition.

Building Emotional Connections

Customers are the source and lifeblood of your business. So you need to be in constant touch with them and build emotional connections. This means you need to add faces to your logo, use names to personalize and illustrate a faceless corporation. Welcome new members to your social community. Send messages or mails, introduce your authors on Facebook or on your blog. Engage influencers and active commentators. Chose a brand ambassador and start a forum which is related to your brand purpose. You can even portrait loyal customers or invite readers to comment on important issues. Or you can organize a price competition and reward participants. In the end it´s all about making your customers part of the conversation and of your purpose-driven community.

Next in this five part series:

Part III: The Digital Marketing Campaign

Part IV: Social Media and the Transformation of Communication

Part V:  B2B Data Management