The value of emotional branding in B2B marketing.

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20th May 2014, 3 minute read

In the world of B2B marketing, common thought as outlined by Mindi Chahal, is that B2B buying is ‘based solely on logical factors such as cost benefit analysis, risk assessments and feasibility studies'.  As a result, B2B brands often position themselves in line with values that appeal to the business savvy: driving home the benefits of cost savings and return on investment. 

While these are valid messages to get across, recent research conducted by CEB in partnership with Google, shows that although these logical factors are important, emotive messages that tap into a decision maker's gut instinct and post-rationalisation, are also needed to encourage basic human decisions.

The CEB research, as outlined in Marketing Week Magazine, found that customers in the B2B arena ‘favoured brands that demonstrate personal value through emotional appeals'.

What are we suggesting?

There is a clear shift occurring in the B2B landscape away from the traditional marketing approach.  B2B marketing needs to establish relationships based on emotive values as well as logic.  As recent schools of thought have explored, people decide emotionally, then justify rationally.  The impulse to buy outweighs the slower process of reasoning, meaning marketing campaigns need to tap into the customer's compulsion to buy.  To do this, customers need to feel like part of your brand's story.  Companies need to consider each potential customer's personal needs as well as their professional ones.  Tapping into their emotive reasoning connects them to your brand, encourages engagement and ultimately leads to sales.

So how can you do this?

We aren't talking fluffy animals and emotive stories here.  Put simply, next time you send out a marketing campaign, think how the recipient will feel when presented with your brand and message.

One of our clients has a core value of innovation; it is consistently leading the market and develops software that not only helps its customers meet targets, but also makes them feel ahead of the pack.

The value of innovation is a central brand message and one that our client continually showcases through its various marketing channels, whether that be through brand identity or regular content.

For this client, it isn't all about its customers choosing it because they think they will save money (although this is an element), it's about saying to the customer that by choosing them, they will be part of the innovative, development process.

This makes them feel an emotional connection to the brand, as well as thinking they are making a rational decision based on profit and performance.

How do I know how my customer wants to feel?

Getting to know your customer is really important. Using software to build up customer profiles and engagement habits is a great way to assess how and why your customers are engaging: it also generates data that can help you respond to their needs with each new campaign. Programmes such as Salesforce bring all of the comparable personal and professional attributes together to add value to your branding and sales process.

Slowly over time, you will have targeted campaigns that take into account both logical, and rational needs, maximising sales and personally connecting your brand to your audience.

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