Why social media makes sense for a B2B brand?
Written by – Alexandre Gonfalonieri
“There is no more B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human, #H2H” says Bryan Kramer, one of the creators of this new trend in marketing. This new approach is closely linked to the proliferation of marketing messages and the rise of social media: we need to face it, humans are more connected than ever thanks to new media channels and it has been demonstrated that corporations are viewed as social beings ( Plitt, M., Savjani, R. and Eagleman, D. 2014.)
Usually, rational purchasing decisions tend to be based on facts, figures and features. However, it would be a mistake to underestimate the critical role of human factors in the process of differentiating products from the competition. With that in mind, a brand should not value investment on the only improvement of its products but also on its brand image.
According to marketing agency Lippincott, the challenge for B2B brands is now to create brand value within the human era. In order to achieve that, you need to:
This will of humanization can be translated as a repositioning of the brand factor. Indeed, B2B companies (the main ones), mainly seek to be seen as a partner through a win-and long-term relationship.
A B2B brand can no longer rely on being a top supplier in a human era. Brands need to look beyond product features and start (according to the same marketing agency Lippincott) telling “authentic stories and create inspiring experiences” and have a unique brand personality. Needless to say, that the ultimate goal of this trend is to ignite an emotional connection with the audience.
The fact is that B2B customers do talk about companies, whether it is online or offline. Therefore, B2B brands are left with the choice of participating or not to these discussions. If they choose to do so, they need to adapt their communication through a dedicated content strategy for some channels (ex: social media).
On social media, a brand trying to humanize itself must not only adapt the content but also engage customers or “followers”, otherwise this is not a humanization of a brand. Moreover, a brand needs to be empathetic to show human values. Therefore, it is more important than ever to focus on telling a story that resonates with the buyer on a personal level, beyond the traditional features and specifications that any B2B brand needs to show.
For other authors, the secret in a successful brand humanization is, whether, we can adopt the following traits: customer empathy, talking and acting like people, engaging and empowering individuals to be the brand or not. It appears that using social media would be a good decision in that sense, since it can enhance the brand perception though recognition and the creation of stronger relationships.
Humanizing a brand means making it a customer centric brand. We assume that the more open, human and genuine a brand is, the more comfortable the customer feels with the brand. For PWC, it is necessary that B2B brands engage with customers in a “more natural, more human style of communication: a way of interacting that encourages a two-way conversation rather than a one-way broadcast model that increasingly alienates customers.
Social media will undoubtedly play a large part in this information”. While for others, a humanized brand is easier for a buyer to relate with and means loyalty towards the brand which brings brand recognition.
If we analyze the perks of humanizing a brand, we would identify that a humanized brand helps attract and retain communities of customers and above all, it can lead to sales which in the end, is the most important decision factor for top management. An effective communication should therefore be “human” oriented.