B2B Brands in the Human Era

B2B Brands - Corporate workers leaning out of windows to talk

Executive Summary

How to turn transactions into enduring relationships

Customers everywhere are demanding that companies connect in new ways: be more transparent, empathetic, and authentic. Which means companies need to start behaving less like faceless institutions and more like people.

For B2B organizations, brand has never mattered more.

In the old institutional era, brand was reputation—the formal sales pitch, the occasional service call. Now, it’s an always-on human relationship, where companies have to interact very differently, much more dynamically, across a wide range of channels.

As a consequence, in today’s Human Era, B2B brands need to be managed differently. They need to promise a true customer relationship; become a partner, not just a supplier; and connect with both direct customer needs and broader stakeholder interests.

The upside is significant. Our research shows reveals that “brand” is the number-one driver of B2B purchase decisions—creating leads, sales, and most importantly, lasting relationships. How can organizations unlock that value?

This perspective outlines the three essential steps toward a successful B2B brand:

  1. Go beyond communications to tell authentic stories and craft memorable experiences
  2. Go beyond consistency to stay true to a human and distinct personality
  3. Go beyond purchases to inspire internal belief in the brand purpose and the initiative to deliver on

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