To begin with, in legal terms, every grouping of a brand name with a trademark is a brand. Branded objects, especially goods and services, are identified by this brand. The brand owner wishes to use the brand to present the factual or promotional features of the branded object in the market in a way that makes the branded object stand out from the competition, to develop and cultivate the brand owner’s image or self-image. The target groups and stakeholders develop their own image of the brand and its objects, based on personal experiences, referrals, and opinions. The more clearly a brand communicates and the more clearly how it perceives itself is congruent with how others perceive it, the stronger the brand is.
Especially in B2B brand communication, we have to break away from the images of ‘global brands’ in B2B brand consulting. In their overall communication as a company and with their products and services, these address broad target groups around the globe. They live from their strong presence, which is characterized by brand mark or trademark, quality of the branded object, and availability and desirability. And in B2B brand consulting, we have to steer away from the images of branded articles for which branding has the function of origin, differentiation, (legal) protection, guarantee, and advertising, so as to differentiate from other providers in general.
Being a B2B brand in an industrial environment is about being perceived by the right target groups and stakeholders internationally as a brand. Depending on the case, that could be only 100 or 500 people as decision-makers in key positions. It is important that the right target groups in the market associate the right attributes with the B2B branded object and take these into account when making a decision. This is about a firmly anchored brand image in the minds of the target group. This is about the legend of the B2B brand and the initial trust placed in the brand owing to hearsay, previous experience, and ongoing positive experiences. In our brand consultancy, we work out precisely this for international B2B brands.
Brand consulting starts with considering holistic branding; that is, the corporate brand. A strong corporate brand is becoming increasingly important in international B2B markets and industrial markets; the positive aspects of consistent brand management are quickly recognizable.
Corporate branding enables the corporate brand to be extensively managed, profiled, and differentiated. A concept is anchored universally across the target groups and stakeholders. Today, in many mid-sized industrial enterprises, attention to brand management and brand orientation lies strongly in domestic or established sales markets. Brand management for international sales markets is often derived from this. Whether or not a direct derivation is always good and correct remains to be seen when it comes to brand consulting. “Made in Germany” has a high value in many regions of the world. Whether the German brand design is always correct and suitable remains open. Suitable localization is recommended in certain cases. Other cultures and mentalities possibly need another weighting and emphasis of core messages or other design constants. This follows the motto: Salt is needed for the soup — for one person, more; for the other, a little less. With respect to branding, this is the cultural aspect.
In the case of the corporate brand and the consumer brand, which is oriented toward sales markets, B2B brand consulting does not stop there. B2B companies and industrial companies increasingly and also internationally have to fulfill their branding duties in the financial markets, opinion markets, and, particularly, the labor markets (think: employer branding).
The right B2B brand strategy needs a good, internationally viable foundation that we design during brand consulting. This includes solid positioning, a clear brand identity, a plausible brand core and brand values across different locations, a strong brand personality, and a clear brand message. This is condensed into a globally usable brand claim, an internationally uniform corporate design, and a tonality which is consistent around the world. Consistently used in communication as a corporate brand, consumer brand, and employer brand, a strong position in the market and as a brand grows.