In nature the making and reading of signs is a matter of life and death, so it is surprising t
hat we spend so little time valuing this in our business-to- business life.
better to embrace brands as part of our natural history, where to stand out would appear to be the overwhelming strategy, although by no means the only one. Like in nature, we sometimes turn the duplicity of the chameleon to our advantage, or use signs of bigger animals to become something that we are not, like the eyespots on the wings of a moth. To often small companies inadvertently communicate their smallness through their brand, when in fact they can use signs to their advantage to convey an image many times their actual size. All of these natural strategies are available to us as brand strategies for our business too. In business we need to make an informed choice whether we wish to stand out or be part of the crowd. Often in business-to-business our brands blend in, when really they need to stand out or vice versa.
In business terms we are not making danger, or sexual attraction visible but we are making things like ownership, performance and customer promises visible. Maybe a word of caution here, it is a fact that visibility is a double-edged sword. Visibility makes you more accountable to customers. A brand shows the customer where to go when all goes wrong as much as whom to praise when all goes right. Consumer companies are
willing to trade this perceived risk for the rewards in increase margin and profitability that come with a well-executed brand strategy. Far from being airy fairy, or fluffy; adopting a highly visible brand strategy is not for the feint hearted, on the contrary – branding benefits the brave!
The boundaries of the desired visibility are very specific in business-to-business and defined by their sector alone and not the general consumer population. So when looking for examples of successful business-to-business brands it is often difficult to see their value, as they do not resonate with the market you understand and you do not know why, or what they are branding, or valuable for. This should not be used as an excuse for denying the effectiveness of brand strategy.