First of all, in legal terms, any combination 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 characteristics of his or her branded objects to the market in a way that differentiates them from the competition, and to build and maintain his or her image or self-image. The target and stakeholder groups develop their own image of the brand and the branded objects based on personal experiences, recommendations, and opinions. The more clearly a brand communicates and the more its self-image matches the perception others have of the brand, the stronger the brand.
Especially in B2B brand communication, we have to detach ourselves from the images of global brands when we perform B2B brand consulting. Global brands address broad target groups around the world in their overall communication as a company and with their products and services. Global brands thrive on their strong presence, shaped by brand name, trademark, quality of the branded object, availability, and desirability. In addition, in B2B brand consulting, we have to break away from the images of branded goods, in which the mark serves to show origin, differentiate, protect, guarantee, and advertise in order to differentiate the branded good in a general sense from other suppliers.
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 concerns 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, this is exactly what we work out for international B2B brands.
Brand consulting begins with looking at developing a brand from end to end; that is, developing the corporate brand as a whole. A strong corporate brand is becoming increasingly important in international B2B markets and industrial markets, and the positive aspects of consistent brand management are quickly recognisable.
Corporate branding is used to comprehensively manage, profile, and differentiate the corporate brand. An image is anchored across all target and stakeholder groups. As they manage and position their brands, many medium-sized industrial companies focus their attention strongly on domestic or traditional sales markets. These companies also often use this focus as the basis for brand management in international markets. Whether or not that direct derivation is always good and correct is an open question in brand consulting. “Made in Germany” has a high value in many regions of the world. But whether German brand design is always right and appropriate remains open. The appropriate localisation is recommended in certain cases. Other cultures and mentalities may need a different weighting and emphasis of core messages or design constants. Think of it this way: Salt goes in the soup – more for some, less for others. That is the cultural aspect with regard to brand management.
Looking at B2B brand consulting does not end with viewing the corporate brand and the sales market-oriented consumer brand. B2B companies and industrial enterprises must increasingly and internationally fulfil their branding objectives in the areas of financial markets, opinion markets, and especially labour markets (think of the employer brand).
The appropriate B2B brand strategy needs a good, internationally sustainable basis, which we design during brand consulting. This includes solid positioning, a clear brand identity, a plausible brand core and brand values across various locations, a strong brand personality, and a clear brand message. These are condensed in a globally applicable brand claim, an internationally uniform corporate design and globally consistent tonality. A strong market and brand position grows from the position being consistently communicated as a corporate brand, consumer brand, and employer brand.