Branding with wit for B-to-B marketers

Branding with wit for B-to-B marketers

Martin Lindstrom, a branding consultant and writer, is contributing short videos under the Ad Age banner. The feature is called BrandFlash.

Lindstrom advocates wit as a way to differentiate in B-to-B marketsHe did a feature recently concerning the blandness of B-to-B branding, and suggested three ideas that can help get businesses above the static with their business markets.

His main points:

  1. Redefine and make your values distinctive.
  2. Build surprise and wit into your persona and expression
  3. Be truly different

I say, AMEN.

Being a veteran of B-to-B marketing on the client and the service side of the business, I know just how conservative and sheep-like executives can be.

One problem: they lunch with their customers and peers at trade shows, association meetings and on “goodwill” tours of major customers. And the one thing each of them fears is being kidded (read ridiculed) concerning their marketing efforts.

But more significant is that they always ask “what do you expect of us?” And customers, almost to a person, will suggest more mundane, conventional polishing of the status quo. Customers want everything to run smoothly: dates met, quality sustained, troubleshooting immediate. They are not looking for distinctiveness or uniqueness.

Customers want suppliers to excel at those characteristics that are really the “price of entry” attributes that every supplier must have. They seldom look or desire more.

So when a supplier innovates and differentiates its business, it’s a surprise.

Just one example: there’s a major supplier of industrial fans that’s adopted aA little humor along with a benefit makes this a fine name refreshing name: Big Ass Fans. These folks specialize, differentiate themselves, by only marketing fans for large areas and applications. The name is appropriate and memorable even though a bit vulgar. But based on the market, industrial engineers and plant managers, it works. They don’t take themselves too seriously.

So you might find the 3-4 minute video by Lindstrom enlightening. And remember, “price of entry” characteristics will not differentiate your business, either B-to-C or B-to-B.

Martin Jelsema

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