Defining B2B Brand Personality & Why It Matters
In the industrial business to business (B2B) space, it can be challenging to break free from the strict professional tone we often use. From the start of our career, we are trained that professionalism conveys knowledge and expertise while instilling confidence. This is a portion of the truth, but it lacks the nuance that today’s B2B marketing landscape needs. We’re no longer just attending trade shows and sending out mailers. Instead, we’re operating on social media: competing for screen space and a buyer's attention.
To demonstrate how overwhelmed people are by advertising, consider this: in the 70s, people saw between 500 and 1,600 ads per day. That sounds like a lot. Consciously consuming 1,600 ads in a day would be overwhelming. But now, we see 4,000 to 10,000 ads every single day. We are constantly being bombarded with branding to the point we cannot take it all in. We get really good at tuning it out because there is simply so much of it, our brain cannot process it. That is why a brand needs to make 5 to 7 impressions for someone to even remember them, let alone feel compelled to do business with them.
As decision makers and marketers, we need to take away a couple points from this:
- People are overstimulated by advertising and their attention span is limited, even in the workplace. People’s attention span on social media is around 2 seconds. Some even claim you have as little as 13 milliseconds to grab someone’s attention online.
- There are so many people doing the exact same thing that literally thousands of ads and brands can blend together in our brains.
Combating the Advertising Overwhelm
When we fully understand the subconscious overwhelm our brains are under when it comes to marketing, we can reframe our approach to B2B social media marketing to create a channel that simultaneously captures attention quickly, draws people in, and differentiates a brand. To start, we need to understand what B2B consumers are looking for in the businesses they work with. Forbes reminds us that, even in B2B marketing, “It helps to think of your customers as real people looking for a change. Maybe they want to be inspired, advance their careers or make their businesses more successful. Your opportunity as a brand is to meet them where they are with purposeful content that will help them grow and address their wants, needs or challenges.”
Understanding. According to recent surveys, 80% of people reported they were more likely to do business with a firm offering personalized experiences. This is indicative of people’s desire to do business with those who make their life easier and understand what they need.
Value. People are looking for value in the content they consume: relevant, helpful content for their career, business, or needs. Research shows that “Only 66% of B2B marketers frequently prioritize their audience’s needs over their sales message when creating content. Of the most successful content marketers, 88% do.” In summary: prioritizing audience questions and adding value is more significant to successful content marketing than a sales message. This is because it helps people to see you as subject matter experts and trustworthy, which is a major factor for many consumers, instead of feeling pushed into a sale.
Trust. 81% of consumers will only do business with brands they trust. According to Forbes, there are a number of ways to build trust in your brand, like authenticity, brand equity, transparency, value, and taking feedback. But the foremost way to develop brand trust is to speak to your audience in a conversational tone, extending the personality of the people behind the brand to the audience. That is how you build a friendship - and that is how you build a brand relationship.
Introducing a B2B Brand Personality
When we talk about introducing personality into a brand, we need to understand the Five Brand Personality Dimensions: sincerity, ruggedness, excitement, sophistication, and competence. When we look at these dimensions, we often want to see how they affect two aspects: brand trust and brand affect. Brand affect refers to a brand's potential to cause a positive emotional response in the customer. Brand trust is the level of confidence buyers have that a brand will deliver on its message or promise.
Out of the five dimensions, B2B brands tend to default to competence in their personality and be strictly professional in their tone. The perception is that this will result in being seen as experts in the industry, which does work to an extent. Competence has been shown to influence both brand trust and brand affect. But introducing sincerity and ruggedness has been proven to improve brand trust, while excitement and sophistication can influence brand affect. By using a combination of the dimensions in our marketing, we can achieve better results than by focusing solely on one.
These statistics, however, just refer to general branding and marketing. When we translate the dimensions to social media, specifically LinkedIn, research shows “an increase in posts’ excitement leads to an increase in impressions and likes, an increase in posts’ competence leads to an increase in clicks, and an increase in posts’ ruggedness leads to an increase in new followers.” Thus, depending on your social media KPIs, including various personality dimensions will help you to meet different goals.
Moreover, we know that consumers’ attention on social media is incredibly limited, and we have to catch their eye right away. We do this through effective branding, graphics, and photos, but also through intriguing posts that meet their needs through relating with them and providing value. The personality we convey in our posts goes a long way in building a relationship.
Every day, consumers are inundated with brands pushing their agenda and attempting to tell the reader about their brand and their offers. To create a brand that stands out, we can take the points discussed above and revolve our strategy around them.
To stand out on social media, we need to introduce personality into our posts while providing value and relating to our target audience. This is the ultimate way to promote a brand relationship and build trust while grabbing a consumer’s attention and creating a massive point of differentiation in a crowded market.
Introducing personality into your marketing can be an intimidating process, but there are ways to make it seamless, authentic, and simple. One of those ways is working with a marketing agency that specializes in helping industrial organizations elevate their digital marketing by introducing personality and taking advantage of underutilized avenues. If you’re ready to change your digital marketing game, we can help.
Book a call with our Founder, Nate Maguire, to learn more about how Strativise can support your business.