How important is branding to a B2B company? A German radiologist, Dr. Christine Born, has presented research that shows that business brands can cause the same type of brain activity as consumer brands.
Kevin Helliker’s article about the study, “This is Your Brain on a Strong Brand: MRIs Show Even Insurers Can Excite” ran in The Wall Street Journal on November 28.
The study was the first ever to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to research the impact of brand recognition on the brain. While it’s a small and yet-unpublished study, it raises a few intriguing points:
- Big brands produced brainwaves in parts of the brain associated with positive emotions.
- Smaller brands produced brainwaves in parts of the brain associated with negative emotions.
- None of the brands in the study activated the decision-making part of the brain.
- Brains responded just as powerfully to strong insurance brands as to strong automotive brands.
Consumer research has linked the importance of brand recognition in consumer markets for years, but few have believed that business brands have the same impact. Can General Re, Xerox or Salesforce.com really evoke the same emotions to a business buyer as Starbucks, Porsche or Nordstrom does for consumers?
While many business leaders still debate whether B2B brands matter, this study will certainly provide more evidence that they do. And I’m sure we’ll see more research in this area.
After all, in the B2B world, the quality of personal relationships is often the key to closing a deal. And what is a great relationship based on? Trust … execution … followthrough … personal dynamics. All traits that define the very essence of a brand.
A brand is a promise that your company makes to your customers. It’s about an experience your customers have when they interact with your organization and your products and services. And in B2B, you can convey your promise and experience through your sales collateral, your website, your trade show presence, the way you answer your phones, the way your products and services deliver, and how your sales team builds relationships with prospects and customers.
If you’re ready to improve your company’s branding, you don’t necessarily need to run out and launch a massive national branding campaign. Instead, look at your own brand personality and how well you convey it in everything your company publishes and does on a daily basis. Here are a few articles from our blog that can help:
- How to build a business brand with personality
- How to build a brand at every touchpoint
- How to “be the brand”
And here’s a terrific white paper about B2B branding at Interbrand’s Brand Channel website. It’s written by Kevin Randall of Moveo Integrated Branding, and it covers a lot of ground on why B2B brands are important with meaningful real-world examples.