Positioning

7 points on which B2B buyers evaluate your positioning and brand

7 points on which B2B buyers evaluate your positioning and brand

The sales or management teams of many B2B companies often pride themselves on their organization’s market knowledge and experience, claiming to know the market ‘inside out’. However, when consulting firm McKinsey compares the messages of 90 leading B2B companies with what 700 buyers believe makes a brand strong, well positioned, a very different picture emerges. The researchers state:

“a marked apparent divergence between the core messages companies communicate about their brands and the characteristics their customers value most.”

Companies emphasize matters like; we are a role model for CSR, we promote sustainability, we are an international player, and we drive innovation. All very general themes with a high degree of ‘socially desirable behavior’. This is underscored by the research, as all these themes belong to the ‘core’ of at least 70% of the companies studied. Interestingly, from the top 5 themes for both groups, only 1 theme – and then only by ⅓ – matches! What are the points that B2B buyers do find important?

17% – Values honest and open dialogue with customers and society
16% – Behaves responsibly across the entire supply chain
15% – Has a high level of specialist expertise (mentioned by both)
11% – Matches well with my own values and beliefs
10% – Is a leader in its specific field
8% –   Offers a broad product range
7% –   Is a driver of innovation

While 20% of companies still identify with the statement ‘offers low prices’, this is the only topic that receives a negative rating from buyers (-4%).

A Distinctive Message and Positioning

This research shows how important it is for companies to use a distinctive message in communication with their customers. But this is just one of the requirements; it’s not just about what you say, but also how you say it. Some tips:

  1. Establish a unique positioning for your company (How?)
  2. Ask your organization what customers really think and value about you
  3. Be consistent and clear in all communication
  4. Be more honest, clear, or specific than your competition, create a distinctive story that nobody else tells or can tell

Read the full article by McKinsey here.

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