But this isn’t limited to just consumer-facing brands. Companies in the B2B space have traditionally remained more cautious and under the radar, not rocking the boat or risking stakeholder upset. While these are important considerations to make, what many B2B companies forget is the “business” they serve is also a consumer. Taluna’s Global Barometer study suggests making socially responsible choices brings satisfaction and emotional comfort to two-thirds of global consumers. One reason for this has been the rise of purpose-driven marketing.
As consumers embrace more purpose-led lifestyles, they look to brands to mimic this and provide quality, authentic products and services, and this isn’t limited to where they shop for their own personal lifestyle. Future generations place greater emphasis on brands’ values in their professional lives. According to State of the Connected Customer research, 82% of business buyers want to have the same experiences they do when buying for themselves, and fully 80% of customers believe the experience a brand provides is just as important as its products and services.
So how can a B2B business adopt a B2C mindset?
- Customer mapping: Understand your customers, as well as your customer’s customers. While B2C is traditionally a one-track system, B2B involves a fair few more tracks before reaching the end customer. This is a major downfall for B2B companies, who can get lost along the way to the end customer.
- Transparency: People believe transparency is more important from brands than ever before, and they want the businesses they support to be especially transparent on the communication channels where they interact every day. In fact, a recent SproutSocial survey found 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for products that guarantee total transparency. Therefore, B2B companies should provide access to employment diversity metrics, revenue and sometimes even salaries.
- Build a community: Successful B2B brands create always-on content, bringing in new audiences and ideas. While Instagram may not make sense for a large supply chain corporation, LinkedIn is rife with potential new customers and partners, alongside a community of knowledge-sharing. Creating an emotional connection with your community keeps them engaged and coming back for more.
Now, we aren’t saying businesses should throw their investors to the side. Far from it. But as we continue to see a growing focus on companies’ transparency within social responsibility and sustainability, the importance of the end-user should rank higher than before. So whether you sell to a business or sell to an individual, remember it’s important to remain in tune with both.
Stephanie Libous a vice president in the Allison+Partners’ London office, overseeing the EMEA operations of the agency’s largest global healthcare client, in addition to various B2B accounts. Hailing from New York, Stephanie has been with A+P for eight years, five of which have been in the UK.