Question

Topic: Branding

Does A Strong Consumer Brand Influence B2b Buyers?

Posted by lindsey.viscomi on 250 Points
For companies that sell to both consumer (b2c) and business (b2b) audiences, does the strength of the consumer brand impact b2b audiences and their ultimate awareness/preference/buying behavior? Put another way, if a b2b buyer thinks favorably about a consumer brand, are they any more likely to buy b2b solutions from them (let's assume here that the offering is fundamentally different so they're not buying the same thing from the brand as a b2b buyer as they would as a consumer). Think companies like Amazon that have totally different b2b and b2c offerings.

Intuitively it feels like it would but I haven't seen any data or scholarly dissection of that topic to prove it.
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RESPONSES

  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Member
  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    I've had a few clients over the years who did business in both B2B and B2C sectors. We asked this question often, and I think the conclusion is that there is no rub-off. If there is, it cuts both ways -- both negative and positive image effects. Mostly no noticeable impact.

    There are undoubtedly cases where there are impacts of a strong consumer brand on B2C marketing (and vice-versa), but my experience has been that that brand rub-off is more an idea than a reality. It could be one of those "it depends" situations.
  • Posted by timo kruskopf on Member
    Awareness matters! I know brands that keep B2C brand with low margin just to build strong brand presence on market - building good position for B2B. So B2C marketing is used to build up high brand awareness among B2B target audience.
    Taking only Japanese brands as a sample: Canon, Fujitsu, Toyota, Sony etc. Top brands in recognition and perception across globe. Would that open doors also in B2B sales.
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Member
    Based on cursory research over the scholarly research, there's not bleed over – specifically because it's a different audience, with different needs, and different offerings. A B2C name brand may help a B2B brand to be considered more quickly, but doesn't seem to add any "edge" for the comparative B2B offering.
  • Posted by shrikant on Accepted
    As there is no former research conducted on this topic (at least as per my knowledge); every answer to above question is going to be more of a hypothesis. Expect them to be presumptuous, biased with little or more extent as they'll be more of opinions than scientific facts. The biggest assumption I'm making about given scenario is that B2B buyers are aware of B2C brand. The B2C brand must somehow have touched B2B buyers. If B2B buyers are completely ignorant about B2C brand then B2C brand will have very little significance.

    In my opinion and experience, B2C brand definitely influences B2B standing of the firm. Remember the word is 'influence' and not 'shape'. It's difficult to comment in general on how strongly B2C brand will influence B2B buyers. I think there is correlation between them but can't say if it’s strong or weak.

    The simple reason is, brand is about people and B2B buyers are people. If they are part of target audience of your B2C brand, they already might have developed some subconscious opinion about your brand. This opinion will bring some bias (positive or negative) at the table when processing B2B deal. A good positive B2C brand may bring positive influence but may not ensure complete favor. A negative B2C image may hamper B2B standing but does not mean complete failure of the brand in B2B market.

    There might be third factor that can have influence. A good B2C brand is generally result of some qualities that organization possesses. These qualities may help in B2B segment.
    The most important factor will be B2B track record of the firm. Every B2C brand will have some kind B2B brand created over the years even if they didn’t market themselves in B2B. They may have served companies as vendors or they’ll have their own vendors. How did they deal with their vendors or B2B customers in the past? How is image of that firm among vendors, employees, investors etc. I know companies which have good consumer brand but are infamous for payment defaults among vendors. There are companies which are mediocre as B2C brand but highly appreciated in B2B segment.
    In the end, there’ll be lot of factors that’ll influence B2B buyers but B2C brand is definitely one among them.



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