When you’re in the brand graveyard, it means your customers have a narrow view of what you offer and they’re not open to expanding it. To get out, you need to position other products in front of customers in a way that makes them do a double take. And you have to do so repeatedly.
We discussed this topic in an episode of our live show, Wholesale Change.
Brand loyalty: B2B vs B2C
Where B2C brands are based on emotion and driven by advertising, B2B brands are built on rational, functional attributes that add value. B2B customers develop brand loyalty based on:
- Quality of assortment
- Staff knowledge
- Customer service
- Delivery speed
Is your brand in the brand graveyard?
You’ll know you’re stuck in a holding pattern if you notice customers:
- Only buy a small percentage of your product offering – the same products or categories over and over again
- Only buy big products from you but not accessories to those items
- Buy infrequently
Your customers do not know what you sell. This is hard to remember in the face of data like:
- Customers think they’re bigger than they are. They think they’re buying everything they can. How often have you made a sales call and the customer thinks they buy from you “all the time,” but when you dig into the numbers, you find you’re getting a small portion of their overall spend?
- High Net Promoter Scores (NPS) don’t equal purchase frequency. Your customers may love you, but that doesn’t mean they are reaching their full potential with your business.
How to Get Out
Put your products in front of customers in bold ways that break the mold of what they think they know about your brand.
- Start messaging to break down the paradigms. Send product offers to customers regularly.
- Ensure your product/service lives up to the messaging.
- Don’t be generic. Your messaging should be interesting and compelling.
- Ready your sales force for the effort to expand customers’ perceptions of your business.
Messaging should be engaging, even startling, but shouldn’t oversell the product or service. You’re looking for relationships with customers as opposed to one-time purchases. Further, avoid generic or overused messaging in your tagline, as in:
- “We carry x number of products.”
- “We’ve been around since x.”
- “Our people make a difference.”
- “What you want, when you want it, where you want it.” We found this phrase has been used by distributors as far back as 1919. Time for something new.
Your tagline is precious real estate used to differentiate your brand, and these phrases reveal little about what you offer. Choose messaging that differentiates you and that speaks to customers’ goals, as opposed to generic messaging that’s a reduction of your value proposition.
Finally, don’t neglect to equip your sales force to cross-sell these other product categories. Deploy your marketing team to develop tools and materials for cross-selling according to your goals. And use data analytics to help your salespeople target the most effective cross-selling.
Learn more in our Wholesale Change episode, Customer Lifecycle and the Brand Graveyard.
Jonathan Bein, Ph.D. is Managing Partner at Distribution Strategy Group. He’s
developed customer-facing analytics approaches for customer segmentation,
customer lifecycle management, positioning and messaging, pricing and channel strategy for distributors that want to align their sales and marketing resources with how their customers want to shop and buy. If you’re ready to drive real ROI, reach out to Jonathan today at