While B2B and B2C brands are ultimately both selling to people (it’s just that B2B people are company stakeholders, and B2C people are going about their daily lives), each type of brand has different audiences, priorities, goals and even language. With so much overlap, it can be hard to tell the difference—and what your own brand should focus on.

Let’s dive into those differences and some of the important elements that make up the branding of each type of business.

Business to business branding is all about enticing other businesses to join in a long-term relationship that can last the length of both your ventures. Positioning leans more toward problem-solving and easing pain points, where brands are the expert at making something easier for other businesses. Long-form content that conveys experience and expertise is common. A few taglines of some famous B2B brands sum it all up—some more literally than others:

  • LinkedIn: The place to B2B
  • Mailchimp: Built to help you grow your own way
  • Cintas: Ready for the Workday®
  • Asana: All your work in one place

Business to consumer branding is far more transactional, often a one-time purchase that answers a want, a need or an impulse. Messaging relies more on aspirations, creating experiences or offering short-term benefits, targeting individuals rather than companies.

  • Snickers: You’re not you when you’re hungry
  • Nike: Just do it
  • Honda: Power of dreams
  • Coca-Cola: Taste the feeling

Compared side by side, it’s easy to see how even in the taglines, B2B and B2C brands serve different audiences. One focuses on building connections or making the day-to-day easier; the other speaks directly to the a single consumer’s goals, wants and dreams.

But before we explore the elements of branding, it’s important to note that there’s plenty of crossover between elements. For example, many B2C customers, not just B2B stakeholders, rely on testimonials to make an informed choice. But testimonials have a significantly greater influence on B2B decisions versus B2C, so that’s where we’ll focus.

B2B Elements of Branding

There’s a reason we harp on the importance of digital-first marketing: when businesses have pain points, they turn to the internet for solutions, where they’ll interact with your business online before they ever do in person. So optimizing your site for SEO is one of the first ways to get your foot in the door when it comes to new prospects.

The Testimonials
Potential clients need to see that other businesses have found success by trusting your brand. Why? 72% of customers say testimonials make them trust a business more, so we believe client testimonials should have a prominent spot on any B2B website. Word-of-mouth is another kind of testimonial, so make sure it’s easy for potential praise-singers to access your website and any collateral (like whitepapers) worth sharing.

The Pitch
When you’ve finally gotten in front of potential clients, having the pitch ready and finessed is vital. Collateral at the ready like a succinct, on-brand presentation, case studies, and hands-on materials like samples or brochures can make or break a deal.

B2C Elements of Branding

The Socials
One of the most important tenants of advertising is to meet people where they are—and consumers are on social media. In fact, according to Forbes, 4.9 billion people use social media, and the average person spends 145 minutes a day on their social media sites. The specific platform varies by demographic and target audience, but making sure your B2C brand’s advertisements are appearing in front of your target audience on social media is a key component of success.

The Visuals
That is, the branding elements themselves: logo, imagery, even fonts and website design. People do judge books by their covers, and they judge brands the same way. If they’re scrolling social media and see a brand with thoughtful photography, attractive colors, and engaging messaging, they’ll gravitate toward that much faster than they will toward a brand that puts their product on a flat background with amateur photography and color choices.

The Influencers
Influencers, well, influence—and when they use branded products, consumers who follow them have a living, breathing testimonial to refer to. Often, B2C brands let influencers share a discount or promo code, making it all the easier for consumers to try out those products for themselves, too.

It’s important to know the difference between B2B and B2C branding strategy—and because Madison’s specialty is B2B, it’s a difference we know well. Got your own B2B branding challenges? Let’s chat.