Rebranding your company can be exciting and a little worrisome at the same time. Will a B2B rebrand freshen up your image or confuse customers?
When you hear the phrase “B2B rebranding,” the first thing you may think about is a new logo. While a logo may be part of any rebranding campaign, in the past year it was more about re-imagining. That encompassed everything from workflow to product delivery to customer service.
A rebrand is about re-establishing the promise you make to your B2B customers, your employees, and a commitment to how you deliver on that promise.
Changing a logo is an aesthetic upgrade. Rebranding is central to your culture. At S.O. Creative, we have helped guide multiple companies through a comprehensive rebranding process.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many companies were forced to change the way they did business dramatically. This may have meant rebranding products, offerings, marketing, or processes. Much of the B2B rebranding included less of a focus on product attributes and more on owning the moment. COVID-19 disrupted everything and forced many to undergo a brand pivot and repositioning.
Here are some of the companies that managed the brand pivot well and how they did it.
Product Pivots and Positioning
Industrial supply company Grainger shifted its operations to focus on eCommerce and its product line to workplace safety. Instead of its usual best-selling products, Grainger recognized the need for PPEs, temporary access, medical testing and cleaners for shared equipment. It prioritized signage and floor markings, systems for changing floor plans and work-from-home supplies.
Other companies pivoted to creating new products. Anheuser-Busch and Hanes Brands started making hand sanitizer, markers and critical medical supplies. So did Coca-Cola and ExxonMobil.
While these brand pivots are temporary, they helped reinforce brand messaging.
Microsoft shifted its marketing to move from its popular Microsoft 365 Office suite to Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) as a way to virtualize the workplace. WVD allows users to have the same experience with Windows 10 and native integration with Microsoft 365 whether they are working on a desktop in their office or working at home on a mobile device.
Many IT managed service providers shifted their branding focus. Rather than focus on ease of deployment and cost savings, they highlighted the increased security issues from increased remote access. It created a new business line for many providers. Security as a Service (SECSaaS) became mainstream.
KISSPR is an online company that distributes press releases. During the pandemic, it shifted its business model to freemium. It saw a 400% increase in growth rate and an increase in revenue.
eCommerce and Delivery Brand Pivots
Many companies had to quickly jump into eCommerce or significantly enhance their online sales efforts.
To compete with Amazon, retailers such as Best Buy, Michaels, Dick’s Sporting Goods and others seamlessly merged online and offline purchases. This converged approach lets shoppers buy online but pick up goods with contactless delivery at the physical store.
Others shifted to offering free home delivery even though they had never done it before. The battleground for B2C and B2B became more about availability and timeliness than it did about price and quality.
The most successful eCommerce sellers rebranded their marketing to put customers first in both the B2B and B2C environments. Live chat, knowledge centers, self-serve options and enhanced support helped improve the customer experience and reflected the move to digital buying.
Pivoting to Virtual Events
Pivots included moving in-person conferences to virtual. According to a report by Gartner, 68% of Chief Marketing Offices canceled in-person events and created virtual ones. In almost every case, these virtual events outperformed in-person conferences.
The Adobe Summit moved to an on-demand model. Salesforce took its World Tour event virtual with live demos and interactive voting. Microsoft’s Build developer conference attracted more than 200,000 registrants. Cisco’s virtual conference racked up more than three million live views.
B2B rebranding to virtual events is a trend likely to continue. Attendance was way up along with registrant fees. At the same time, the costs to produce the event dropped dramatically.
Brand Pivots For Virtual Meetings
Video conferencing provider Zoom became so popular it introduced things like Zoombombing and Zoom fatigue into our lexicon. Thrust into the spotlight as employees worked from home and a distributed workforce became the norm, Zoom pivoted from being a business communication tool to becoming a central piece for COVID communication.
The company had to scale aggressively and significantly enhanced its security. Zoom also provides on-demand training sessions, video tutorials and continues live demos four times a week on how to best use its video conferencing platform.
Brand marketing shifted from on-location experiential to working from home collaboration.
What Makes B2B Rebranding Successful?
B2B rebranding takes commitment from the top of the company. As it typically means a change or evolution of your current way of doing business, key stakeholders must be involved and drive the process forward.
A rebranding should be:
- Authentic: Customers have a high BS detector and can see through obvious marketing efforts. In times of crisis, it can be perceived as opportunistic.
- Holistic: A successful B2B rebranding is not just a job for the marketing department. It will involve the entire organization and impact the way you market, communicate and do business. Communication will be key in driving a rebranding throughout your organization. Employees need to understand any rebranding efforts and be able to articulate them to customers.
- Aligned: You need to ensure that policies, operations, actions, sales and marketing are all aligned with any pivot or change in brand strategy. Many companies in 2020 made a brand pivot but failed to update their marketing or sales materials which led to a disconnect for employees and customers.
- Training: Rebranding will ultimately succeed or fail depending on the ability of your team members to deliver on brand promises. Employees will likely need training to fully understand what is expected and how to apply it to customers.
- Consistent: Once the decision is made, every sales piece, marketing piece and product needs to be consistent with the new direction. Anything less can add to customer confusion.
As the pandemic starts to fade, one thing is clear: We’re not going back to doing business as usual. Companies that can rebrand, reinvent, or pivot to capture the “new normal” will have a better chance at surviving and growing.
Questions about your business and marketing brand? Talk With S.O. Creative to help guide your B2B Rebranding.