B2B Brands: Why Are Some More Memorable Than Others?

Why are some brands stronger than others? Why are some more profitable, innovative and memorable than their competitors? There’s a clue in that ‘why’.

We hosted a breakfast roundtable on B2B brand differentiation, and explored the idea that the strongest are the ones that question ‘why they do what they do’, rather than just describe what they do.

The difference between ‘why’ and ‘what’ can seem subtle at first, but it makes the world of difference. For example, an insurance company could think of itself as selling peace of mind, rather than insurance policies, and use that wider context to guide the brand.

Making stories and breaking habits

Octopus Group’s Billy Hamilton-Stent spoke about brands that have created stories around why they do what they do and, in turn, managed to capture what sets them apart in competitive markets. 90s boybands and European hatchback cars were used as examples of types of brands that have managed to stand out from their competitors.

Jamil Qureshi covered the psychology behind brand differentiation, and the individuals in companies who innovate by challenging their habits.

Guest views on distinguishing a brand

The breakfast, part of HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Week, saw marketing specialists discuss the benefits for tech companies of asking ‘why’:

  • If you hire the people with inquisitive minds, those who ask why your business does what it does, then it’ll help you find what’s truly different about your company
  • While it’s important to see your brand from your customer’s point of view, you need to be wary of only addressing your buyer’s needs and nothing else, as it’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming repetitive and not saying or creating anything new. One guest cited the Henry Ford (founder of the Ford Motor Company) quote: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
  • If you work in the tech industry, you have to understand that technologies can die. Knowing the ‘why’ in ‘why your company does what it does’ keeps new ideas at the forefront of your mind, which helps you innovate as a brand and a business. One guest mentioned the example of Blockbusters, who saw its brand as being about videotapes, DVDs and popcorn, while other companies, such as Netflix, were busy developing online video streaming subscription services.

We took the findings from the breakfast and made a strategy paper on how B2B brands can stand out in a crowded market – email your contact details to events@weareoctopusgroup.net to receive a copy of it when it’s published