Effective B2B Branding and Naming: An Under-Recognized Asset

Effective B2B Branding and Naming: An Under-Recognized Asset

It’s well known that B2C companies expend considerable effort on branding and naming, both for new products and for the company overall.  In my experience, however, B2B companies often consider branding and naming as relatively unimportant and fail to consider the strategic benefits from B2B branding and naming.

About two years ago, we had the opportunity to benchmark best practices in innovation for a leading automotive supplier.  We developed the list of firms to study by asking the B2B customers which companies were doing a good job for them in partnering on innovation. We heard from engineers, who are recognized for their ‘rational’ approach to decision-making, that brand names are important and helpful in communicating with B2B customers. And, one of the firms that came up was Gentex, known for its innovation in mirrors.

Gentex is known for innovation.  It was founded by Fred Bauer, an engineer, and currently holds over 700 patents. In the automotive segment, customers are large automotive OEMs such as Mercedes and BMW.

Effective B2B Branding and Naming: An Under-Recognized AssetAnd part of Gentex’s success (along with the patents, sales and operational expertise) is effective B2B branding and naming. Instead of offering only products with names with no particular meaning (i.e., “the B Series”) or code names and numbers, the firm has leading product lines like “SmartBeam.” In fact, the SmartBeam name is so successful, that it is even used in consumer-facing communications.

As proponents of brand names that help to convey a product’s positioning and its benefit, we admire the name SmartBeam.  Each time the name is used, it helps to reinforce that benefit, and we’ve taken this principle to heart at the B2B firm, Insight to Action.

B2B naming requires an investment, with trademark searches, board approvals, etc., but the effort is worth it, as customers, salespeople and possibly even consumers use these names constantly. So take a minute to reconsider whether your B2B brand name is working as hard as it could for your organization.


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  • The results of your study are intriguing, Michal. It stands to reason that branding works even in a "sales driven" B2B world, since even the process of naming a brand forces the company to run its message through a communications crucible, which leaves it more pure and defined. Then the name itself, is more human and graspable.
    This has application to my business, too. 50% of Sixième Son's audio branding clients are B2B companies: energy, business insurance, robotics...they feel that, since they have less budget for marketing, that every touch point needs to do its damnedest to connect and communicate.

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    This blog is further than my expectations. Nice work guys!!! www.headlightdirect.com

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    Michal Clements

    Michal is co-author of Tuning Into Mom and an experienced consultant. Michal develops winning growth strategies and detailed go to market plans for some of the world’s outstanding organizations including McDonald’s, Gatorade, Abbott, Barilla, Tylenol, Clorox, Key Bank, Eagle Ottawa, Quaker and the Baker Demonstration School.

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