It doesn’t take much to say that B2B marketers have just as much responsibility over branding as B2C organizations. The only major difference is that the former doesn’t make as much public noise.
At least, not immediately. It wouldn’t be a good idea to just let bad things happen though.
Even the largest brands don’t always sail smoothly and up-and-coming startups (like Snapchat for example) struggle daily to keep a boiling brand situation under control.
Now there can be one too many different ways that this can happen to B2B organizations. It could range from inherent flaws in your company’s products or in the way some customers are abusing them or using them in ways that are borderline illegal. Given the prevalence of cybercrime and cyber terrorism, there’s no shortage of ways technology can be pieced together towards intentions your company doesn’t share. However, here’s a quick summary of what you can do to calm rapidly mounting concerns:
- Objectively assess the number of people with a stake in your brand – This could include be everything from the parties you’ve outsourced for some areas of your lead generation process. It can also include a more loyal segment of your entire customer base. And obviously, you have other traditional shareholders who feel that their investments can be at stake when your company is not getting the kind of attention that gives good ROI. No matter how many, you need to know who they are what possible conflicts of interests they could actually have.
- Try to keep talking heads from tearing each other – Sometimes the voice one segment of your users and stakeholders will oppose measures from others. Instead of taking sides first, set up a wall between them. Use marketing tactics to make it known that your service caters to more than just one kind of customer. Not all customers agree with each other but they do agree that your product has some value in their own use. There might come a time when you might impose additional rules for that sort of use but that might not go smoothly if you don’t know what separates potential rulebreakers from the rest of your customers.
- Spot writings on the wall – The case of a company called FirstBank offering a ‘camouflaged Pinterest for men’ can be a good example. It’s either a good case of targeting or a bad case of misogyny depending on where you’re looking at it. But in case you didn’t realize it, the writing’s already on the wall for the stunt. If it looks like your latest marketing stunt could seriously cause a divide in your customer base, start bracing yourself already.
For those new to B2B marketing, it can be either hard or easy to shrug off mixed reactions to whatever you do to get potential customers when you get a lot of them anyway. But the more you do and the more you ignore the growing divides between how your company is perceived, you’re in danger of losing control over your brand.