Brand attachment is about more than collecting a few repeat customers, or offering discounted rates so people commit to longer contracts. On the contrary, these things happen naturally as a result of brand attachment.
But becoming a trusted enterprise doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long time to build genuine brand attachment. This is especially true for B2B brands, where long sales cycles and multiple decision makers are the norm. B2B marketing is also notorious for being more corporate and impersonal than B2C marketing.
So how can B2B brands build true brand attachment that leads to long-term customer relationships?
What is brand attachment and why is it important?
In its truest sense, brand attachment is a sense of belonging. Customers who feel attached to a brand have trust and faith in them; they give them support and security. True brand attachment means customers will choose you even if there’s a more affordable or popular choice out there.
The aim of the game for B2B brands is to become trusted partners with your clients. This comes from customers having confidence that you’ll provide them with what they need, no matter what. Rather than experiencing a distant, transactional relationship, you move towards a strategic relationship that benefits both you and your client.
Having a strategic relationship allows you to have deeper, more meaningful conversations. You’re not just pushing your next feature, or trying to tempt them with limited-time offers. Instead, you’re talking about the medium- and long-term future: how you can help them achieve their goals.
How B2B businesses can build brand attachment
Time is the most valuable commodity for any brand trying to build customer relationships. This is especially true when you’re dealing with multiple decision makers. You may win one of them over in your first conversation — but you need buy-in and trust from the whole team if you’re going to become a trusted partner.
Active listening is key. Like all businesses, you have your own objectives and achievements you want to shout about — but you need to ask yourself if that’s the best way to build trust with your customers. In many cases, it suits your purpose, but it doesn’t mean much to your clients.
Small businesses want their future partners to listen and respond to their needs. Ask your leads and customers how you can help them, and actively listen to their responses. Then use this information to deliver better service throughout the entire customer journey, from lead nurturing to future planning.
Businesses don’t want the latest solution, they want the right one — so find out what they’re looking for and deliver it.
Focusing on the people behind the brand
As a B2B company, it’s important to remember that you’re still dealing with individuals. It’s too easy to consider it as literally business-to-business. Instead, reframe the relationship as an individual to another individual. From there, you can find common ground and build a personal relationship. This personal relationship forms the foundation of the strategic business relationship you can build together.
This is difficult to deliver, especially when you’re selling SaaS products and other long-term services. But the key is to remember that no matter what your product is, you need to treat your client or potential client as an individual, rather than a business.
Building brand attachment as a small business
Small businesses may not have the budgets of large B2B brands, but there are actually advantages to being smaller when it comes to building brand attachment.
The fintech industry embodies the difference between big and small businesses. A speaker from the finance industry once told me that the problem for big banks is that they see small fintech companies with modern, non-corporate cultures, and they want a piece of the action — so they buy the company.
But as the big bank integrates the startup into its existing business, the startup loses its drive and personality because everything needs to be standardised. As a result, the big bank loses pretty much everything they thought they would gain from buying the startup in the first place.
Your brand’s personality is key to attracting and maintaining brand attachment. Without it, you become the same as every other company in your industry. Do everything you can to cultivate an authentic, compelling brand identity and hire people who can embody that. They’ll be the best people to connect with potential customers and help you build genuine, long-lasting brand attachment.
The best investments to make for brand attachment
Investing in the right people and giving them the time they need to build relationships is the best way to create strategic partnerships. Your team should live and breathe your values, so your customers know from the start what they can expect when they work with you.
You won’t get results overnight, but eventually you’ll see an increase in strong, authentic partnerships that can help both you and your clients grow.