New research has shown that we relate to companies, brands, and even inanimate products in the same way that we naturally perceive, judge, and behave toward one another – on the basis of their warmth and competence. Which raises the question – Is the distinction between B2B and B2C even relevant anymore to brand marketers? Aren’t we all just humans?
For many years, we have been asking registrants to Brand ManageCamp whether they would classify themselves as B2B or B2C. It was always very even. Then, a few years ago, a new classification became necessary – ‘Both B2B AND B2C.’ You see, registrants were having a harder time identifying themselves as one or another. And, to me, this makes perfect sense.
Human beings do not become machines the second they enter the office. They don’t buy with emotion on the weekend and then become soul-less evaluators of price and features when they sit down at their computer Monday morning. They are still people who are influenced by emotion and mood and experiences and loyalty and all sorts of things that muddy the waters. And the best ‘B2B’ brands have been recognizing this for years.
But this isn’t just a B2B issue. Many B2C branders have been employing widely accepted marketing practices that are completely at odds with our natural triggers of engagement, loyalty, and trust.
Brand ManageCamp 2014 speaker Chris Malone (Managing Partner of Fidelum Partners, former CMO of Choice Hotels International, and former SVP of Marketing for ARAMARK) is the co-author of “The HUMAN Brand.” Chris and renowned Princeton social psychologist Dr. Susan Fiske conducted original research of over 45 companies and brands – looking to find out what is really going on in our brains when we make judgements about the relationships we are going to have with brands. The work culminated in the discovery that we relate to companies, brands, and even inanimate products in the same way that we naturally perceive, judge, and behave toward one another – on the basis of their warmth and competence.
Building strong brands, they determined, is not a B2B or B2C thing. It is a HUMAN to HUMAN thing. And the keys to success today are strongly tied to our very distant past…
At Brand ManageCamp 2014 in September, Chris will give us some amazing insights that will go a long way towards helping us better connect with our customers and/or consumers. We will learn the three imperatives for achieving sustained brand loyalty and profitable growth. And we will learn from examples how others are building brand loyalty through warmth and competence.
I hope we get to see you in Las Vegas!