Does Branding Affect ROI For B2B Businesses?

What effects does branding have on marketing's roi, specifically for b2b based businesses. Should businesses be prioritising their brand?
April 22, 2024
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8 Min

We face this question a lot when working with b2b clients. There’s this notion to say: that branding isn’t integral to the success of a company or has no impact on revenue. The aim of this article is to explore if this is true.

To answer this we first need to consider, what is brands’ placement within the buying decision-making and just how effective is it. Once we go down this path, we arrive at the root problem: we are trying to measure something that’s intangible.

As marketers, strategists, analysts, business owners and the like – we love data. We love hard metrics that we can show to prove our efforts to be a success and so when a variable doesn’t fit the neat format we favour, oftentimes we can discard the power of something which actually has some pretty significant pull.

So I suppose this is the purpose of this article, to posit our position and state: that brand strategy has a significant impact on b2b marketing.

Let’s begin.

What’s the difference between the brand and the business?

We like to think of it as: a business is, the functioning unit which allows you to take your goods or services to market. Your brand however is the skin in which it does so. Outside of the operations of the business, your brand is the face, voice and personality. It is what gives texture to your offering and plays an instrumental role in helping connect with your audience.

What challenges do we face?

Our core objective within the business is to communicate with our target market and convert, convincing the people who reside within, that we have the solutions to their wants and/or needs.

In order to do so effectively, we have different challenges we face, which include:

  • Competing in an overcrowded market.
  • Scepticism from potential new customers.
  • Proving our product/service has utility.
  • Proving our product/service delivers value to the organisation.

So how do we address some of the more common problems experienced by businesses? Well above we mentioned utility or functionality, now is that all that’s required for a customer to purchase? The short answer, no. Even if decisions were based solely on our products/services use-case we would still need to convince in an ever-competing and growing market. So let’s explore how decisions are really made.

How does our target customer make a decision?

You will find a lot of theory which states the buying decision to fit neatly into a linear framework. It would go something like this:

B2B buying process

While this is an effective top-level overview of the stages present in the buying journey it fails to take into consideration the micro decision-making and complexity involved within the four key stages in the overall process: Awareness, Consideration, Conversion & Retention, but for now let’s keep matters simple as the point of this is to show brand’s relevance in decision making.

Let’s explore these stages a little further:


It is within this stage that your target audience will be becoming aware of the problem within the business. How they become aware creates opportunities for businesses who have already diagnosed and built solutions to such problems. At this stage, your potential customer will be searching for information to find out, how big a problem it is and what solutions exist.

Here an effective omnichannel strategy is effective as consumers now on average move through 10-12 different touchpoints before converting, up from 5 in 2016. (information from a Mckinsey report:

Mckinsey study - number of distinct channels that b2b customers use during their decision journeys


Once the problem(s) have been diagnosed there will be a process of refinement. Your audience will seek further clarification on what solutions out there will resolve their newfound issue.

Out of the possible resolves, they will begin to evaluate the offering against the business requirements and narrow down to who provides the most value with factors which may include:

  • Cost
  • Convenience
  • Ease of integration
  • Time
  • Management


The company has now made their selection. One of the fundamental differences when considering b2b vs b2c strategies is the stakeholders involved in the decision-making process. Typically with b2b procurement, your goal will be to convince a group from a varying range of disciplines.

Possible stakeholders to consider include:

  • Financial decision markers
  • C-suite
  • Technicians relevant to your product/service utility
  • Project/team managers

Of course, you won’t have to convince everyone within the organisation, however, the goal is to demonstrate, how you will make their lives a lot easier.


Arguably one of the most forgotten yet powerful areas when building your service offering. The combined forces of the internet + network effect mean, that if you don’t look after your end customer, they’ll talk. If they talk and word gets out of the poor value or experience they face, you may face an uphill battle which becomes quite the monster to combat.

So where is branding’s relevance in the buying journey?

We mentioned earlier the relationship between the business and its brand. The brand ultimately belongs to the business but serves a different function ie the voice of the business. So when the business exists to serve the market, how do we get the message of our offering out to those in need? In comes brand awareness.

Your business may have the most innovative solution that will revolutionise the industry but if people are unaware it exists… then what? Of course, an extreme example to illustrate the point, perhaps your target audience is aware of your solutions but how much do they consider them to solve their problems? What is their perception of you and why haven’t they purchased? The problem mainly lies in the upper end of the buying process: Awareness & Consideration.

The better you understand your audience, connecting with them in order to deliver the information they’re seeking, the better you can deploy an effective brand strategy within the right channels to provide answers to their questions.  

That sound’s a lot like marketing, so what’s the difference? Brand vs marketing?

The problem lies in semantics, what people classify as marketing compared to branding. With marketing, a group would distribute their content through channels in order to capture & convert their audience. With branding, the group would pay close attention in translating the product-market fit in relation to their brand positioning.

This means, rather than deploying the same old, features & utility approach in marketing (which a large portion of the market do) branding tells the story, shifting focus on the customer > product utility.

The benefit allows the group to connect with their customer, by translating their offering across multiple channels in the lens of the customer and what they truly care about.

It’s becoming even more challenging to have a truly unique product. According to the US Census Bureau, an average of 4 million businesses are started every year, over time that number is growing significantly.

  • 30% of businesses won’t make it past 2 years
  • 50% of businesses won’t make it past 5 years
  • 70% of businesses won’t make it past 10 years
  • 75% of businesses won’t make it past 15 years

So in an over-competing market space, one of the best overarching strategies is to really refine who you are as a businesses and form connections with your audience. Shift from a transient approach to marketing and foster relationships through brand-building.

What impact can an effective brand strategy have on revenue?

Earlier we mentioned the difficulties faced when monitoring metrics to measure the effect branding has on conversion, this is due to the limitations on tracking activity as we improve our standards for data regulation. So to best understand the positive influence branding can have let us turn to a report published by BCG group in 2021, ‘Why B2B Brand Marketing matters’

BCG brand study - brand having a positive impact on ROI

The key takeaways from the report include:

  • 96% of b2b marketers agree that b2b marketing plays an important role in creating awareness and consideration
  • 95% of b2b marketers agree that brand marketing is used to differentiate from competitors
  • 99% agreed brand plays an important role in the b2b buyer journey
  • The study showed, that companies with a mature brand marketing strategy saw a return on marketing investment to reach up to 640% over a four-year period.

Full details of the report can be found here:

How an effective brand strategy allows you to connect with your audience.

The B2B buying decision process has changed dramatically over the years. Now with the ease to take new businesses to market, it means there’s a lot more competition in the space. As a result, purchasing has become more complex and the demand for information and comparison is higher. So how do we respond? We deploy effective brand and communication strategies within the channels in which our target audiences reside.

A report from Gartner looking into buying behaviour from b2b purchasers found that the purchaser’s time was split into the following activities:

  • 27% researching independently online
  • 22% meeting with the buying group
  • 18% researching independently offline
  • 17% meeting with potential suppliers
  • 16% other

Further in the report, Gartner states, “The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers‚ each armed with four or five pieces of information they have gathered independently and must de-conflict with the group.

Full report found at:

What’s clear is there are multiple people from multiple disciplines that need to be convinced and through the problem-awareness to solutions-consideration phase, they will be researching your business and in turn, your brand.

So the key takeaways

Implementing an effective brand strategy is a continual process, with a significant impact on your business. The more you engage with the right conversations and translate your voice the better you can influence sentiment around your brand which may be the deciding factor that sways your target audience to pick you over your competitors. Have a voice, be true and tell your story.

Lasting note

  • Treat your brand strategy as an opportunity to deliver value.
  • Branding is a continual process, start now and develop.
  • Consider who is making the purchasing decisions.
  • Identify the spaces they reside and what channels.
  • Build out an effective brand and communications strategy to drive awareness and influence their consideration.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss in more detail the effect a successful brand strategy can have then feel free to reach out to:

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