Interbrand launched its18th index of top global brands last week. Global CEO Jez Frampton introduced the latest take with some thinking on how brands evolve in response to societal change, and how the increasing speed of business and ubiquity of connectedness (in a world where 40% of people are never offline) means brand experiences that verge on the immersive. Say “the Apple lifestyle” and a very specific yet common image (weather by headphones and dancing) fed by advertising and product development and personal experience is formed.
The experience of interacting with a brand is increasingly one extended into a lifestyle, as evidenced by this year’s list.
The top pure B2B brand is IBM, an incredible story of brand stability through a highly volatile industry and decades of changes and challenges at the company. But it has never wavered on its commitment to innovation, and its early work in AI leading to today’s industry leading offering Watson as a service will make AI available to smaller businesses as well. It’s also worthwhile noting by the exemplary job of B2B brand stewardship by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
We talked briefly to Rob Manne, Vice President at Interbrand:
There are 12 companies listed in the top 25 that are either wholly B2B or a significant portion of their revenues come from B2B. Are brands just about consumers anymore?
B2B brands are well represented this year, and the entrance of Salesforce.com as #84 is a good example of that. We’re seeing the most growth in the technology sector, where the Best Global Brands rose by 8.4%. B2B brands in this sector include SAP, Oracle, HP Enterprise and Cisco.
Are there differences in the B2B branding? Everyone knows what Pepsi does but likely a much smaller percentage know what Oracle does. Does that even matter anymore or is it all about Ellison’s boats?
Brand plays a huge role in setting B2B companies apart, even if they are less popularly known the B2C brands. A smaller number of people have experiences with B2B brands, but ensuring you get those experiences right with each stakeholder is even more important. At the same time, a B2B purchase decision is influenced by a larger number of people than a B2C one. Brand helps create an emotional connection with these audiences to drive a preference, command a premium, and foster loyalty.
Do you anticipate b2b brands to continue to increase their presence and what do you attribute this to? Disintermediation of the internet and increased proximity of the consumer to these brands they will never personally encounter?
A brand is one a company’s most valuable assets. There is a clear connection between a brand’s value and its financial performance; it is the sum total of past experiences with a company, product or service, as well as the indicator of future growth. In today’s world of constant change, we see brands as the synergy between people, technology, and business. Brands, particularly in B2B, are what personalize technology so that it becomes a means for authentic engagement and unforgettable experiences.
Want the full report? You’ll find it here.