B2B Brands Desperately Need Ways to Differentiate Themselves

b2b brands

The pressing need for differentiation in B2B

“Features easily blur into other features. It is increasingly difficult to differentiate on a product or service level as competitors find it easy to quickly duplicate innovation. So, where can B2B brands effectively differentiate? We think it’s by connecting to people on a higher level through meaning and feelings.”

It is natural for people engineering teams, product teams and product marketing teams to see their B2B product or service as something special, unique, and important.

Unfortunately, this makes it all the more difficult for them to see it clearly in the competitive context.

All too often, what separates one B2B offering from the next is marginal.

This leaves B2B brand owners in a most vulnerable position.

So, what can a B2B brand do to differentiate its presence in the marketplace it serves?

The first step is to acknowledge that the world has moved on in ways that offer new opportunities.

Even in B2B, people buy from people. It’s personal. It’s emotional. And those that forget that will miss out one of the easiest ways to differentiate their rand. The people who decide to buy your product, work for your company, partner with you, supply you, invest in you, or allow you into their community, are driven by different values and aspirations.

They want to do things that matter.

They want to deal with businesses that help them feel that their decisions and actions matter beyond themselves.

The questions to ask

The question for B2B brand owners is, “What are you already doing – and what else could you start doing – to make the experience of dealing with your business feel more authentic to your brand, gratifying, and meaningful to people?”

What hidden meaning is operating below the radar that could serve as the basis of a more meaningful brand?

What is the promise that you are making that resonates with people both rationally and emotionally?

The answers to these questions is purpose. Why you built the company or product in the first place. It is what drove you to start a company. It is what you use to recruit the people that believe what you believe.


A purpose that inspires everyone in your business to work with greater satisfaction, to deal with customers in ways that make them feel special, and to think of ways to make your business ever more successful.

So, a purpose that makes people not only get the difference you offer, but feel it too.

With a meaningful purpose, and a new way of bringing that to life, your B2B brand is suddenly operating from a new position among the fray.

There’s a feeling about your business that draws people to it, engages them in it, and keeps them loyal to it.

Short of re-inventing the category in which you operate through unique technology or processes (that increasingly elusive dream), learning how to matter is the best differentiator for B2B brands to become stronger today, and better fit for the future.

In our paper, “Five Reasons Why B2B Brands Should Become Meaningfully Emotive,” we talk about the pressing need for differentiation in the B2B space:

Emotive Brand is a San Francisco branding agency.

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