Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Numbers Don't Lie

For a host of B to B companies, branding has long been on the back burner. But that appears to be changing, according to a recent survey by the Business Marketing Association.

The BMA survey reveals—among other important findings—that company budgets for branding have increased an average of more than 12 percent over the last two years. On behalf of all marketing communications professionals, I can assure you this isn’t because we all suddenly made these companies an offer they couldn’t refuse. So, why the increase in brand spending?

For many years, B to B companies of all sizes have understandably been preoccupied with other pressing problems: global competition, quickening commoditization of products or services, resource constraints and more. Interestingly enough, though, these are some of the very same reasons more B to B players are taking a serious look at branding today. They’re coming to the realization that a strong company brand can help them gain and sustain a competitive advantage in a game in which quality products, “custom-tailored solutions” and full-service offers simply no longer differentiate one player from the next.

The BMA study also shows that nearly 90 percent of companies are in the middle of branding or re-branding efforts right now.

If you're among the ten percent not in action, is it time to panic? No, not yet. There’s still time to stake out a niche that positions your company to thrive in the 21st century economy.

Even with so many hopping on the “brandwagon,” B to B companies are still far behind their B to C brethren in branding. But if the recent BMA survey is any indication, B to B companies have begun to catch up. So watch out, Nike!

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