Do we need our own language?
Whilst watching a series of ads on Channel 4 last night it dawned on me why we often, as B2B Marketers, struggle to convince others that branding and marketing is crucial for a succesful business. It's because we use the same words as people use to describe the work of our B2C cousins. When we say advertising our management colleagues envisage what they see on the TV or in the press. Direct Mail and they think of the irritating approaches from MBNA et al. Telemarketing and the remember intrusive, poorly executed calls from mobile phone operators. Branding and they picture Nike. It's because they know that's not what their business needs that they, as a result, think that Marketing is not important to their success.
It was a typical evening's television. The ads alternated between beer ads, car ads, and ads selling products that help you keep your stools soft (apparently). Then my favourite ad of the moment appeared - the Red Envelope campaign from Christian Aid. It's a brilliant ad. Full of emotion, passion, importance and relevance - to all of us. I deny anybody not to be moved by this ad. It effects you. You remember it long after it's finished. You think about it on the way to work the following day. And most importantly when the red envelope eventualy arrives you're much more likely to take action.
Unfortunately campaigns like this are few and far between. Most are designed to simply influence you at the point of purchase - choose Cadbury's chocolate covered digestives rather than Tesco's own label. So they put people in silly situations, stretch the idea as far as they can to get noticed and to get recall. But in B2B, marketing communications has a more complex role. Brand building has to be more sohpisticated. The changes in feelings, thoughts and actions we are trying to achieve are much more complex and I believe that we do these things an injustice by using the language we currently use.
For a while now I have been trying to think of a word to replace Brand (for example) for a B2B context. I've considered the obvious for example reputation or image, but none of them encompass the vast array of elements or the importance or the array of benefits that come from creating a brand. And whilst at Base One we use the label Brand to mean the individual array of associations established in individuals' minds about a particular business, product or service, as we would if we would describing a B2C brand the word still feels insufficient.
Likewise the word marketing. Separating the word sales from marketing is something I have always felt uncomfortable about as they are parts of the same process. We need a new single word to represent the combination of the two. One which represents the combined challenge. But again I've failed. If you have any ideas let me know by adding a comment or emailing me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org