Which B2B brands do you most respect?

We recently posed this question to 100 marketing leaders in B2B companies. Two brands emerged head and shoulders above the rest: IBM and Salesforce.

My interest piqued, I asked Xabier Ormazabal (Salesforce’s head of UK marketing) and Paul Smith (VP EMEA Salesforce Marketing Cloud) what the secret of Salesforce’s success was.

They gave ten tips:

  1. It’s not your brand. A brand is simply a perception others have of you. Marketers can influence these perceptions but not control them
  2. It’s not the marketing department’s brand. Others’ perceptions are formed from every single experience a prospect has. This means that brand is the responsibility of everybody in the organisation
  3. Don’t just state it, live it. Most brand positionings are based on what marketers would like the company to be known for. But those on the front-line who customers deal with day-in-day-out need to make it a reality
  4. Lead from the top. The most powerful brands are lived because the leadership of the company bases everything they do around the brand’s values. This inspires others to do the same
  5. Have a clear central idea. This will ensure that the brand stands for something and is memorable
  6. Be obsessively customer centric. Strong brands stand for something relevant to customers
  7. Be authentic. A brand is essentially who you are, so don’t pretend to be something you’re not – you’ll quickly be found out
  8. Never breach people’s trust. A brand is your reputation so any breach of trust chips away at it
  9. Continuously evolve. Keep your brand’s positioning in line with the times, but don’t lose site of the ‘big idea’
  10. Always push the boundaries. Strong brands are leaders and pioneers. They’re not scared to reinvent themselves and challenge the status quo

Read more about our approach to business-to-business (B2B) perceptions tracking research.

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About Andrew

Andrew has specialised in B2B research for over a decade and co-founded Circle Research in 2006. He is a columnist for B2B Marketing Magazine, a regular contributor to Research Live and frequent speaker at leading events such as the B2B Leaders Forum, Customer Experience Live and the Social Media World Forum. Andrew is a Chartered Member of the MRS, teaches the MRS B2B research course and holds an MA in Psychology from Aberdeen University alongside an MSc in Marketing from Strathclyde University.

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