Marketing professional works on visual brand identity to boost brand recognition.
July 27, 2023

B2B Brand Recognition: The Definitive Guide

by Michael Brenner

Think about brands you know at a glance. You can picture their logos and branding colors, and when you see them you think about the company right away. You know what they do. You know they have a strong market presence. You know whether consumers trust them or not.

This is the power of brand recognition.

Brand recognition is all about creating such a high level of familiarity with your branding that when consumers encounter you through content or advertisements, they know you immediately. This level of recognition translates to a higher likelihood they will buy from your brand and recommend it to others—ultimately resulting in higher sales for your business.

In this article, we’ll explore brand recognition in more detail and actionable ways you can build it with your target audiences.

Quick Takeaways

  • Brand recognition refers to the level of familiarity customers, peers, competitors, and the public have with your brand.
  • It’s different from brand awareness (which is more about perception) because it focuses solely on visual recognition and familiarity.
  • Brand recognition has powerful benefits like higher sales, quicker conversions, more referrals, and better partnership opportunities.
  • You can build your brand recognition by establishing a strong visual brand identity and incorporating it into your content across marketing channels.

What is B2B Brand Recognition?

B2B brand recognition is the level of natural familiarity people have with your brand—including customers, peers, competitors, and the public at large—based on your visual branding. When you have high levels of brand recognition, people immediately know your brand when they see it on ads, content, social media, the web, and offline spaces like billboards or magazines.

It’s important to note that brand recognition is not the same as brand awareness. While brand awareness is about the way people perceive your brand based on your reputation, brand recognition focuses solely on people’s ability to recognize and remember your brand based on visual content.

Graphic defining the difference between brand awareness and brand recognition.

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That said, brand recognition is important for some of the same reasons as brand awareness— namely, that it establishes trust with potential customers.

Consumers in today’s B2B and B2C worlds have more information about companies available to them than they ever have before. They no longer take the information they read in content or see on ads at face value. Instead, they dig deeper to establish for themselves whether a brand is reputable.

When you have high brand recognition, you eliminate the need for that extra due diligence step because people know your company has already built a strong presence on the market—without it, they wouldn’t be able to remember it so easily.

Why is Brand Recognition So Important?

We know already that brand recognition builds credibility and trust with your audiences—the most important benefit of all. But that trust also creates other advantages that drive growth and success for your business.

When people recognize your brand, they are quicker to make a purchase when they need the solutions you provide. They don’t feel the same need to research other options or take extra steps to ensure you can be relied on. This quicker time-to-sale translates to faster conversions and more revenue for your business.

In the B2B world, when purchase decisions are often made by a committee and/or require the approval of a higher-up, brand recognition makes getting the final “okay” a surer thing. After the purchase has been made, you’re more likely to retain that business because customers know they are working with a known and trusted leader in the industry.

Brand partnerships, an increasingly popular way B2B brands are expanding into new markets and widening their reach, is easier when you have brand recognition established. Like customers (and perhaps even more so), other brands want to work with well-known peers.

Finally, brand recognition drives higher word-of-mouth referrals, which 88% of B2B buyers now use to help them make purchase decisions.

Statistics show that 88% of customers seek word-of-mouth assurance before making a purchase.

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Think about it: If someone asks you for a recommendation, don’t you go with a brand you already know and are familiar with? This is why brand recognition matters so much.

How to Build Brand Recognition with Your Target Audience

Create a Strong Visual Identity

Brand recognition is impossible without a strong visual identity behind it. Your logo, colors, and design for brand materials are what makes a first impression on people and jogs their memory when they see it again. In fact, having a signature color alone can increase brand recognition by a staggering 80%.

A signature color can increase brand recognition by 80%.

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Before you launch a new marketing campaign, or if you feel like your current one isn’t yielding the results you expected, consider the visual brand behind it and work to enhance it. Brand mood boards can be a valuable tool your team can use to do this.

Brand Your Content

Content is the lifeblood of modern digital marketing—and in many cases, it’s the only way to get your brand in front of potential customers. Almost always, B2B buyers turn to search engines and other sources on the web to find potential providers and research brands. Branded content is essential to build brand recognition with these audiences.

Review the content and you already publish—blogs, infographics, videos, newsletters, social media graphics, printed marketing collateral and anything else—and ensure the visual brand identity you created is present.

Try Influencer Marketing

This one largely depends on your industry, but influencer marketing is more prevalent in the B2B world than you might think. It’s particularly popular in the fintech and SaaS spaces, where influencers specializing in specific verticals use relevant channels to share their experiences.

Leveraging this channel can be an effective way to build brand recognition in a way that your competitors aren’t yet pursuing.

Participate in Industry Events

Industry events—both online and off—are a central part of B2B networking and building an audience for your brand. Creating a systematic event engagement strategy can help you leverage them more strategically to build brand recognition with key audiences.

Be Active Across Channels

Today’s B2B buyers use more than 10 channels to interact with brands over the course of their buyer journey. Most of them have a strong visual component—social media, events, websites, search engines, email, and the like.

B2B decision makers are using more channels than ever before to interact with suppliers.

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To build brand recognition reliably and effectively over time, know the channels your customers prefer and make your brand active on all of them.

Final Thoughts

Business leaders and marketers think a lot about brand reputation and perception—the way people think about your brand once they know about it. But neither of those are possible without brand recognition. Customers have to recognize your brand before they can form an opinion about it.

Further, brand recognition can help create the automatic assumption that your brand is one they can trust, increasing the likelihood they’ll make a purchase. Over time, it’s what propels your business forward, keeps it ahead of competitors, and drives long-term growth.

Michael Brenner is a keynote speaker, author and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. Michael has written hundreds of articles on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Guardian and he speaks at dozens of leadership conferences each year covering topics such as marketing, leadership, technology and business strategy.