Competing on price or quality is not enough to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Discover how B2B brand positioning helps your company gain a loyal following.
May 24, 2023

The 1-2-3 Guide to B2B Brand Positioning

by Michael Brenner

The key to capturing loyal customers lies in making a lasting impact in their hearts and minds. Learn the essentials of B2B brand positioning so that you can have staying power with your target audience.

How do you differentiate your business in a crowded market? Intelligent companies realize that effective B2B brand positioning is more critical than ever.

The problem is that buyers are drowning in an overwhelming sea of advertising. We now see up to 10,000 ads daily, more than 20 times the amount from 50 years ago.

Those figures mean your identity and messaging need to be razor-sharp to cut through the noise. Soak in these vital pointers about winning with brand positioning.

Key Takeaways:

  • B2B brand positioning means controlling the narrative and perception of your company.
  • Successful companies imitate the masters of brand positioning.
  • Of the five common types of positioning, only three can have long-term success.
  • The steps to successfully positioning your brand involve defining who you are, knowing your ideal buyer, understanding your competition, and creating a rock-solid positioning strategy.

Understand What B2B Brand Positioning Is

B2B brand positioning is creating or shifting the perception of your company in the minds of your target audience. You control that narrative with a unique service and marketing to match.

The key advantage of brand positioning is that it allows you to compete on more than price. You can sell your offerings at profitable margins and avoid undercutting yourself when your customers clearly discern your value.

Uncover Examples of Perfect Brand Positioning

At our firm, we find that learning from the masters consistently yields success. Look to companies who know how to win the brand positioning battle for tips and tricks.

For example, B2C companies like Apple, Starbucks, Nike, and Lexus did not gain dominance in their industries by competing on price. Creating the right perception is more valuable in B2B brand positioning. 

Business customers are more aware of the numbers and need their vendors and suppliers to meet calculated demands. Addressing these needs is why Intel, IBM, Salesforce, and Cisco remain winners in the B2B branding space. 

Study the techniques of other thriving brands to find pathways to success.

What are the Different Types of Brand Positioning?

You can mix different types of brand positioning but stick to the areas that will be most valuable to your ideal clients. The most common B2B brand positioning methods are:

Cost-Driven Positioning

Basically, this is selling on price, and we find this strategy to be a real loser. Unless you’re independently wealthy and consistently willing to take a loss to get ahead, this is a poor long-term strategy.

Quality of Service

This technique is a little bit better, but not by much. Everyone can say they offer great service, but few people choose companies because of service alone. 

If you aren’t special in some other way, such as your values or community, you won’t catch their eye and get them to work with you in the first place.

Industry Specialization

You can really make traction with this B2B brand positioning technique. Catering to a specific industry can distinguish you from similar providers.

Role-Focused Specialization

You can drill down further into the type of workers you serve. For example, do you create products or services for doctors, nurses, or aides? Are you assisting executives, supervisors, or frontline workers? 

Zeroing in on one group can give you a foothold with a passionate base.

Niche Service

You can also try offering a service that no one else does. However, being unique can be a challenge when copycats come along to take a piece of the pie, so keep looking for ways to demonstrate why you deserve trust and loyalty.

Excellent B2B brand positioning builds trust and moves customers to pay more and stay loyal

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What are the 3 Steps for Effective B2B Brand Positioning?

Like other business processes, B2B brand positioning doesn’t happen by magic. You need some trial and error and a steady, scientific approach to your strategy. 

Follow these steps to implement a positioning plan.

1. Define Who You Are and Your Goals

Answer the following questions:

  • Who do we care about most and want to serve?
  • What difference do we make in the market?
  • How will the world be better after our impact on it?

Understanding yourself helps you assemble a compatible team and head in the right direction. Then you’ll avoid promoting messages inconsistent with your identity and key customer base.

Almost half of companies publish off-brand content, harming their B2B brand positioning strategy

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2. Establish a Buyer Persona

Our agency is big on creating the right kind of buyer personas. If you create a generic ideal customer, you’re still trying to reach everyone instead of niching down.

If you’re already in business and have loyal customers, engage them to discover who you attract. Use the feedback to draft a perceptual map to find the current state of your B2B brand positioning.

For effective B2B brand positioning, learn to focus more on customer interests

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3. Research Your Competitors

Once you are customer-focused, you can dig deeper into what your competitors do and where they stand. 

Check out other brands’ websites, content marketing, and promotions to see how they position themselves. This intel gives you insight into how you can distinguish yourself as something better.

4. Create a Positioning Statement and Strategy

Use your data to create a positioning statement that aligns your internal team and keeps you on track. From there, work to build a marketing strategy that puts you where you belong in the minds of your audience.

Implement B2B Brand Positioning To Succeed

Solid B2B brand positioning makes the difference between building a strong fanbase or floundering in a sea of competitors. Use these tried-and-true tips to carve out an indelible position in your target audience’s minds and hearts.

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.