Six times in the last eight years, the vaunted FutureBrand Index has taken the companies with the 100 largest global market caps and reordered them based on something more abstract: positive public perception.
The latest list, published in 2021, took many by surprise. Notice the difference between the four most favorite brands now versus five years ago?:
It’s right there in black and white: B2B brands have eclipsed consumer brands. They’ve gone from stodgy to sturdy to shiny in a world that’s been altered significantly by:
- The need for more at-home connectivity
- The shift from brick-and-mortar to ecommerce
- A global pandemic and accompanying hold-your-breath economy that puts more focus on healthcare, pharma, tech, and financial services
- Mounting natural disasters reliant on advances in infrastructure, tech, and energy
- A re-appreciated supply chain and shortage of valuable raw materials
B2B as Change Agents
FutureBrand’s survey methodology drills into 18 different indicators, including a brand’s:
- Resource stewardship
Stir these and other factors into the above list of world changes and you’ve got a trendline that reveals many of our new favorite brands support the totality of our existence, well-being, and quality of life. B2B brands and their ability to innovate and drive change for good at scale excels here, and has thrust them from behind-the-scenes roles to center stage.
What Now? Responding to the Attention
If peripherally affected individuals (FutureBrand says its survey panel consists of broadly informed professionals) are taking more interest in your B2B business, it can be reasonably assumed that your direct business customers and stakeholders are, too.
Heightened interest creates a heightened need to listen to, understand, and communicate with those (often plentiful and diverse) audiences. It also means fundamentally helping them with useful tools and data that beneficially intersect your solutions and expertise with their needs and pain points.
According to a recent survey from reputation management firm Edelman, 72% of B2B executives say it’s now critical to increase communications with customers about expertise around their own customers, and how they can help them protect or grow sales.
Saying many things in many places in a timely way while maintaining brand consistency isn’t easy. But an ABX approach, especially one that leverages advanced machine learning and AI, can save the day.
The ability to orchestrate on-brand, on-message digital experiences across every channel is groundbreaking. It simply couldn’t have happened all that long ago and it’s here just in time as focus turns to B2B.
What’s especially important is that B2B leaders who harness these resources put themselves in position to:
- Expose levels of value that customers might not otherwise see
- Make relevant improvements to the way they work and the services they offer
- Spark important new thoughts and ideas
- Seamlessly connect the dots between their knowledge sharing and communications on the one hand and their sales activities on the other
The world is “liking” B2B brands for their ability to be platforms of positive change in our daily lives. However, this ascent means that certain organizations that may be used to being out of the limelight now need to better read the room, lead thoughtfully, and more deftly connect the contributions they have to offer to corresponding interest levels.
Since B2B buyers are not a monolith but instead a patchwork of companies, industries, and perspectives, digitally driven ABX technologies can be a ticket to sustained reputations and further success.