B2B brands – complex or complicated?

I was chatting with a colleague the other day who asked me why I work so much with B2B brands.  My reply was that they often have more complexity than companies with a tangible consumer product – which means they need help simplifying what they do into a clear value proposition. They also need to connect all the features and benefits of their services back to that simple story to facilitate the transition from sales to delivery.

Which got me thinking.  Is it that B2B brands are naturally complex – that the essence of their product is a complex algorithm or technological feature? Or is it that as humans, we can over-complicate the way we understand and describe it?  Perhaps due to the way the company is organised. Or that over time we add more and more ‘value’ to our service, which makes it harder and harder to explain.

In truth I work with both situations.  And the solution is the same for B2B brands as it is for any business.  Get back to the core of why you exist and who you serve.

A couple of methods to get clarity for B2B brands is to ask some customers and to define what you don’t do.

Even if the features of the service they each use are different, customers will usually get to your essence faster than staff.  That’s because they tend to start with what problem you’re solving for them, rather than describing how you go about it.

The ‘how’ might be different for each department in your business.  So another good approach is to get a group of staff to define ‘what you don’t do’, rather than what you do.  With internal teams this can be a great way of flushing out all the little exceptions and extras that might be over-complicating your world – and can steer teams towards clarity.

The best value propositions keep what you do simple and focused on what you do best.

So the customers that choose you, are the ones you can really help.