About this article

Read time:

4 minutes

Category:

B2B Marketing, Client success, Guides and advice

Why honesty and authenticity are changing B2B loyalty programmes

I recently took part in an interesting panel discussion, hosted by Go! Networks, about building and nurturing authentic brand loyalty for B2B and B2C organisations. While the discussion took us through lots of different facets of brand loyalty, it was the authenticity part that really interested me.

What became clear quite quickly was that authenticity and purpose are inextricably linked (and if you listen to the discussion, you’ll hear me say exactly this). We’ve seen a whole host of B2C brands risk consumer loyalty by not being authentic and worse, not tying this back to the company purpose. From Brewdog’s culture of fear, to UBS promoting gender equality – only to be outed on Twitter for female employees’ medium hourly pay being 36.8% lower than its male employees. What’s clear is that consumers are no longer prepared to support brands who only talk the talk, and not walk the walk.

And this is no different for B2B brands. Authenticity and loyalty go hand in hand. What does authenticity mean? It’s about how much a buyer believes that a brand is being honest in their dealings with them. It moves through every part of the contact that you have with your customer – direct or indirect – and should move through every part of the organisation.

What’s driving B2B brands current focus on purpose? Mainly it’s due to the changing audience profile. A 2019 Stackla survey found that 86% of consumers consider authenticity as a key factor when deciding which brand to support. Today’s millennial and Gen Z consumers are more vocal about their demand for authenticity. The survey also found that two thirds of Gen Z felt positive about a brand because of their association with a social cause. These are your new B2B buyers.

Social cause isn’t enough

Lots of B2B organisations make the mistake of confusing charity work with purpose. You can’t just show up at a charity and do a day’s work and then plaster it across your corporate social feeds. You must embed it in the culture of the company before you even start talking about it. Think about promoting what you do, rather than doing what you promote. It sounds obvious but lots of brands get it round the wrong way. Authentic action needs to come first, promotion of it second 

LinkedIn is littered with examples of companies supporting charities. But what about the broader implications of this activity? How does this tie back to your purpose? Let’s say that your purpose is being a good neighbour. How then is supporting a national charity on a single day delivering that? Surely it would be better to look for a local charity that you can support day to day. Could you host groups in your office? What resources do you have that could help? It doesn’t have to be a big gesture, rather consistent support that will make a difference.

Do you understand the importance of relationships in B2B marketing?

Here’s a short video that helps demystify the relationship eco system.

Understand your audience

Understanding your customers’ core values is crucial if you’re going to be able create a loyal customer base. Not enough time or research goes into understanding audiences in B2B. Ask yourself, do you know how you emotionally connect with your buyers? Don’t forget that they’re consumers and people too. They value similar things – trustworthiness, being a good business, and a company who is easy to do business with.

Consistency is crucial

Often companies deliver a lot of mixed messages – from branding, to values, purpose and even thought leadership – and these can come into conflict or sit awkwardly with each other. Make sure  your communications are addressing all of them in one integrated message. Don’t use clever wording. Simple really is best here.

Create a community

Some of the most successful B2B loyalty programmes are when customers really feel part of something. We’ve seen a rise in the popularity of small, more focused groups, and this means there is a real opportunity for brands to build their own community of advocates. This should be a space for open and honest dialogues (yes, it’s a two-way street). Seek out honest feedback and use frank and open discussions as a way to strengthen your relationships with customers, turning them into advocates.

Creating loyalty – especially in a cautious marketplace – can be a way to deliver value to customers and that rewards the brand in the long run. We all know that it’s more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain one. According to marketing platform hubspot, only a 5% increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by 25-95%. And whether we believe that it’s possible to generate 95% more revenue by retaining customers, certainly having a clear understanding of authentic and purposeful customer loyalty and how it works in your business could deliver a good return.

About this article

Read time:

4 minutes

Category:

B2B Marketing, Client success, Guides and advice

Skout’s 2024 Annual Offsite: Glitz, glamour and mystery

Why is tech news only happy when it rains?

Browse more blog posts

Posted on
byHonor Williamson
In the world of B2B PR, breaking away from the day-to-day routine can bring fresh perspectives and a change of pace to the work we do here at Skout. So, for our eagerly anticipated annual business offsite last week, Skout traded the office walls for the grand fortress of Peckforton Castle, in the heart of the Cheshire countryside.   The grounds...
Posted on
byJack Doyle
Has the conversation around tech always been so negative? Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that every second headline I read about tech today is just doom and gloom. The excitement around AI has been drowned out by the fear of it. “Is it going to steal my job?” “Is it going to destroy the education system?” “Is it...
Posted on
byJames Bentley
The world in that we live is unpredictable, to say the least. Businesses, organisations and even individuals are all vulnerable to issues which may lurk in the shadows or around corners. Some of these crises are natural while some are very definitely man-made, but they can strike at any time and with them put reputations and livelihoods on the line....
Posted on
byLee Simpson
Priority Consultants share further insights into the media landscape in India, from the booming print media, to regional trade publications. Mitabh, last time we spoke about the Indian tech sector and areas which you’re seeing high growth in currently. But thinking more about the work you do for your tech clients. What do you see as some of the key...
Posted on
byLee Simpson
Meeting PR agencies from different regions around the world is something we are always keen to explore. Whether that’s to work in partnership with one another, or simply to understand and learn more about their region. We recently spoke to Mitabh Saud, director of India Operations at Priority Consultants about why India’s tech sector is booming, and what the future...
Posted on
byJames Weaver
In today’s fast-paced and consistently evolving world of technology, innovation is key to stay ahead of the competition. While breakthrough products and next-generation solutions are fundamentally crucial, the importance of public relations (PR) for the tech industry should not be underestimated. Here, we explore the reasons why tech companies, both innovative start-ups or big tech, need PR and how it...
Posted on
byJames Weaver
Since the dawn of the 21st century, the tech industry has surged and evolved through countless groundbreaking innovations. But in the ongoing pursuit of digital transformation, layoffs in the sector have become an unwelcome trend. We saw it in the aftermath of the pandemic with the industry increasing its layoffs by 649% in 2022, which is the highest since the...
Posted on
byJames Bentley
Things change quickly in the world of B2B marketing, so it’s vital to be ahead of the curve. 2024 will bring with it new challenges and opportunities, so here are five incredible B2B marketing strategies which can make a significant impact for your business this year.  1. Personalised content marketing  Identifying and then producing content for specific target audiences has...
Posted on
bySkout team
Why was Operations your chosen career? I realised that Business Operations and Finance is the ideal path for me as I’ve always been passionate about finance and business, and I really love problem-solving. I love the challenging nature of the role and it is incredibly satisfying for my numerical mind to tackle challenges and turn them into opportunities for growth....
Posted on
byRebecca Brown
There is no denying that Josh Cole Bolland is an early starter. He started working as a freelance photographer and graphic designer aged just 16 and lived the dream, working with bands and musicians. He opened his own photographic studio just two years later and gradually integrated graphic design and video into the mix before he was joined in the...

Send us a message

Download The B2B business relationship report

The B2B relationship renaissance – did digital kill it? The importance of relationships throughout the customer buying journey. Please complete the form below and receive a download link via email.