Are we talking past our customers?

McKinsey research says a surprising gap has opened up between the brand messages B2B companies communicate and what their customers really want to know.

In the report titled “How B2B companies talk past their customers”, McKinsey says there is a marked divergence between core corporate messaging about companies’ brands and the characteristics customers value most.

Themes such as social responsibility, sustainability and global reach, which appear prominently in many companies’ brand imaging efforts, appear to have little influence on buyers.

The inverse is true as well.

The issues that resonated most strongly with customers _ effective supply chain management and specialist market knowledge _ were among the least mentioned themes by B2B brands.

Customers ranked “honest and open dialogue” as the most important brand attribute, yet it not mentioned by the 90 companies McKinsey surveyed.

McKinsey say that among these companies there was surprising familiarity among their brand themes, indicating a tendency to follow the proverbial herd.

To address these deficiencies, three core questions are recommended:

  • Are we telling the same story as are competitors?
  • What is our sales force saying? Is our offer genuinely differentiated?
  • Do we deliver our brand consistently?

Close the messaging gap and recapture relevance.

6 years ago