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The rise and rise of the B2B brand

Rick Wise (Senior partner at Lippincott, Oliver Wyman Inc., New York, USA)
Jana Zednickova (Senior partner at Lippincott, Oliver Wyman Inc., New York, USA)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 2 January 2009




The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate to leaders of business‐to‐business (B2B) organizations the value of using brand management disciplines and tools to accelerate growth. The premise is that B2B organizations need robust, coherent brands if they are to operate successfully and grow as fast as they tell shareholders they will.


This paper uses empirical studies, mini profiles and research into the Fortune 500's stated rebranding initiatives to show that branding disciplines are joining the line‐up of management tools that can help drive business success and rekindle growth in industrial companies.


The paper finds that in more and more industrial sectors, companies view strong brand management as a powerful mechanism for expanding into adjacent markets, acquiring and retaining scarce talent and counterbalancing the strength of downstream customers. The paper opens with an anecdote about Johnson Controls, draws on Lippincott research showing the percentages of Fortune 500 corporations engaged in rebranding campaigns, and brings in examples to show that leading industrials are reassessing brand value with business objectives firmly in mind. The paper goes on to explain why B2B branding is more crucial today. It lays out five persistent myths that stymie action, describes seven key practices that underpin B2B branding success and includes a sidebar with “call to action” points.

Practical implications

The paper's examples and 11 “call to action” points are designed to spark discussion in boardrooms of industrial companies about how to reinforce branding initiatives.


This paper is targeted to “C‐suite” executives in industrial companies who are not typically exposed to branding issues and who need to understand branding's impact on business performance. Its greatest value is that it presents clear routes for action.



Wise, R. and Zednickova, J. (2009), "The rise and rise of the B2B brand", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 4-13.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Company

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