Creating a Strong Corporate Brand in B2B Manufacturers

Mar 04, 2021 • FeaturesLeadership and StrategyUniversity of LiverpoolChris Raddats

Dr. Chris Raddats, Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Director of Research at the University of Liverpoool, highlights the importance of having a strong corporate brand in B2B manufacturers and offers companies the opportunity to better understand the unique drivers of their brand strengths by taking part in an exclusive study.

Having a strong corporate brand in business-to-business (B2B) markets is an important factor in creating differentiation and driving performance. It is, however, less clear what factors create such a brand for traditionally-product dominant companies (manufacturers) from the customer perspective.

The quality of the manufacturer’s products is important but so too are brand familiarity, customer relationships, delivery performance, prices, and services among other factors. Indeed, services are increasingly important for many manufacturers in creating differentiation and competitive advantage. It is not easy to quantify the relative importance of specific drivers in creating a strong brand, although having this knowledge would help manufacturers to develop and invest in the most important ones.



Using a survey and through undertaking statistical analysis, we have developed an approach that can isolate the specific drivers of a strong B2B manufacturer brand. The survey was developed after an extensive programme of interviews with company managers and is run using a manufacturer’s customers as the sample. It has already been used by one manufacturer for whom we received 173 customer responses.

For this manufacturer, services are a relatively small part of its turnover. The results show that there are three significant drivers of its brand: 1st - 'cost of sales services' (e.g., reliable delivery and short lead times); 2nd - 'brand familiarity'; 3rd - 'product support and operational services' (e.g., training, support, project management). Thus, the importance of services and brand familiarity is key for this manufacturer.

Moreover, when considering the factors that drive overall customer satisfaction with the manufacturer, we identified two factors that were significant drivers: 1st – ‘brand loyalty’ and 2nd 'cost of sales services'. We can, therefore, clearly see the high importance of the brand as well as services such as product delivery.

We aim to run the survey again with another B2B manufacturer in a different sector. To this end, we are seeking a manufacturer for whom services are an important part of turnover (c. 20+%). So, if your company would like to better understand the unique drivers of your brand strength, we can provide you with the online survey instrument to run with your customers and then analyse the data for you using statistical analysis.

We will provide you with a report based on the results. This work is free-of-charge and all we ask is to use the data for anonymised academic publications and managerial articles in, for example, Field Service News. Your company name will never be disclosed.

The study is being run by three academics, Dr. Chris Raddats (click through to see my LinkedIn profile) and Dr. Rachel Ashman at the University of Liverpool and, Professor Stuart Roper at the University of Huddersfield. We have a wealth of experience working with companies to deliver valuable insight and if you are interested in the study and would like further information, please contact me at

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