1st of November 2022

Published by Marketing Week See original article

B2B brands shouldn’t fear rejection, but being unknown

Humans are hardwired to fear rejection.

To understand why, transport yourself to prehistoric times.

Imagine you are a caveman living in the year 10,000 BC and you commit a social faux pas against the caveman next door. Word gets out, and suddenly no one in the tribe wants to share their roasted sabretooth tiger with you. Without the support of the group, you can no longer feed yourself, and before you know it, you are starved out of the gene pool.

Modern Homo sapiens inherited this ancient fear of rejection, which is why we’re still alive.

Modern B2B companies struggle with something similar – fear of ‘brand rejection’.

Marketers fear we might say the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time and catastrophically harm the business. We often see this in advertising. Brands will pause media campaigns during turbulent times or dull down creative, trying to ensure we don’t insult any potential buyers and find ourselves starved out of a customer base.

But is the fear of brand rejection warranted?

Spoiler alert: not really.

Just like fear of rejection prevents too many people from reaching their full potential, fear of brand rejection prevents too many B2B businesses from reaching their full potential.

Have no fear, rejection is rare

Many B2B marketers worry about brand rejection. We track negative sentiment. We go dark during dark times. Sometimes we even run campaigns to address specific criticisms and try to win over our ‘detractors’ or win back our ‘churners’.

Almost all these decisions come from the gut.

We’d all be better off if these decisions came from the data instead.

And for the data, we turn to Jenni Romaniuk of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, the patron saint of marketing rationalism, who recently published a paper with The B2B Institute entitled – wait for it…’Brand Rejection in B2B’.

The B2B Brand Rejection paper quantifies the answer to a simple question: how serious is brand rejection in B2B? Please allow us to summarise the findings.

Read the full article in Marketing Week.


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