B2B Value Proposition

How to Optimise Your B2B Value Proposition for Virtual Delivery

Traditionally, a high level of personal delivery was important for the B2B value proposition of many brands. As the very title of Robert M. Galford’s key B2B book The Trusted Advisor implies, people have often been at the heart of B2B brands. But as B2B brands have shifted rapidly online, their value proposition has sometimes not carried over as fast or as effectively. Indeed, a recent survey suggests that 2 out of 5 potential B2B customers have pulled out of online purchases due to frustrations with elements of the vendor’s value proposition, such as lead times.

The pandemic sped up the process of shifting delivery online dramatically for many B2B brands. It also changed customers’ expectations almost across the board. In future, many B2B clients or customers will expect at least some component of virtual delivery, whether it’s training, meetings, professional development or support. Here we explain how your brand can deliver this in a way which is consistent with your value proposition, without losing differentiation or pricing power. [1]

Related: Brand Positioning Essentials, 5 Key Factors to Drive Commercial Success

A Strongly Differentiated B2B Value Proposition Enables You to Compete Successfully in a Crowded Market

The importance of a value proposition for your B2B brand is that it helps explain to clients what the brand can offer them. The value proposition enables prospective clients to understand why your brand is uniquely well positioned to meet their needs. 

Many B2B markets, such as auditing, financial services, accounting, waste removal and vehicle hire, operate in close to a commodity pricing environment. Alternative suppliers offer essentially interchangeable services. Many of them are not well known or even unknown to target customers until those prospects identify a specific need and start looking for potential suppliers. As prospective customers often don’t properly understand how to differentiate between suppliers for a service they don’t really understand, many simply resort to decision-making based on price.

To break out of this near commodity pricing environment, building your B2B brand helps clients understand why they should choose you, other than on the basis of price alone. That requires a value proposition which somehow differentiates you in a way which is relevant to clients — that enables your brand to achieve pricing power.

B2B Value Proposition

Image via © Godrey Wilson

A case study is accountancy firm Godfrey Wilson. While many clients know they need an accountant, they may have little to no understanding of accounting themselves and so feel ill-suited to deciding between suppliers. Godfrey Wilson has a value proposition which sets it apart in the mind of its potential clients. It focuses on charities and non-profit organisations as clients. The firm’s value proposition builds on its existing client base and expertise to communicate that because it focuses on the third sector and has experience servicing such clients, it is particularly attuned to the needs of third sector clients. 

Related: How a Strong Value Proposition Drives Your Sales & Profits Growth

brand strategy“We participated in the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Mastermind Programme online. The 12-week program suited us, as the weekly accountability spurred us on to get work done between sessions.

We found the flow of the course appropriate for the development of the brand through the various areas of the business. Already, we have developed our Customers Personas and our Brand Persona adding value to the business.

The course has helped us make more astute decisions in the business, such as restructuring our product offerings, so we grow more profitable lines and remove those with lower margins.

Lorraine is very helpful and accessible as a tutor, with follow up after each live working session and the half-day masterclass. Most of all, the clarity achieved has been most invaluable.

In the first two weeks of March 2020, before Covid-19 required us to close, we were 300% up in our online sales compared to the whole of March 2019. By the end of May 2020 [after being completely closed for 6 weeks with our 150 staff furloughed] we were back to 69% and by end of June 2020 back at 108%, January 2021 we were up four-fold on January 2019 

— results achieved from applying our brand strategy.”

Sinead Heffernan

Managing Director

Thunders Bakery

Sinead Heffernan

We know that sometimes it’s a struggle to build a brand strategy that really engages your ideal customers effectively, particularly in uncertainty, so we’ve developed three different ways of working with us to help you build your brand, depending on your preferences, so if you’d like us to:

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Want a DIY solution? Check out our how to build a brand eprogramme here and our how to audit your brand yourself eprogramme here

Brand Strategy Leadership Programme

The Context of Your B2B Value Proposition Matters Even More Online

Successful B2B brands have long relied on their value proposition to help build their revenue and profitability. But it is more important than ever now. Previously, many customers chose B2B service providers because they were physically located nearby or came recommended by an acquaintance or a professional body. 

In an online environment, your brand now competes with brands based thousands of miles away, not just in your local high street. That is true to some extent even for regulated industries with localised certification or regulation requirements. Clients can parcel some work off to low-cost countries and keep what needs to be physically done in their own jurisdiction with a lower cost base. 

At least some brands which compete with yours now offer a value proposition finely attuned to an online world. Large multinational firms and networks can exploit their scale in a digitally connected global marketplace. They are just a click away for your existing and potential customers. 

B2B brands can no longer rely on geographic monopoly or a lack of customer awareness to aid their business. Instead, what they need is a compelling B2B value proposition which stands out even when compared to what else customers can access virtually.

B2B Value Proposition

Image via © DS Smith

A case study is packaging supplier D S Smith. D S Smith’s brand communication talks about the “circular economy” as a way of differentiating its value proposition. It doesn’t just sell boxes, it has a recycling ecosystem and approach which reassures customers who themselves face growing pressure to meet environmental standards. 

While the hard product may come from a local warehouse, the company’s digital platforms means its network of over 700 designers and innovators spread across 30 markets can help create the right solution for a given client, combining the benefits of virtual B2B service delivery with an offline business footprint in a traditional sector.

Related: Online Branding and The Fundamentals of Getting it Right so You Thrive in Adversity

“I really appreciate Lorraine’s energy and passion. Although good branding includes so many facets, Lorraine is able to simplify the process and make it so much more tangible for any company to put into practice.”

Lisa Kettman-Kervinen

Marketing Communication Specialist

The Switch

Lisa Kettman-Kervinen

A Strong B2B Value Proposition Relies on Product and Process, Not Just People

Offline service delivery can often emphasise your people. For example, your products may be inferior or pricing expensive, but customers appreciate your personal service or like their rapport with a particular sales rep. 

People are vital to successful brands – and that is true online as well. Finding ways to bring out the human element of your brand’s value proposition also matters online. In fact, virtual delivery can actually improve this aspect of your value proposition. For example, it makes it easier for you to offer access to expert colleagues located in other markets to your customers. 

But whereas in an offline environment, some brands rely almost exclusively on people, online that’s not enough. You also need to consider how your product and processes help deliver your value proposition. This can range from simple technical considerations such as ensuring your interface is user-friendly, to more conceptual considerations such as your productisation or utilising the power of data storage to make a range of services available to clients virtually which you couldn’t easily deliver in an offline environment.

B2B Value Proposition

Image via © European Bartender School

Case study: bar staff training provider European Bartender School helps bar staff learn skills for their jobs. It has physical locations but also offers a wide range of online training which lean on the experience it has garnered from its face to face teaching activities. Those sit alongside costlier multiday in person courses for advanced skills. The company works with a wide range of spirits brands and also has a job platform for its former training recipients, so it integrates online and offline elements to help bars develop their staff and fulfil their training needs.

Related: 7 Employer Branding Techniques to Build a High Performing Team and More Profitable Organisation

“An exceptionally talented individual. Lorraine Carter, Persona Branding and Design has a wonderful ability to ‘horizon scan’ for any business and then bring them on a journey that delivers value to their Balance Sheet.”

Dave Feenan


Technology Ireland & ICT Skillnet

Dave Feenan

Well Developed Virtual Delivery Enhances Your B2B Value Proposition in Many Ways

While delivering services online is seen as a potential threat or cost centre by many B2B businesses, in fact, a positive mindset to the inevitable rise of virtual delivery can help you unlock new opportunities which could grow your brand’s sales and revenues. This could be by enabling lower costs, but it can also be through developing ancillary revenue streams and productisation that are enabled by a virtual environment.

Examples include serving more clients using the same amount of staff hours, more easily documenting interactions, shifting some of the workload from your own people onto the client as people are used to navigating some things themselves in a virtual environment and more easily opening up new markets.

B2B Value Proposition

Image via © Peloton

While it’s primarily a B2C business, a case study which brilliantly illustrates this in practice is exercise brand Peloton. Historically, a gym needed to rent a space in which to install equipment. Peloton doesn’t – it uses customers’ own space, and charges them for the equipment. 

The virtual delivery enables mass scaleability – indeed, “peloton” means a pack. An instructor is no longer limited to a certain number of students, and catchment area is no longer geographically constrained. This attractive business model from Peloton’s perspective also forms the basis of its value proposition for customers, from easy access to flexible scheduling for exercise workouts. This extends even into its internal branding.

Related: 7 Ways Brand Collateral Helps You Grow Your B2B Business Profitably Even in a Hostile Market

Are you a business leader, manager or entrepreneur who wants to re-evaluate or build your brand strategy, so you can fit your B2B brand’s value proposition to the changing market to increase your sales? Are you curious about how to build or scale a highly successful, standout brand? Join one of our brand strategy masterclasses because they enable you to differentiate, build your brand, enhance customer experience, expand your market impact and create higher perceived value, so you can command a premium and achieve higher revenue. 

In fact, the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Programme is all about fast-tracking you, your brand and your business through the brand building, brand strategy process using professional big-brand know-how with proven systems that get results, so you can differentiate, increase your market credibility and grow your business faster and more effectively. 

The systems in the programme enable you to make your brand highly differentiated relative to your competitors, visible, credible, trustworthy, memorable and much loved amongst your ideal customers, so you can become more profitable and leave your competitors way behind. Be The One — your ideal customers’ favourite brand of preferred choice, commanding a premium.

If you want a tailor-made solution specifically for your brand, then we also provide in house bespoke Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Intensives™. Working specifically on your brand and organisational needs,  the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ framework is used working collaboratively with you and your team, so you can grow your business faster and more profitably. 

Contact us to discover more [email protected] or +353 1 8322724

Virtual Delivery Doesn’t Preclude a B2B Value Proposition Extending Offline

Virtual delivery can be a strategic choice, and for some B2B brands that has already been the case for several decades. But in other contexts, such as lockdowns, it has been foisted on brands as a necessity. It’s helpful to remember that virtual delivery doesn’t have to be an all or nothing choice. 

Rather, you can supplement virtual delivery with offline activity. This can include physical training materials, real world meetups for virtual associates, bespoke tech hardware to act as a walled garden for virtual delivery, or even just a simple handwritten note to a client. 

Related: How to Turn a Disruptive World into a Brand Building and Revenue Growth Opportunity

Your brand’s value proposition needs to be compelling in a virtual delivery context, but that doesn’t mean that it ought to utilise only digital touchpoints. By contrast, many highly successful B2B brands which are heavily virtual also have a powerful presence in offline elements of their customer experience. From an ownable tone of voice to unique brand visual assets, this can help build brand loyalty to your value proposition, whether you deliver it virtually or not.

A case study is Lego Serious Play. This B2B brand offers corporate training using Lego blocks. It does this through selling training courses to professional instructors, who then sell training to clients. While it offers face to face training, it also delivers virtually. 

The approach is optimised for a digital environment, including offering a Slack workspace for those who have completed the trainer training. But, both in how it trains trainers and how they serve clients, the process maintains elements which cannot be wholly replicated online, from the Lego bricks themselves to a trio of full-colour hard copy workbooks. 

Lego Serious Play thus offers a value proposition of Lego-endorsed methodology, which can’t simply be replicated by competing training brands, which only incidentally use Lego bricks.

Related: Digital Brand Identity Essentials – How to Build, Resonate and Grow

If you’d like to discover more about building and maintaining a thriving, high performing, highly profitable standout brand, then get in touch because we’d love to help you make your brand into a bigger profit powerhouse.

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Lorraine Carter is a brand strategy expert and international speaker delivering talks that inspire and motivate along with masterclasses and workshops online and offline that inform and support transformational outcomes fast, and consultancy expertise that solves business problems — using agile brand strategy underpinned by professional big-brand know-how — so you can outshine, outperform and leave your competitors way behind. 

She enables you to differentiate, achieve higher revenue, expand your market share, build IP brand asset value — make the complex easy as ABC, so you can Transform Your Brand & Increase Your Sales — Be The One, the brand that’s most credible, trusted and commanding a premium, so you’re highly profitable and leaving your competitors way behind.

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Final Thoughts

Successful B2B brands have long understood the power of a compelling value proposition. However, this has taken on a new urgency with the increase of virtual delivery. 

That can create distance from a brand – but with the right approach and brand architecture, it can also make your B2B brand even more engaging for your target customers. It can help you compete even in a crowded market with globalised competitors. 

While your digital footprint is important for your value proposition, you also need to consider how both online and offline elements fit together to help deliver your brand. Instead of virtual delivery being a threat to your brand, it could help you move your business results to the next level of success, This can be achieved through building and leveraging new productisations that enhance your B2B value proposition, differentiation relative to competitors and consequently enable you to achieve premium pricing models — and ultimately higher sustained revenue growth.

Questions to Consider 

  1. What is your brand’s B2B value proposition?
  2. How does your B2B value proposition help target customers differentiate you from competitors?
  3. Are there ways in which your B2B value proposition could come to life better in a digital environment?
  4. What role do your people play in delivering on your B2B value proposition?
  5. What opportunities do virtual delivery and blended delivery offer to your brand which aren’t available with purely offline delivery?

Could you use a brand audit to help you evaluate what you need to stop doing, what you could do more of because it already drives strong revenue and leverage new opportunities for innovation and growth?

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Get in touch today because we’d love to enable you to re-evaluate and build your standout, powerhouse brand, so you can Be The One — increase your profits and leave your competitors way behind. 

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Ozana Giusca


Tooliers & Ozana

Ozana Giusca