by: Hemant Karandikar

So you politely listen to all that on B2B branding etc. You turn over the pages of your business magazine when you encounter anything on B2B branding. Yes, yes you have important stakes in a B2B company -capital goods, packaged software, banking services…. You are not alone in being sceptical. But would you sit up and take notice now that IBM is doing putting money or real B2B experiential marketing?

The sugar and spice of baked treats greets visitors at the entrance of the IBM Merlin Center. Inside the warmly lit lobby, a Pottery Barn–style couch beckons and a kitchenette serves up coffee and a plate of fresh biscotti.

Now B2B companies, especially in the technology, pharmaceutical and banking industries, are looking for ways to immerse their business clients in experiences that tell a brand story. Companies such as IBM are realizing that business clients are not emotionally inured; rather, they bring to any decision the same mix of emotional and rational qualities attributed to consumers.

Banking executives—often represented by CMOs, CFOs and other business managers—hear the story over the course of a day-long, private tour at the Merlin Center. IBM targets existing clients that are looking to upgrade their facilities with newer technology and strategy. So far this year, 40 banks have toured the Merlin Center. “It’s meant to be an executive day, as opposed to a day for information technology professionals,” says Clark. “It’s a day to think about strategy. A day to bond people to the franchise as existing customers.”

Interestingly, the tours often evolve into an opportunity for a bank’s own executive colleagues to bond with one another. The conversations and interactions among executives are as much a part of the Merlin Center experience as the sweet-smelling lobby. In one instance, a bank’s vice chairman was reunited with some of the bank’s technology representatives for the first time in 14 years. “The most important thing is to get clients talking”

What do you say?

Original Post: http://purple-stream.com/blog/?p=18

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