B2B Branding

A Refreshing B2B Branding Approach: Branding the Problem

By Kathleen Battin
In October 21, 2014

As advertising professionals, we consider ourselves in the problem solving business. Client comes to the agency with a problem. Agency goes to client with a solution. Sometimes the problems are easy to solve, but more often than not, they require us to put on our thinking caps.

Take FMC Professional Solutions, for example. This client came to us with a B2B branding problem. Their customers were not aware they offered an entire line of products (herbicides to be specific) that would literally change their view on perennial weeds forever. If lingo from the world of turf isn’t your thing, perennial weeds are those pesky weeds that come up year after year, season after season – each year worse than the last. More specifically, they are weeds like ground ivy, nutsedge and green kyllinga. They are literally the bane of lawn care operators and golf course superintendents’ existence. So the client asked us to develop impactful B2B branding messaging that would communicate the effectiveness of these products in fighting perennial weeds.

Initially, the B2B branding approach consisted of branding the performance of the herbicides. These particular products contain an optimized amount of the active ingredient (AI), sulfentrazone. With this optimized amount of AI, these products work underground to inhibit the weeds’ reproductive structures, thus reducing the number of future outbreaks the following season. We started referring to this ‘magic’ as the Sulfentrazone Effect. The B2B branding messaging took the form of a one-third page print ad that was accompanied by a full page ad featuring a specific product within the portfolio of sulfentrazone-based products.

After about a year, we re-evaluated the B2B branding approach of focusing on the performance of the herbicides to see if there was messaging that would resonate even better with the audience. Our fear was the message was getting lost in a sea of similar marketing messages within the industry. While the Sulfentrazone Effect message told a great story, it didn’t seem to get the attention it deserved. So we dusted off those thinking caps and revisited the overall B2B branding approach. It wasn’t long before we began exploring the notion of things that just don’t seem to stay dead and came up with…you guessed it…ZOMBIES! (Insert light bulb over our heads). That was it. Just like zombies, these perennial weeds pop up year after year no matter how many times you try to kill them. But with FMC products featuring sulfentrazone, you can help reduce that population each season. Simply put, the new B2B branding approach was to brand the problem, not the solution. This meant branding the weeds themselves, coining the term ZOMBIE WEEDS . The full messaging went like this: “Stop ZOMBIE WEEDS from invading your turf with FMC herbicides featuring an optimized amount of sulfentrazone.”

Not only did this new B2B branding make a ton of sense, it tapped into the rampant pop culture zombie phenomena. With a creepy illustration and a powerful message, an entire integrated marketing campaign came to life. From something that wouldn’t die.

Kathleen Battin

I have a male cat named Bella. My response to people’s reaction is, “To me, he is beautiful.” But truth is, I was told he was a girl when I first got him and it wasn’t until months later when my brother said, “Your cat has a package,” that I found out my Bella was a Bell ... o? Aside from my confused cat, I am also a new mommy to a handsome baby boy, and as a new mom, I have learned three valuable lessons: 1. Always have a burp cloth handy. 2. Make sure the diaper is properly secured at all times. 3. Mom is always a phone call away if you are having a freak-out moment.