Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing
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Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing

Edited by Gary L. Lilien and Rajdeep Grewal

This insightful Handbook provides a comprehensive state-of-the-art review of business-to-business marketing. It supplies an overview and pioneers new ideas relating to the activity of building mutually value-generating relationships between organizations – from businesses to government agencies to not-for-profit organizations – and the many individuals within them.
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Chapter 12: Branding in B2B Firms

Kevin Lane Keller and Philip Kotler


Kevin Lane Keller and Philip Kotler Brands are a powerful force in our everyday lives, whether we are thinking of buying a car, a pair of sneakers, a refrigerator or hotel lodging. We pay attention to brands and often have favorites. We choose a brand that we have heard about, others have talked about or with which we have had a good experience. In buying a new television set, we confront many different brands but probably focus on a smaller ‘consideration set’ of those few brands that we know and trust (Urban 2005). Because we know that Sony or Samsung will work well, we may feel we do not have to consider all the other brands. Branding simplifies our decision-making and reduces our felt risk. Although we know the importance of branding in navigating our consumer purchases, we can ask whether branding plays the same important role in B2B purchasing (Bendixen et al. 2004; Mudambi et al. 1997). Suppose a car manufacturer must decide what brand of tires to purchase and mount on its cars. The car manufacturer can choose from such tire manufacturers as Michelin, Goodyear, Continental, Bridgestone and Pirelli. Does the brand matter? Certainly it does. All these brands carry meanings and associations about quality, price, experience, innovation and other dimensions. We believe that B2B branding is just as important to business buyers as B2C branding is to consumers. Yet we also believe that many B2B businesses do a poor job of developing and managing their corporate brands,...

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