Business-to-Business? Not Any More

We hear it often from our clients who supply big companies: “We’re a business-to-business operation, so we don’t need to communicate directly with consumers.”

Really?! Tell that to your business customers.

More and more, major companies like PepsiCo, McDonald’s, Nike, Wal-Mart, Apple, Victoria’s Secret and Macy’s are turning to their ingredient suppliers, component manufacturers and labor providers to defend and justify products and practices that may cause any concern among consumers.

Millennials complaining to a quick-service restaurant about presumed health risks of your spice in its soup? Explain how the spice is made and address its safety or the restaurant is dropping it as an ingredient.

Foodies online questioning the safety of your coloring in a popular beverage? Mount an online campaign to defend the coloring or lose the drink maker as a customer.

Employee advocates protesting labor practices at your offshore assembly plant? Better be able to show the world a fair and compassionate work environment or say bye-bye to that lucrative contract with a multinational computer company.

A growing part of our work at kglobal is conducting research, developing messages and creating websites for service and supply companies that must now educate consumers directly about their products and processes. That means losing the technical jargon so common to traditional B-to-B websites and replacing it with language and images that are friendly, approachable and supported by sound but simply stated scientific facts.

Major companies are under enough pressure without having to suffer attacks brought on by their suppliers’ questionable ingredients or unhealthy work environments. When lawsuits are filed or recalls occur, it’s their brand name that hits the national news. And those companies are no longer willing to shoulder that risk alone.

What’s more, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission now require companies to keep accurate records of their supply chains so that any recalls or other problems that arise can be traced back to the source. That only increases pressure on suppliers. They must be able to reassure their business customers that they are sensitive to consumer concerns and understand how to build a relationship with end users.

In short, B-to-B communication is no longer enough. Business to Consumer is the language of commerce in the 21st Century.

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