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Humanise your b2b brand and get the love back

October 29, 2014 |

You only need to watch Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday night to see that a bit of glitz and glamour sells but how do you market your product or service when it isn’t glamorous …or even remotely sexy?

Hands making heart shapeLet’s say you produce a widget that makes a ‘thingamabob’ work. Or perhaps you manufacture a ‘cog in a wheel’ type object used by a specialist engineer. Or perhaps you produce software or manufacture a component that is essential but overlooked when it comes to getting the glory for the finished product. What if you offer specialist insurance or legal services to a single b2b market? How then do you ensure your brand packs a punch and avoids being seen as dull?

The key is to remember what your audience wants to hear and to harness the human wherever it links with your brand. As this excellently argued blog post from Dan Brotzel high lights, just because your product sells b2b, it doesn’t need to be dull.

Ann Handley’s message making formula is a useful reminder of the power of good content and how it comes about:

Useful x Enjoyable x Inspired = Innovative Content

As she reminds us, if any one of the elements of the formula equals zero, the end outcome is zero, meaning innovative content cannot exist without the useful, the enjoyable and the inspired.

This is probably a formula that applies to any story, but with b2b it’s important to bring out the ‘so what’s’ so much more. Whether the widget means a job is done faster (so Mr Smith can return home on time and walk his dog), or the component means a product is cheaper to run (meaning Mrs Jones can save enough money to visit her ageing parents in Australia) or the cog in the wheel powers an entire town (letting us all watch Strictly Come Dancing every Saturday), by capturing a personal and emotional response, b2b can compete with its more stunt-driven b2c sibling.

The events arena is of course prime territory to harness the human. We all know most humans enjoy meeting others and benefit more from face to face interactions. This is certainly the case for b2b marketing. And in a face to face situation, like an exhibition, you can really maximise the interaction.

Face to face provides a great opportunity to avoid meaningless jargon and focus instead on what will inspire. Whilst discussion is great, incorporate the senses. On-stand product demonstrations, games, surveys or quizzes will make people feel like they’re contributing. Animations or virtual environments will make your widget or component speak volumes. Remember engagement equals memorability but it should be kept simple and fun.

Some recent examples where we’ve bought our clients’ projects to life include a recent animation and game created to showcase the capabilities of Sulzer’s range of pumps, and a bespoke microsite using an animated scrolling landscape to create an informative and fun experience for people looking to find out more about HORIBA UK Ltd’s medical division’s software applications. View our case studies for more information.

Face to face isn’t about one way traffic, it’s about interaction. Make sure you inspire and engaged. If visitors can see (your eyes), hear (your passion), feel (your quality), smell (your interest) and taste (your samples and hospitality), they’re likely to love you for it in the end.

For more inspiration and b2b brand love, check out B2B branding where is the love on Marketing week.

Photo credit: le vent le cri Untitled on Flickr CC2.0