Stories communicate experiences and emotions. This makes them both informative and exciting. These two characteristics can also be useful for the Marketing team when it comes to acquiring B2B customers. It uses storytelling to guide the interest of persons, who are involved with decision-making, towards a product or service. Find out here how this works.
Storytelling: packaging information in a story
Storytelling is most successful when it combines entertainment and information in an ingenious way. This makes it also suitable for B2B content marketing. In contrast to B2C, the focus on dividing the target group, a highly important task, is only superficial.
The main task of B2B storytelling: it should more or less trigger a subliminal interest in a product or brand and, ideally, lead to conversions. To achieve this, it usually combines rather dry product features and figures with real or fictive stories. The aim is to create exciting videos, text and other articles that grab the attention of professional customers in an easy-to-consume way. This is why it is more important the more complex the product or service.
Why storytelling for B2B is so important
Do rational aspects play a leading role for B2B businesses? No! This long and widespread assumption does not generally reflect reality. Today we know: in business, decisions are strongly influenced by emotions – although the recipient is not always aware of this. The reason: they are also “only” people and therefore trust not just data and facts, but also their gut feeling. And this can be positively stimulated through good B2B storytelling.
Stories are also important for standing out from the competition. This is because the bare numbers and prices are similar among many players. Storytelling offers you the chance to differentiate yourself from competitors and give your own brand an individual profile.
5 tips for good B2B storytelling
What is the recipe for effective storytelling? The ingredients naturally come from the target group’s specific taste. Yet there are also some universal components which contribute to success – in the right form and dosage:
- A story needs a main figure with whom the recipient can identify. This means it must match up to the target group, for instance in terms of age. Young decision-makers are certainly more open to the adventures of a family with small children than a CEO aged 60+. He or she is probably more interested in good food or experiences on expensive journeys.
- To offer the right storytelling in B2B, buyer persons are a good way to go. They help you select the respective suitable media (videos, pictures, text) and channels (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, company website).
- There’s no limit to your fantasy. But: the way information is presented has to correspond with the product or service and be authentic. Slapstick storytelling is hardly appropriate for a serious funeral home and could rather unsettle the clientele than convince them.
- With all due respect to creative content, storytelling may never lose its connection to its object. Each story should create a bridge to the core of the brand and the main topic in some way.
- The right time of publication is also a factor. Which is why storytelling for B2B should always be part of a comprehensive marketing strategy.
Best practise: storytelling examples from B2B companies
The hammer is not a tool for good storytelling. The story can be overly brash and loud, but if you call out your message in a way that is awkward and easily predictable, to the banner “We’re the best!”, you will bore and underwhelm your audience. Remember: the shortest path to the product is usually not the best.
This also goes for your path to the target group. Indeed, the focus is clearly on B2B customers, but they can also be addressed using B2C campaigns. Potential business partners are, after all, also consumers, like private customers. Which is why B2C campaigns can also, without a doubt, achieve the desired effect.
Storytelling example: Klüber Lubrication
The company manufactures lubricants for industrial applications. In a marketing video, however, it presents its offers to customers in a completely different environment. The film captures an extreme athlete on his bicycle and climbing tour through Chile’s Atacama Desert. In this barren region, he applies a lubricant from the Munich-based manufacturer to his bicycle chain.
Storytelling example: HP
The printing specialist describes the meaning of hands for people and shows everything people can do with them. It isn’t until the end of the video that the content switches to HP software, which is operated using hand gestures.
Storytelling example: Philips
This film from the Dutch electronics company describes the strenuous life of an Islandic fisherman who suffers from exhaustion and insomnia due to his work. Philips is first mentioned at the end with a general reference that the company also works on technical innovations for a better night’s sleep. A concrete product is not shown in the video at all.