B2B marketers must go beyond features and benefits to connect with modern buyers. Legacy brands retain value by remaining relevant on an emotional, as well as intellectual level with target audiences. One of the primary methods for creating relevance is through storytelling.
Though in practice for some time now, there seems to be a bit of a resurgence of brand storytelling as a marketing tactic, especially given the prevalence of interacting with your prospects and customers via social media. And it’s a strategy with which I really agree.
We all can identify with a story or another – whether it stems from our childhood memories of the bedtime story or repeating the good times and legends passed around families or laughing your head off with a best friend as you recount your many antics, we all have powerful feelings attached to stories. So if you could take that attachment factor and apply it to B2B marketing, why wouldn’t you at least give it a try?
Rules of Good Brand Storytelling in B2B Marketing
Just remember that with stories come a few obligations and rules of good storytelling.
- Keep it short and sweet. No one likes a run-on story with absolutely no point to it.
- Keep it real. Embellishment is okay for some family stories, but not so much with business. Tell it like it is and it’ll ring true to those who read it.
- Follow traditional formats: there’s a beginning that introduces what your subject matter is and who your characters are; a middle that talks about what happened and typically includes a problem, conflict, or hurdle of some sort building up to the climactic drama to be resolved; and an ending where it should all be wrapped up in summary with a resolution.
- Weave and mold the pieces that make up those categories along the way to seek to make an emotional connection with the reader/listener. Ensure the “characters” in the story are people to whom your audience can relate. The conclusion that’s reached should help the reader/listener feel they are invested in the outcome, and satisfied that resolution has been achieved.
You walk away from the best stories feeling emotionally attached, and often compelled to repeat the story to someone else. In B2B brand storytelling, it may not be the same degree of emotional attachment that more personal stories create, but it’s still what you want — the person identifies with the elements of the story and looks to have the same type of resolution presented in their business lives.
Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation