Does storytelling have a place in B2B marketing? Absolutely. In today’s competitive landscape, it’s not enough to offer a great product or service — the playing field is crowded. Company leaders and marketers should also work to make their brands likeable and credible. Storytelling can be an impactful way to accomplish this. According to a MISC Magazine article, “stories help us relate, they allow us to empathize, and they allow our brains to process information in a form that is more digestible and memorable.” They set context, create purpose, and drive action.
Stories can make you more relatable to your customers
Whether we’re making purchase decisions for ourselves or on behalf of our companies, we’re still human. And humans are receptive to stories that spark emotions and personalize brands. When it comes to B2B marketing, many marketers tend to lean toward more rational and businesslike approaches. We often get stuck in product-data inundation and forget the power our stories have to make us more “human” to our customers.
It’s also important to note that, in many cases, B2B marketers should evoke different emotions than B2C marketers. It is more imperative for B2B marketers to create “feelings of trust, reliability, credibility and a sense of partnership,” than it is to tug at heartstrings. For example, over-the-top sadness or humour can be lost on B2B decision-makers and make them feel morebusin uneasy than sure about your brand. Instead, talk about successes and experiences.
What’s in your story?
The first type of story you should tell is your company’s. What is the brand’s history and why should your target audience care? By evoking emotion in your prospects and clients, you can make your brand more relatable and memorable. Facts are easy to forget, but, told well, a good story can be the difference between a potential customer choosing you over a competitor. When you start to build your story, be sure to include the elements that have been part of every successful story since the beginning of time.
- You have a hero. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the customer is the hero — not your brand.
- Your hero has a problem.
- Your hero meets a guide: You.
- You give the hero a plan and build trust.
- You provide your hero with a call to action.
- You help your hero avoid failure.
- Your hero achieves success because of the guide’s help.
You can’t assume your audience members understand how your brand — including your products or services — could change their lives. It’s your responsibility to demonstrate your brand’s effectiveness to them. While brand storytelling is a great way to build relationships with your audience, it isn’t the only story you can or should tell.
Tell us a story, we’re listening
Storytelling is a powerful business tool you should include in your strategy to reach customers. Stories may not be the right solution in all your business situations, but they do allow people to connect with your company in meaningful and personal ways. Not sure where to start? Try these prompts.
- Tell the story of how you got started and where your passion comes from.
- Share stories about your company culture or employees because human connections are relatable.
- Tell readers how you’ve used your products or services to solve customers’ problems and why.
- Share your customers’ stories, experiences, and successes.
- Document your and your employees’ experiences at expos or other business events and share key takeaways.
Also, remember that not all stories have words. Use visual elements to convey your stories as well.
Give storytelling a try, and you and your customers may just live happily ever after.