To be brave, or not to be brave? In B2B that is the question.

A lot has been said about creativity in the B2B space and how this is linked to increased brand awareness and ROI. But here’s my take. As a creative, I tend to push clients to consider ideas they’re not always comfortable with, but will get them noticed. And while B2B is full of smart, professional people who have expertise and passion in their field, there are still numerous reasons why the aspiration to do really creative work falls short of the mark. It usually boils down to budget or simply convincing the CEO that the creative investment is worth it. However, I believe there is one other factor that can’t really be measured, but tends to hold B2B creativity back throughout the industry – and that’s bravery. We see a lot more bravery in the B2C world, because there’s no limit to creativity when designing a campaign aimed at the masses. Yet, as Suzanne Malhotra touched on in her article in B2B Marketing this year, “We should view B2B as B2I – business to the individual, and therefore inspire them with creativity.”

Emotional pulls to generate leads

At the end of the day we’re all consumers, so why can’t we use smarter emotional pulls to generate leads? Google reported on the trend from Promotion to Emotion in 2013 and this year’s Cannes Lions was a positive indication that we’re heading in the right direction with inspiring campaigns from Volvo trucks, HP and Adobe. And the most recent work for Scania Group; ‘The Scania Clock’ is a sign that there is certainly more bravery to watch out for. However, the trick to those campaigns (aside from their sizeable budgets) was the courage to deconstruct the service/product being sold, and break it down into enjoyable, easy to understand content. Everyone knows the Van Damme leg split across the Volvo trucks, but it also came with a suite of easy to digest marketing content, that was just as enjoyable, and still informative. We’ve seen B2B companies brave enough to stick their head above the parapet with amazing results. I doubt many people in the West knew that Yaskawa sold industrial robots in 2014. Fast-forward to June 2015 and nearly 6 million people from all over the world have watched a video that highlights the benefits of Yaskawa’s product thanks to a gutsy piece of gratifying content.

Human to human

This is content that resonates with its human audience. Simply because it’s based on insight and delivered in a way that positively impacts people’s perception of the B2B brand and the service it provides. According to a report published by PulsePoint, content marketing budgets are expected to double by 2017. The report suggests that 60% of agencies and brands view content marketing as very significant to their overall marketing strategy. My hope is that we see more brands like Yaskawa next year. Brands that are prepared to be brave with their B2B content marketing; marketers willing to take the leap of faith required to step out of their comfort zone and really get noticed.   N.B. First published in B2B Marketing