Stories humanize brands: Lessons from B2B brand storytelling

In my last post, I mentioned how festivals bring out some of the best marketing campaigns of the year. From Diwali in India to Christmas across the globe, we get to see brilliant films and creatives during this time of the year. The year 2020 of course has been different. Pandemic has changed the rules of marketing to a large extent. But the festive spirit is still alive in the market. I’m sure we will get to see a lot more brilliant marketing stories in the next one month.

Two participants from my last workshop messaged after reading this post. Their feedback – it’s easy to evoke emotions and build stories around B2C brands. How about B2B? This is one question that makes me smile. I get this question asked in almost every session, especially when I am interacting with tech companies. And every time my answer remains the same 🙂 –

The fundamentals of marketing and messaging do not change. Whether you work for B2C or B2B brands. 

And I say this with confidence, having worked in both. 

Of course, there may be differences in the execution approach but the core remains the same. 

Brand storytelling is no different. There are many, many examples of brilliant storytelling by B2B brands. One of the most iconic ones that I always remember is The Wolf Film by HP. In this, the brand highlights the pros and cons of printer security through the classic good vs. evil approach of storytelling. 

If we think of the word “security” and that too for a category like “printer”, it all sounds so enterprise types and nerdy. But the way this message has been conveyed in this short film is sheer brilliance. The film captivates the user’s attention and communicates the core message in a way that’s understood by all.

Most importantly, it humanizes the brand. Making it more relatable and personal. 

Do watch this, in case you haven’t till now. It will help you understand the power of storytelling for B2B brands.

Speaking of humanizing the brand and B2B campaigns, I loved this festival-special Diwali film by Facebook. Targeted towards small business owners, it highlights the change in the business environment due to COVID. 

The storytelling is beautiful. It’s topical, meaningful, and yet another tear-jerker like the Coca-Cola one. The product placement is perfect, and it connects with the audience. 

Pandemic has impacted lots of small businesses across the globe. In a country like India, Diwali traditionally has been one of the biggest selling months of the year. Consumers had the readiness to spend. This year the consumer sentiments have been a bit different. Many small businesses have gone digital or taken the digital route to reach their audience. I loved the way Facebook has put it all together and conveyed it through this film.

My only minor gripe – it’s a 7-minute film! Facebook who has got us into the habit of watching movies on mute and squeezes the marketers to communicate everything within a few seconds, has itself come out with a seven-minute film :).

Keeping that aside, it’s yet another beautiful example of B2B storytelling. As I say in all my posts around this topic:

Stories connect.

Be it the business of brands or life in general.

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