Nothing captivates an audience like a great story– no matter what industry you work in. In the marketing world, brand storytelling refers to campaigns that use creative narratives to showcase a brand or product. Effective storytelling provides human context to your brand and allows you to connect with your audience on a more emotional level.
Brand storytelling is a staple of B2C content marketing, but it’s less common in the B2B world. The reason is obvious– it’s slightly more difficult to engage your audience emotionally when you’re selling complex solutions to businesses, rather than flashy products to individual consumers.
Storytelling may seem more difficult to pull off in the B2B world, but it’s no less effective. After all, 50% of B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase if they connect emotionally to a brand (source).
Today’s post shines a spotlight on B2B brands that have used brand storytelling in unique, engaging, and innovative ways. Keep reading!
HP’s video “The Wolf” tackles a topic that has the potential to seem dry and uninteresting– printer security. But, this short film is incredibly engaging, as it creates a menacing character to represent the threats companies face if their printer security is lacking. It’s an entertaining story that also makes viewers understand how vital HP’s printer security software can be.
Sure, you might not have the budget to feature Hollywood stars in your videos– but you can still learn a lot from HP’s unique approach to B2B storytelling.
One of the largest companies in the world, Microsoft, is also one of the biggest advocates of storytelling as a brand-building tactic. Their Microsoft Stories platform highlights employees from every department within their company, from researchers to artists to video game developers. These in-depth profiles illustrate that Microsoft is not just a massive corporation, but a collection of unique and gifted individuals.
The multinational tech corporation has used storytelling to humanize their company for decades. Consider this TV spot highlighting struggles within the American education system and IBM’s efforts to improve schools across the country. The ad is over 20 years old, but still holds up today as an example of powerful brand storytelling.
Google Adwords is a web advertising service that most B2B marketers are already familiar with. Google’s Adword Stories is a video series highlighting small businesses to convey the life-changing impact that Adwords can have. In a two-minute video, Google tells the heartwarming story of a local restaurant that used Adwords on their way to becoming a $14 million, national mail-order business.
The popular sales technology company specializes in a particular kind of brand storytelling– they allow their customers to tell their story for them. Their Success Stories page follows clients who have used Salesforce to grow their businesses. This is a tactic that can be easily replicated for your own business. Simply reach out to top customers and ask if they’re willing to talk about their success with your product—just as you would for a case study.
The lesson here is this: Don’t underestimate the value of a good success story. In fact, 90% of buyers who read positive customer success content claim it influenced their purchasing decision (source).
Cisco is a cutting-edge technology company that develops networking and telecommunications equipment. Though their services are very complex, Cisco uses storytelling to humanize the advanced technology they offer to businesses.
One great example is Sea Change, a story of a racing yacht that gains a competitive advantage using a number of Cisco Powered technologies. This post combines pictures, video, and written narrative to tell an exciting story that showcases the impact of the brand’s products.
The aircraft technology manufacturer uses an old-fashioned form of storytelling to great effect – news articles. On its Features page, Boeing publishes in-depth news stories that report on their solutions and how they are used across the world. These articles are informational rather than promotional but succeed in building the Boeing brand by keeping their technology grounded in current events.
8. General Electric
Visual storytelling can make highly-technical ideas appear more human and relatable– and there’s no better example than General Electric’s social media storytelling. On their Instagram page, GE regularly posts captivating photos and videos that demonstrate how their complex projects have a tremendous impact on our day-to-day lives.
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the many ways we have implemented brand storytelling in our own campaigns. For starters, our extensive Customer Success page features detailed testimonials of customers who achieved growth using ZoomInfo.
Storytelling is also a big part of the visual content we create. Take for example our recent infographic For the Love of Marketing – A Guide to Date Night. This infographic uses the relatable story of a Valentine’s Day date to provide useful marketing tips. Another infographic, Catch Them If You Can, uses a fun detective narrative to explain how recruiters can track down passive candidates.
Key Takeaways and B2B Brand Storytelling
We hope these examples gave you some inspiration to make brand storytelling a bigger part of your marketing strategy. And remember, you don’t need a huge budget and a wealth of resources to make use of brand storytelling. Whether you’re a big or small business, you have stories to tell.
So, the next time you build out an elaborate marketing campaign, try thinking like a storyteller rather than a marketer. You might just discover a way to create a deeper connection with your audience.
Contact our sales team today to learn how our contact database can inform and enhance your marketing efforts.