Storytelling—a practice as old as human existence—is something that the marketing world is constantly chasing. When executed in the proper way, storytelling can be a compelling advertising tactic.
B2C marketers are better known for storytelling because the practice seems more natural when talking to groups of consumers. With B2B, the audience becomes a more abstract concept, and narratives can often get lost. It’s important to remember that while the sales might be business-to-business, the process is human-to-human.
Increasingly, B2B marketers are attempting to incorporate narratives into campaigns to appear more relatable. A few B2B brands are hitting it out of the park with truthful, compelling storytelling. Here is a roundup of those successful brands:
Networking corporation Cisco has the major challenge of trying to describe to end users and potential buyers what they actually do. Networking equipment and the functions it performs are not easily explained, but the brand is one of the best at storytelling—not just in the B2B world, but across the board.
The sheer amount of content that Cisco produces is impressive, but its quality is what really counts. For example, the corporation produced a documentary series “The Network Effect” detailing the history of networking while also highlighting Cisco’s role. What better way is there to explain the importance of what Cisco does than by highlighting its history?
If there’s a recurring theme to note among successful B2B storytellers, it’s the goal to prove how the company’s products improve the world and the lives of its users. Intel is no exception to this trend, and it has highlighted how its products like RealSense will improve on existing technologies. The landing page alone delivers bite-sized bits of information about drawing midair with fingers and 3D printing. Intel’s branded YouTube page offers easy-to-digest clips that demonstrate how the brand’s technology works. The page is an example of storytelling at its simplest and most effective.
Intel tells a story not only through the content it creates, but also through its curation of content. The IQ Project collects information from across the web that Intel employees find interesting. The project drew in 2.2 million unique views in March by adding a real human element—employees—into an often cold technology atmosphere.
Aircraft technology manufacturer Boeing channels one of the original forms of storytelling: news. With a quick look at Boeing’s homepage, visitors will find a bounty of news-style reporting on the history of aircraft manufacturing and the Boeing brand. For history buffs, the site could be a black hole that is easy to disappear into while learning about war times and larger-than-life creations.
Manufacturing isn’t the sexiest of industries, but Boeing creatively connects what it manufacturers to critical points in history. The company doesn’t focus fully on the past, however, as plenty of the content is future-focused and displays the ever-changing technology that Boeing produces. For example, the company published a news-style article and video debuting the first-ever U.S. space taxi.
As one of the world’s largest accounting consultancy firms, Deloitte could run the risk of seeming disconnected or stuffy. However, the firm has found a way to bring a human element to its work through storytelling, ensuring the brand continues to stay fresh. Rather than a traditional branded website, Deloitte’s home page feels more like a Pinterest layout of news stories. The page refreshes with relevant and timely content both outlining Deloitte’s offerings and linking to brand-related information.
Deloitte is especially skilled at delivering messages in a variety of formats so that people can find the messaging they enjoy—whether it be reading articles, watching videos, or listening to podcasts. Click on a Deloitte University Press block, and you’ll be immersed in economic stories from across the globe. Or you can follow a link to Life at Deloitte to learn more about company cultures through executive bios. Deloitte’s approach to storytelling is unique, and the delivery fits in well with other online publishers.