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Applying a human-to-human ethos to business-to-business

Alex gives his take on how B2B brands can take a leaf out of the consumer marketing book and become more human.

 

When you think about businesses with a successful humanised brand, chances are you’ll think of those in the consumer sphere. Putting a face to the brand, whether that’s through celebrity endorsements or regular CEO profiles, is an approach taken by many businesses from Nike to Virgin in a bid to appeal to customers on a personal level. But the amount of B2B brands that have a similar personal feel is a bit thin on the ground.

 

87% of B2B marketers say that they struggle to create humanised content. As B2B marketing is about appealing to people in their professional lives, it’s easy to see why marketers might think about communicating to a business before an individual. For example, a typical B2B PR plan will include activity such as articles and case studies that showcase the business’ knowledge, expertise and experience in the sector, with the intention of demonstrating how they can achieve similar objectives for the reader’s business. But less likely to appear in the plan is activity that aims to achieve an emotional connection. Ultimately, it’s a human that will make the buying decision, and that’s who a marketer needs to appeal to.

 

Our friends at Upp B2B define a human brand:

“A human brand is one that really understands both what their customers believe in and why their employees are motivated to work for the company, and then makes these human elements the basis for everything else.”

A typical B2B organisation will have a whole eco-system of stakeholders, including directors, junior staff, partners, suppliers and customers. They’re the people that businesses should use when creating these human elements for a marketing campaign.

 

The question is then how should businesses use their people? Chances are that many are already using the tactics that can showcase the human aspect of their business; they just need to tailor it slightly. Instead of only creating case studies showing their successful customer projects, businesses should produce content showing the internal workings of the company, e.g. employee engagement initiatives. Instead of only profiling the director, businesses should do the same for junior members of staff that have an interesting story to tell, e.g. they began their working life as an apprentice and have progressed through the ranks. Seeing the personalities that make up the business is how potential customers can engage with the brand on a human level.

 

Establishing a mission statement, values and messaging are areas of a brand that many businesses have well established. But defining how they want the business’ people and culture to come across is perhaps lower down in the list of priorities. Potential customers aren’t just driven by logic – their emotions are what also drive them to making a buying decision, and that’s why a business’ people can be a valuable marketing asset.

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