A successful narrative retains the essence of complexity in a simple package. If temperature is a topic, humidity is a theme — how hot it is, versus how hot it feels. We want to distill that feeling into B2B storytelling, while staying on-topic with supporting facts about our product. Mixed with feedback, internal and external sources — we can define what’s the story about? …but what is it really all about?
Five details to consider for B2B storytelling:
Numbers provide a solid reference for key points in our B2B story — How much money can be saved? How much time? How many units? We can choose percentages, dollars, etc. whatever paints the clearest picture for our message. Infographics continue to grow in popularity to compare data in visually-pleasing format. Telling the B2B story with numbers provides validation and gives our story credibility, while also providing a scale to gauge the message. #datavisualization
One of my favorite parts of marketing is hearing honest and unbiased feedback from customers. Word-of-mouth is at the core of earned media — most quotes and testimonials are from external sources. The tone is raw, unfiltered and contrasts the surrounding content, while summarizing the big picture. In songwriting, the verse tells the background story and the chorus sums up what we’ve learned in the verse. Using a quote is like writing a great chorus for the B2B story. Quotes make our story powerful, relatable and believable. #earnedmedia
White papers and case studies provide real-world examples of our product in action. In the scope of owned media, similar “digital properties” benefit our story with detailed and documented interaction with an actual client and/or problem-solving steps. While incredibly beneficial to current and potential clients, additional internal value is generated during the exploration process — seeing how clients use our product in their ecosystems. It’s important to let the customer’s story shine in case studies. Being as transparent as possible is more beneficial than acting pitchy. Let the product speak, and let the story guide the strategy. #ownedmedia
Explore options and creative ideas for telling the story with pictures. Choose a media channel that would be uncommon — how about a summer blockbuster movie about our product? What would it look like? Where would it take place? Would it be live-action or animated?!? Take note of your mental picture!
Think of developing a movie, commercial, print ad, comic strip, etc. — this is even better if these types of media are unfamiliar territory. Details that seem cliche or (too) iconic can generate ideas that are from outside the box, but can be adapted to benefit our B2B storytelling capabilities.
Consider the history of the relationship and the environment where our story is delivered. Look for opportunities to use context as efficiency — like an inside joke — we get to the punchline quickly when there is mutual understanding. In B2B storytelling, being aware of the context of our message being received should remain top-of-mind. Knowing history and/or previous actions is essential to understanding customer personas and developing stories that resonate with the audience.
Numbers, quotes, examples, images and history are great areas to improve B2B storytelling across marketing channels. Focusing on these details provides a fundamental balance of topic and theme, which engages customers and defines what our story is really all about.