How PR Creates Brand Stories To Lure Customers In
B2B marketers should let their emotions show
I assume it’s your job to grow brand visibility and contribute to a qualified pipeline. You’re probably hosting webinars or running PPC campaigns—standard sales tactics.
Where are the stories?
How are you connecting emotionally with prospects?
Where’s the storytelling to accelerate buyer action and build a long-lasting brand?
Stories Make You More 💰
The more well known a B2B company is, the easier it is to sell it, says Les Binet, the ‘Godfather of Effectiveness’ and a recognized econometrics expert. His research proves that B2B customers tend to prefer the option that comes to mind most easily.
However, being known by buyers isn’t enough to make the phones ring. A brand story that appeals to prospect’s emotions is essential in 2021.
Am I making this up?
50% of B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase if they connect to a brand on an emotional level.
There’s a metric psychologists call “mental availability.” In B2B, it’s assumed that mental availability matters much less. But on average, B2B customers are significantly more emotionally connected to their vendors than consumers. Fortunately for you, few solutions providers have a story.
So if you have one, you’ve got an edge.
I’ll explain how to differentiate your company by telling one, why you should stop making sense, and why I feel emotional storytelling will become mandatory in B2B marketing.
Pandemic Incited a B2B Narrative Revolution
Captured! The pace at which B2B marketing evolves:
I believe a post-pandemic wave of brand storytelling in B2B marketing is coming that will aim to evoke emotional feelings.
Dry, cruddy marketing won’t cut it. Neither will lifeless campaigns or only telling data-driven stories.
Forging an emotional connection with a buyer helps B2B businesses differentiate themselves. Feature lists, whitepapers, and webinars with partners can’t do that.
Alert marketers understand they have a competitive edge when they have an effective brand story packaged as a PR narrative. To be clear, that’s not the lengthy tale about how your company was founded; that’s a company narrative. A PR narrative is an external story that associates feelings with your company. It is told to audiences like analysts, partners, and customers.
Why Invest In a PR Narrative?
We all engage with stories and like to see ourselves in them.
No matter how loud your product team stomps their feet about what they created, nobody cares… until they learn how it benefits them—today and tomorrow.
“But competitor Y doesn’t have our innovative, disruptive, industry-leading, next gen, award-winning, bleeding edge, cutting edge, space-age, world-class, blah blah thing that drives/increases/scales/lifts/boosts revenue…”
Reporters, analysts, and prospects be like:
Contrary to popular belief, emotion is a huge factor in B2B purchases.
When vendors including SaaS companies make clients the characters in stories, they become more approachable and relatable to prospects. That’s why case studies, AKA customer success stories, work within inbound marketing strategies.
Brand stories perform well since they focus on the audience’s emotions and have a story arc. Told via case studies, a stage is set (a brand has a problem and is frustrated), character action occurs (brand chooses X vendor), and there’s resolution (vendor solves a problem for a brand). Remember to hit emotional triggers that drive your target market to action. These mini or long-form stories not only interest prospects but also journalists because they’re results-oriented and convey emotion.
PR is becoming a core part of the most innovative vendor’s marketing stack.
There’s a good chance your B2B company doesn’t excel at telling its brand story. You’re at a disadvantage.
To fix that, start by asking these 5 questions of yourself / your C-suite:
What does the market know about our company?
Does our company have a human touch?
Do prospects know the brands we support?
Do prospects understand how our services or products solve their challenges?
Does anyone know what our company stands for?
All of this can be solved by strategic, consistent PR efforts. A well-oiled PR program sets you apart from the pack and influences audiences while clearly explaining what you do.
So, how do vendors rock PR narratives and create intent?
Stop Making Sense
Let your soul glo. End the boring marketing, please.
B2B marketing has changed, yet most vendors look the same. They suffer from ‘bland identity’, a chronic condition of countless DTC brands too. When it comes to telling stories, vendors often over-index on data. They see media reference their data or reports and think volume is the answer. But data-driven storytelling is not engaging.
If a brand had a win thanks to your solution, there’s positive energy in the air. Where there is energy there is sometimes humor, hope, and things that appeal to buyer’s needs or wants.
Oh look, there are HUMAN EMOTIONS.
Using PR is an effective solution here because it:
Sets a narrative
Taps into the desires of human operators
Hooks audiences by relaying stories through third-parties
When vendors are playing the SEO game, mimicking lead gen efforts of enterprise companies, and sponsoring the same trade shows, brand storytelling via PR cuts through the noise.
Your task: Show me a 2021 feature story (not sponsored) about platform features.
Vendors Can Crack the Media Code
The number one thing vendors should do to produce media coverage is to tell humanizing stories. These are stories your prospects can relate to. Give data points a rest occasionally.
Like you and I, merchants enjoy learning how their peers approached and solved a pain point. This is why 9 times out of 10 retail reporters prefer to interview brands over vendors. Of course, this presents a challenge in how you, a vendor, can generate media coverage.
Here’s where I solve your challenge with a specific example and advice.
Stories that humanize vendors work, and they come in many forms. For example, how a business reacts to employees that want to work remotely could show empathy, and may garner media interest.
If after some Googling you find that what your company is doing to support employees is unique, you could have a story. In this case, you’re grabbing a news hook (work from home adjustments), and communicating how your company is doing things differently.
Why media may care is because when a business shows empathy, it hits the hearts of readers. When it happens, a company met us at a deeper level. Later, we might want to engage with that business because they made us feel a certain way about them.
Feelings + companies = good.
Swipe Right To Find Your PR Match
As luck would have it, you live in a time where there’s a PR specialist for every business type. If you’re wondering who can tell your brand story, look no further than communications pros who regularly extract press-worthy stories and angles, avoid writing fluff content, and lighten a client’s workload. The best ones:
Will challenge you
Respond in a timely fashion (I’ve heard of PR firms only responding on Tuesdays)
Subscribe to and read industry newsletters
Ask to review sales or brand decks
Present ideas to solve your awareness problems
After you find the right PR partner, the results should go beyond avoiding a crisis, adding to sales pipelines, talking to the press, increasing social media mentions, or landing feature stories. You have the right PR agency when you also get:
Honest feedback to pitches from journalists
The inside track on what media wants
New ways to get noticed
Emotional storytelling reaches every type of prospect in their buyer journey, no matter if they’re in the market for your solution now or not. I hope I made the case for you to develop, nail down, and tell your brand story through PR.
B2B marketers who try being, I don’t know, REAL, entertaining/informal/fun will connect with their target audiences on an emotional level.
It’s 2021, why should B2C marketers have all the fun?
If you dug this newsletter, tap the ♥️ under the title.
🛑 Was this useful? Give this newsletter a share, pls!
Connect with me on LinkedIn | Twitter
Follow my PR blog with archived content full of jargon-free advice.