3 Reasons B2B brands should aim for emotional storytelling

emotional storytelling
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‘A rational framework with no space  — at least or less space — for emotions.’

This is a much-believed formula most business-to-business marketers follow without really questioning it. Marketing driven by emotions is considered to be the something that belongs mainly business-to-customer (B2C) marketers, whereas B2B firms rely on logical strategies and appeals to reason.

That’s a mistake. Many research reports and renowned brands have proved that this conception doesn’t work anymore.

In fact, a number of established B2B brands have been infusing emotional storytelling in their content marketing for quite some time, and the results have been inspired. Brands like Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Motorola, and even Caterpillar are winning it by using emotional storytelling in every channel imaginable.

If those examples don’t convince you, here are three reasons to start talking about what kind of emotional storytelling will work — no matter what kind of company you are: 

1. The behavioral psychology of B2B customers has shifted

For decades, it has been taken for granted that B2B customers that their buying decisions are rational and are typically based on an analytic process which is void of emotion.

As the world has gone digital, however, the behavioral psychology of the B2B buyers have changed. Their buying process has become a cohesive procedure where they apply personal emotions in many different ways. While making a purchase, renewing a contract or going for sponsorship; they look for motivation and trust in the brands.

A research report from Google and CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council had data to back this up:

Of the hundreds of B2C brands studied, most have emotional connections with between 10% and 40% of consumers. Meanwhile, of the nine B2B brands studied, seven surpassed the 50% mark.

2. Emotions give more personal value to the B2B purchaser

A personal value in the business context refers to the professional, social and promotional benefits the B2B buyers look for. They prefer to choose a service provider who offers them scope for career advancement or make them feel a part of some social benefit.

As per Google and CEB research,

“B2B purchasers are almost 50% more likely to buy a product or service when they see personal value in it.”

This is the reason brands like Ernst & Young and Fruitful Office are developing a strong urge for emotional storytelling. Here’s a great example:

Source: Fruitful Office

3. A humanized approach works more efficiently in B2B brand building

We often miss the fact that it’s the people who form businesses and therefore, as with B2C branding, B2B marketing strategies deal should be a human-centered activity.

Your prospects, too, get excited, motivated or demotivated with your branding tactics. They don’t care about you if you don’t communicate with them in a way that creates sensory experiences for them.

Emotions, when applied with balance, give a human approach to your storytelling. Stories that are conveyed with a humanized touch instead of a pure robotic tone are more likely to give them reasons for trusting your services and solutions.

Of course, adding emotional elements to the B2B storytelling is a tricky job. Overplaying emotions can make you lose your prospects. Reliability, trust and a sense of partnership are the right emotions that need to be evoked. If this conversation hasn’t already started within your marketing team and other areas of the business, now is the time. Just don’t get too worked up if the reaction is a little mixed.  

Image Courtesy: Blue Mail Media

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Sudheer Kiran

Sudheer Kiran

Sudheer Kiran is a digital marketing consultant & co-founder of the digital marketing agency DigitalVow, which offers digital marketing services to small and medium-sized enterprises. He is passionate on covering topics like marketing, startups and entrepreneurship.
Sudheer Kiran

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