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Storytelling Archives - IntegratedB2B
Opinions, best practices and research into B2B marketing strategy and practices

Build a great B2B corporate website: a model for aligning strategy with content (part 2)

This second article of a two-part series discusses two of the four strategic pillars of building a B2B corporate website. In the first article, we looked at Strategy and Value Proposition. This time, we look at Brand and Offerings. Continue reading

Build a great B2B corporate website: a model for aligning strategy with content (part 1)

Align your website and company strategy

How often do your colleagues complain about your company’s website? Like many website managers of B2B companies, you’ve probably had conversations with people who are reluctant to use it in their daily business. It could be that it doesn’t truly reflect the company today. Or maybe the content doesn’t support the negotiations salespeople have with customers and the conversations Executive Management have with key stakeholders.

But that’s not how it’s meant to be. At the very least, the website needs to support the business; at best, it should drive business opportunities. So how can you achieve that?

As with any marketing or communications initiative, website planning involves some level of strategic planning. But rather than being an academic exercise, it must be a targeted, pragmatic approach that aligns your online presence with the company’s strategy, brand, offerings and value propositions – what I’ll call the four strategic pillars of the B2B company website.

Long before even beginning to consider a website structure and content, these four strategic pillars need to be defined and documented. Don’t leave a strategic stone unturned until you’re sure. Not only will you save time creating and building your website, but you’ll be confident that you’re making good decisions about architecture, design, usability and content. Indeed, this strategic planning will be the foundation for the website’s success.

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Not just another B2B case story

Does your B2B case story allow you to speak the truth?

How often have you read a B2B case story and thought that you’d seen it before, just from another supplier? Same old, same old.

I’ve seen it often. You realize that what you’re reading is another product brochure disguised as a customer case story.

I was recently involved in what could have been a very interesting story, covering the journey traveled by the company and customer. It was a journey describing a strong, long-standing relationship and the use of market-leading technology (sorry about the propaganda), careful attention to detail, and excellent customer service.

But, most interestingly, it also covered how the company solved unexpected challenges that arose during the implementation of the solution. Continue reading

An organization with 8000 leaders

Durban's CBD

There’s nothing like being forced out of your comfort zone to give you new ideas and inspiration. And what better way than rapid immersion in not just another business environment, but another culture?

This was the opportunity I was given on a recent visit to South Africa together with a group of business leaders from Denmark. Just a few hours after stepping off the long flight from Europe, we were released into Durban’s Central Business District. It’s a far cry from the sterile, grayscale business district of a northern European city. Colors and sounds line the pavements. People swarm over intersections, dodging the taxi vans, busses and occasional car. It’s an eclectic mix of cultures where urban dwellers dominate, but there are still plenty of people with obviously strong tribal roots.

For the next few hours, we explored the district, interacting with people to learn about their businesses and lives as best we could, sometimes in English, sometimes through an interpreter, and almost always with wild hand gestures. Continue reading

Inspire customer creativity with innovative case stories

B2B customer case stories follow a fairly simple format of explaining how a product or service solved a specific customer pain. But they don’t necessarily communicate that a company is innovative, or encourage customers to innovate with them. Yet there are good reasons why a repertoire of innovation-focused stories can draw in new customers or stimulate new ideas among existing ones. So why not use them to inspire innovation?

Showcasing novelty

Today’s markets are increasingly demanding evolution, not just adequate performance. And employees are being encouraged to seek out opportunities for incremental or radical innovation. In response, businesses could take the opportunity to highlight case stories about creativity involving their products or services. Continue reading

Lessons in leadership from the savannah

I had the privilege of spending four days in the South African bush recently. The occasion was a leadership development course together with a group of business leaders from Denmark. Although the purpose wasn’t leisure, for me as a wildlife junkie, there are certainly worse things to do than spend three hours a day on safari!

The course was facilitated by Pete, Mick and Steve from Leading with Humanity. Their mission was to force us to reflect on leadership in business through the power of nature. They knew we’d be put way outside of our comfort zones; that we would feel vulnerable and insecure. And they loved it!

But it’s not only the boundary-breaking exercises that make you take a close look at leadership behaviour. Even more telling was the immersion in nature. Witnessing the wild’s dilemmas first hand is a transcendental experience that reveals an honest reality. The competitive coexistence of the vast array of species in the bush is a worthy aspiration for all walks of life. Learning from it will surely benefit any leader’s performance. Continue reading

Telling B2B stories: Mention the war!

Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, British comedian John Cleese owes a small part of his fame to the phrase: “Don’t mention the war”. And I’m reminded of that phrase every time I hear a B2B marketing or communication department agonizing over what should or shouldn’t be said in the public arena.

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Is your company magazine a one-hit wonder?

Company magazines continue to consume a significant proportion of many B2B marketing budgets. Understandably so, as magazines can be a great way to profile the company’s achievements, internally and externally. But many companies have a long way to go before their content can easily be found and consumed online – that is, read, watched, listened to, or clicked on. No wonder it’s easy to question the business case for a magazine. Is it worth applying so much time and budget to a magazine if its long-term reach and impact is limited? Continue reading

Think you’re a good judge of people? Think again!

Think of a time when an employee or team member performed a task particularly poorly. Was your reaction harsh – or did you even punish them? They probably performed better next time, but don’t think you had anything to do with it. Here’s the proof from one of the world’s great thinkers! Continue reading

How to set up a company blog – and what NOT to do

blogger

B2B companies have had mixed experiences with blogs. In fact, we’ve seen countless blog deaths among our B2B clients. These unfortunate blogs were usually started by enthusiastic marketing departments keen to display a vibrant corporate culture—a more human side of the company—to stakeholders in an attempt to build trust and engagement. That’s a great aim, but there are many challenges and pitfalls Continue reading