The disciplines and craft of journalism have changed corporate communications – for the better. New opportunities to cut through the noise and engage an audience abound, partly because so many companies still seem to believe that bragging about themselves in buzz words is the best way of making sure their target audience will understand the value of their brand.
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
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?
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
Recently, while visiting one of our customers in the UK, I saw a fascinating sign on a building next door to the customer’s own offices. I was struck by the boldness of the claim – particularly given how unimpressive the sign’s visual idea and execution was. The effect, in my mind, was to create something academics call cognitive dissonance. And that’s a certain something many B2B companies do all too often.
Surprising advice by Stuart Symington, CEO of Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) in South Africa. What’s he getting at? Something deeper than just peace and quiet in his daily life, I’m sure.
How many business meetings or professional discussions have you had where you’re left feeling frustrated at being talked at the entire time without the opportunity for discussion or reflection? How many times have you yourself done that to other people? Continue reading
Mark Hanley, president of Massachusetts-based consulting house I.T. Strategies, recently asked me for my opinion on the state of the market for printed brochures. Do printed sales materials have a future or are they on their way out? It’s a great question, and one which is brought up time and time again by marketers in meetings I attend.
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
I visit a lot of B2B companies in my work as a marketing advisor. Frankly, they don’t all leave a lasting impression. So, when I recently had the opportunity to visit a manufacturer by the name of Struers in an outlying area of Copenhagen, I wasn’t expecting to encounter anything other than yet another clean and tidy office building with an industrial feel to it.
As it turned out, I was quite wrong. And it was the company’s special take on “brand architecture” that really said it all.
In the coming years, we’re likely to see a lower influx of new recruits to the job market. It is also widely predicted that the financial crisis will likely decline before long. So the hunt for the best employees is about to begin!
As a consequence, employer branding has suddenly become a strategic focus for B2B companies. Many are already now starting to position themselves to grab their share of the scarce resource of the future: talented people. For that, a compelling employee value proposition (EVP) becomes very important. Continue reading
Knowledge-intensive B2B companies are a special breed. Unlike many simple consumer products that perform a straightforward function, their product offerings are often experts who can solve a wide variety of problems and take on greenfield challenges. Clearly communicating what the company can do, therefore, is difficult at best. Continue reading