Getting Emotional About B2B

how B2B brands can stand out and make deeper connections with your audiences

B2C marketing is all about making an emotional connection with your audience. Brands from beer and shoes to cosmetics and life insurance have looked deep into their customers’ profiles to engage, connect and inspire prospects to use their brands.

Stand Out from the Crowd

In the world of B2B advertising, marketers often sacrifice an opportunity for an emotional connection in order to communicate a business value (durability, customer service, pricing). Marketers tend to forget that B2B customers are also living, breathing humans living in a B2C (Business to Consumer) world. And while B2B marketers do need to consider the practical needs of their business, showcasing their brand’s personal value is imperative to standing out among the crowd.

From Promotion to Emotion,” a white paper from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) in partnership with Google, supports the view that business value can be limiting. Sure, it can get a brand into a buyer’s consideration set, but it doesn’t help the brand stand out. What does? Incorporating emotional appeals like professional benefits (being a better leader), social benefits (admiration and respect from colleagues) and self-image benefits (making the workplace better or safer) can make all the difference. Even better, according to the CEB/Google study, a personal touch also increases purchase intent since buyers who see a personal value are 3x as likely to purchase and 7x as likely to pay a higher price than those customers who only see a business value.

Find Your Brand's Personal Value

To find your brand’s personal value, you need to first uncover your buyer’s pain points and professional and personal needs. By leveraging these unique insights, you can create a brand message that elicits a powerful, emotional response.

To begin uncovering a brand’s unique personality, start with developing personas or ethnographies. Conduct proprietary research (like our Mindscan analysis) to fill in gaps in knowledge. And sometimes the magic is hiding in plain sight, beneath the features and benefits that just needed to be translated.

One of our clients, a national manufacturer of locks, safes and security products, offers a line of industrial locks that secure large machinery when it needs to be maintained or serviced. The company can (and does) promote the line’s durability, how it’s designed exclusively for safety and how it helps organizations be compliant with OSHA standards. But part of the messaging also communicates perhaps the ultimate reason why a safety engineer should want the best safety lock they can buy. And it’s not the price, or the materials or the design. It’s the peace of mind knowing they’ve done everything they can to send their co-workers home safe every night. That’s the slap-in-the face simplicity of personal value – the communication of an undeniable truth.

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to define your brand’s personal value. In doing so, you may find it’s the secret sauce that can take your B2B marketing efforts to new heights.

For more tips and insights on how to take your marketing from now to next, subscribe to our newsletter or contact Nicole Stone – Senior Vice President, Business Development at or 414.270.7235.

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