As B2B brands continually refine their application of social media and content marketing, they are also beginning to experiment with, and excel at, brand storytelling.
So what is brand storytelling? It can broadly be defined as a content discipline within content marketing that extends beyond the facts and figures of products and services to larger company-wide themes, beliefs and promises. That’s a mouthful, and it’s one of many definitions available. But here are a couple reasons why brand storytelling works in B2B, along with a real-life brand story example.
- First of all, B2B buyers are human. While they may represent cost centers and business interests at the end of the day, they are still people – people who want to believe in and feel confident about their decisions. So brand storytelling is an opportunity to connect with customers on a personal level through anecdotes of obstacles overcome and aspirations achieved. Storytelling doesn’t replace business case facts or ROI in the selling process, but it can definitely reinforce them and motivate a prospect to action.
- Brand storytelling fits hand-in-glove with emerging media. Blogs, video and social media are the perfect medium for brand narratives both long and short and allow for engaging delivery of brand messaging. By utilizing these mediums, B2B marketers are also able to interact with prospects in terms of how they already like to consume media. And by offering up authentic brand content rather than a product sell, these marketers can also provide content that prospects actually want to engage with, rather than just another ad interruption.
And, finally here is a real life story to illustrate the power of brand storytelling. It’s an old story that most marketers have heard, but it’s been told so many times that it’s been elevated to the level of myth and legend for the brand in question. “Decades ago, an elderly man went to Nordstrom to return a set of tires. Nordstrom — an upscale retailer that sells mostly apparel, shoes and accessories — does not sell tires. The customer bought the tires at a tire store that had occupied the same space prior to Nordstrom moving in, so he was technically at the right place, just the wrong store. However, the manager, with little hesitation, allowed the customer to return the tires.” Nordstrom has utilized this story over the years to personify a key brand pillar of excellent customer service and a commitment to delighting current customers and to forging new relationships.