Content and creative

My favo(u)rite game: Localising content for British and American audiences

In 1773, the Americans dumped 342 chests of British tea into the Boston Bay. In 1775, they thought they had seen the last of us when they sent our Red Coats home.  Yet, in 2019, they’re still speaking the Queen’s tongue…or are they?  While we may seem to speak the same language, the truth is that there are many surprising differences between British and American English and they are a powerful force in affecting meaning.

But you’re not a linguist – you’re a marketing specialist, a content wiz or perhaps social media influencer. So why should you care about the differences in British and American English? To put it simply: Content may be king, but Localisation is queen, and she rules with an iron fist. All marketers must learn to localise their content for British and American audiences.

This means that you need to adapt your messaging to the language requirements and cultural preferences of your intended audience. In truth, it’s the key to generating leads in cold marketing and a simple way to make an impact in a new market. Decide against localising, and you risk damaging your global brand. The last thing you ever want to do is break the connection between your audience and your marketing message.

For example, try telling an American that you’d be happy to discuss your offer in a fortnight’s time once they’re back from holiday, or that they can avoid the queue by filling in the timetable attached – pip them to the post, mate! Not that you would ever write either of those sentences, but you get my point – use the wrong dialect in your messaging and you’ll only succeed in confusing your audience.

To help you drive better marketing results, we’ve gathered the following comprehensive list of the differences between British and American English. Consider it your go-to-guide for localising your content with ease.

Looking to further improve your marketing results and performance? Check out how we achieve results at pace through agile marketing.

Charlotte FellowsMy favo(u)rite game: Localising content for British and American audiences
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The Power of Storytelling

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Storytelling. It’s an art and a powerful business tactic.

According to Robert McKee – author, lecturer and story consultant, 

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world” 

And he’s right. Stories, when told well, are capable of influencing your audience’s motivations, emotions and psychology. More so than brand linkage and logical persuasion techniques. They are more powerful than statistics, more compelling than business-case arguments and more memorable than facts. 

And whilst the B2B world has been met with resistance when it comes to adopting a more emotionally-driven form of marketing, evidence suggests that B2B businesses have much to gain from taking on a more humanised approach. 

Much of this resistance is based upon an assumption that the decision-making process of potential B2B clients and customers is analytical, slow and rational. B2C on the other hand are afforded the more emotionally evocative content – a style that suits the intuitive, involuntary and perceptual decision-making of your average consumer. But studies are beginning to show a different story… 

Whilst the buying cycle remains distinct for B2C vs B2B, the people you’re talking to are not so different. Put simply, business people are still people. They just happen to be at work. 

And just because they work doesn’t mean they suddenly enjoy being bombarded with emails after direct mail after LinkedIn InMail, littered with business lexicons, unnecessarily complex terminology and unexciting propositions.

People generally like to feel important, don’t like their time being wasted and love being entertained – regardless of being at work or chilling at home. But being entertained in the B2C world – Shetland pony moonwalking to Fleetwood Mac – and entertaining in the B2B arena are different kettles of fish entirely.

B2B storytelling in practice: 

Storytelling in B2B is about evoking the right emotion within a business remit. Rather than focusing on humour, nostalgia and sadness, conjure feelings of trust, reliability, credibility and a sense of partnership. Storytelling is particularly well placed when your offering or service is complex and hard to rationalise in a handful of words.

Hewitt Packard (HP) 2017 advert – featuring the rather sinister Christin Slater – is a fine example of the data / technology industry using storytelling to remove themselves from the overly techie language and imagery that often plague B2B campaigns. It’s bold, engaging, cinematic, it has B2C written all over it – but it works. 

It works because it has taken a run-of-the-mill subject matter and completely flipped it on its head. Rather than taking a predictable route, this 6-minute advert is fronted by a recognisable personality who leads you through a dark and witty narrative. It credits its audience with intelligence and lets them draw their own conclusion – making the content far more engaging and leaving the viewer feeling positive about their interaction. Brilliant. 

Making the individual feel positive about their engagement with your brand is paramount to making B2B storytelling work. Research from CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council and Google found that when B2B purchasers saw personal value or opportunity, they are almost 50% more likely to buy a product or service. They also conclusively showed that emotionally-led marketing is more effective at driving decision-making in B2B – more so than in B2C marketing. 

How do you start telling your story? 

Bright is the consultancy inspiring businesses to tell their story and communicate the right message at the right time to the right people. We specialise in bringing together strategy, content, communications and delivery to create tailored marketing programmes that drive sustained growth and support business leaders in delivering on their objectives.

We do this by completing an initial diagnostic of your business to measure your current marketing effectiveness. Depending on your business objectives and marketing maturity, we would recommend a messaging workshop to better understand who your target audience is, what their pain points are and what style of content will best resonate with them. We also explore your industry’s challenges, looking at how your product or service can help solve these challenges and building a story around these components to better engage with your audience.

Your story will drive growth and demand.

Your audience just haven’t heard it yet.

Get in touch to book a meeting and start telling your story today. 

Alexandra JefferiesThe Power of Storytelling
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Data…Data everywhere. What’s the right way to approach your reporting?

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Digital marketers are experiencing an “issue” at the moment. We have a substantial amount of data to analyse and use to our benefit. Definitely not a bad problem to have, as you would much rather have too much data than not enough.

Taking Google Analytics as an example, GA has a staggering 150 default metrics, which can be viewed through over 100 various dimensions. That is just the default settings, and does not include any advanced views, filters or implementations you may well want to setup.

Looking at social media, Facebook analytics exports a whopping seven spreadsheets with over ten columns of data, while Twitter analytics exports include up to forty columns of data.

That’s a lot of data to sift through! This can make it exceptionally difficult to choose one, or even a few, KPIs to really focus on.

You would think having access to such a wide range of data would make our marketing strategies easier, and this is generally true for larger companies who are able to outsource their data analysis to data science experts. These companies have indeed prospered, but the smaller businesses tend to struggle with where to start with this seemingly insurmountable mound of data.

In smaller businesses, resources tend to be much tighter and the luxury of spare time is sparse. The result of this is that employees don’t tend to digest the data, explore trends and ask questions. Instead, employees get into a routine of running the same reports over and over on a monthly basis, while not gaining much insight into what value the data at hand provides.

This is more common than not among small businesses, but there are steps and mindset changes one can take on to streamline your data reporting, to allow you more time to be inquisitive and find the value needed for your marketing strategies.

Marketing analytics is not rocket science, so don’t treat it as such.

Take A/B testing, also known as split-run testing, for example. It’s been around for what feels like decades now!

Have some ideas on how to improve your email? Go ahead and test it using various test buckets. Looks like our audience prefer our teal button more than our yellow button, great! How about our landing pages? Can we AB test our hero banner? Sure, why not. Let’s nail down what our audience responds best to.

Does A/B testing really represent how your customers respond generally, or just in that current moment they received your content? It’s difficult to tell and is why A/B testing can be so frustrating at times.

The results of the tests can often be inconclusive. Sometimes your test sample is too small to have a statistical weight behind it to make these difficult decisions. Other times, there are factors which are out of your control, that might influence your results, like a website loading speed issue.

The point here, is that A/B testing, or any other form of testing, may not yield the results for what works best from a marketing perspective. Having a controlled environment, like any scientific test, is paramount to obtaining an accurate depiction of your results. However, in Digital Marketing, controlled environments are few and far between.

These methods should not be discarded by any means, but we also need to be cautious when implementing them, because again, marketing is anything but a controlled environment.

Some metrics matter, others don’t.

Now back to those ridiculously large social media analytic reports. Here’s the honest truth: I rarely use even 50% of those metrics. Why?

Well, to begin with, it’s important you know what you are gaining value from when looking at these reports. Many metrics are just slight variations of themselves, or sometimes have very convoluted definitions as to what those metrics are. If they are too similar, or too vague I omit them from my report.

The fear of missing out is the real crux of the issue here. FOMO again.

Reporting on every metric available, due to fear of missing out on something, isn’t the best strategy, because it clouds the real valuable metrics. If a metric isn’t valuable, don’t use it, as it’s only going to make it more difficult for you to spot relevant trends in your data.

Just keep in mind that platforms like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, although they provide you with endless amounts of data to sift through, only you and your business can know what’s really important.

It’s about the ingredients, not the meal.

Before you start cooking up an analytics report, think about the value you are hoping to find in the data. Play devil’s advocate and ask yourself what results you would expect to see if your initial conclusions were wrong.

In doing this, you’ll be much better suited to finding patterns and trends you may not have spotted with your initial conclusion-based approach.

Stop searching for the right answers, and look for the right questions

Question yourself, your approach and your data regularly. If you feel you’re eventually questioning everything, don’t be overwhelmed. You’re doing it right.

The world is changing constantly, along with the platforms we use and HOW we use them. Your perceived concept of the “right answers” may be true one day, and wrong the next.

Keep adapting and be open to change.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned working with digital marketing data, it’s that you have to be a perpetual sceptic. Of the metrics, of your reporting, of yourself.

Sian HeaphyData…Data everywhere. What’s the right way to approach your reporting?
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8 Tips for creating (lots of) great content

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We’ve all been there, you hit the publish button in the morning and then spend the rest of the day waiting for likes, shares, leads and further accolades to come rolling in….and nothing.

Content is the cornerstone of any successful marketing campaign or program and it’s the fundamental way to educate your audience on your product or service.

However, creating noteworthy, memorable content can be daunting, even for the most experienced pro. 94% of B2B marketers say they use content in their marketing, do you know how many believe it’s effective? 42%…

Thankfully, we’ve got 8 easy tips anybody can use to create great, engaging and exciting content.

An editorial position will help to shape your name, tone of voice, visual identity and choice of content.

Over time, your audience will come to recognise your editorial position, and come to anticipate content with a certain approach or attitude, making it easier to trial new forms of content.  As competitors in your industry start to create quality content, it becomes harder to stand-out and stay present in your audiences’ head for a period of time. So it’s important that your editorial positioning is driven by the distinctive quality of your brand and a category or a specific genre.

When it comes to any form of content or copywriting, defining a tone of voice should be the first step in the process. But where do you start? First, it’s important to understand the difference between your channel tone and your overall voice. Still with me? Think of the example of singing – you only have one singing voice, but you can sing in a variety of different tones to deliver a different sound. Content creation is no different to this, your copy tone helps you define how you want your voice to be heard on each individual channel or platform.

While your content should have a cohesive and targeted message, it should also be adapted to its medium. Twitter is character-limited, for example, so the message you provide must be shorter and more concise. However, it can still carry the same type of message and information as your content used elsewhere. Keep your message consistent, and adapt as needed.

The successful implementation of any content strategy, or individual written piece, depends upon a crucial (and often overlooked) group of people – your content team. In the past, this team would either consist of a single person, or rigidly consist of account managers and creative copywriters. However, in order to create strategic and valuable content, you need a strategic and valuable team.

There are as many ways to structure a content team as there are teams themselves, so you need to build one that suits your business needs, whether that be a one-man show or a team of 20. But before you start hiring your ideal combination of strategists, writers, editors and coordinators, you first need to consider the possibilities you already have within your company, what they can share and how to engage them as part of your team.

Possibly the most adept framework for how you should think about your approach to content is the PESO (paid, earned, shared, owned) model, developed and championed by author and PR industry leader Gini Dietrich.

The method serves as a means of segmenting all the marketing channels at your disposal into discrete groups, looking if there are opportunities to integrate additional channels or sources into new or existing programs, highlighting any opportunities to re-purpose content you may already have. By re-purposing content, or freshening it up, you give yourself the opportunity to expand something that may have been a single idea, into a several new pieces, each tailored to a different audience.

There’s also no reason, if it’s of a high quality, that you shouldn’t take inspiration from your competitors and their content. It’s often hard to consistently come up with appealing articles or topics, and you can often find yourself repeating pieces – but not re-purposing them. Of course, it’s unwise to simply visit your competitor’s blog and start copying their strategy from the ground up. Instead, use their content strategy merely as inspiration or direction for your own. Find a way to put new twists on topics they’ve already covered, and think about what topics they haven’t covered.

Creating a publishing content can be time consuming and stressful work, so you need to be able to keep organised and be on top of every step in the process. The simplest way of doing this – create a content diary or plan. When you have a visible schedule you can commit to, the content process becomes a lot less daunting.

Creating a plan, calendar or diary allows you to keep track of everything you’re doing, and makes all the necessary information easily available to stakeholders.

It’s easy to get lost in detail when you’re in the heads-down process of content creation, so having a larger visioning session to create the calendar plus taking regular peeks at the calendar once it’s made can help bring your work into context.  And by planning your content in advance, you can prep and organise around any key dates that could influence your content. An effective diary or plan will also help with keeping your audience engaged by preventing your content from stagnating, or getting overly repetitive and random.

There’s no better way to drive sales leads and expand your brand visibility than by producing thoughtful original content. Yet as more and more companies start to hop on the content marketing bandwagon, it’s getting harder than ever to ensure that your brand stands out.

Producing reactive marketing content is a great way to ensure that your company’s thought leadership is generating interest. The idea itself is relatively simple: by capitalising on a newsworthy event, your content instantly becomes more clickable. There are a few drawbacks to an over-reliance on reactive marketing content – namely, the relevance of your posts inevitably withering with time – but, if used correctly, reactive content can achieve staggering results for your brand, chiefly in the following areas:

  • It helps your brand stay relevant
  • It helps you connect with customers
  • It extends the longevity of your other content

Is your content often delivered late?  Do you have trouble getting it signed-off? If so, then it sounds like you could benefit from defining a content workflow; a set of tasks that determine how content is requested, sourced, reviewed, approved and delivered. Trying to get by without such a process will lead to you running the risk of projects getting stuck and people being unsure or unaware of their responsibilities and the amount of time that it may take to complete a task.

A defined content workflow tells people in all roles where the content is in the process when their turn comes, and it clarifies what they must do to deliver what’s needed when it’s needed. The workflow will also help the project manager recognise bottlenecks so that he or she can take measures to keep content moving toward production and ensure that sign-off matches required deadlines.

If you don’t know your audience and what they want, then no form of marketing (content included) is going to work for you. Take the time to listen to your audience (perhaps building personas) and what they’re telling you based on how they interact/ engage with your content. This kind of information is a goldmine, and who wouldn’t want to dig into a goldmine when they find one.

This kind of analysis is key to any content strategy, it allows you to discover gaps, identify new opportunities, adapt to the needs and desires of your market and discover if your content is truly addressing those needs.

Even if you follow all these tips, it’s still crucial to remember that content marketing isn’t a short-term investment. One you get it right, it will really pay-off, you just need to be willing to put the time and effort into it.

If you’d like any more advice about creating content, the type that will build revenue and drive relationships, then simply contact a member of the Bright team and we can get started an approach that works for you and your audience.

Charlotte Fellows8 Tips for creating (lots of) great content
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Six ways to increase your twitter following

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If used correctly, Twitter can be an influential tool for businesses. It can generate leads, enhance branding, and help you to form connections with potential clients or people relevant to your company, within your field. For all of this to happen though, you need to build up your followers.

Some B2B businesses suggest Twitter isn’t worth a company’s time and effort but Kelly Jo Horton’s article 10 Things B2B Marketers Should Be doing On Twitter discusses a study of 500 adults who follow small and medium sized business on Twitter that discovered:

72% of followers are more likely to buy something from a business they follow.

86% of followers are more likely to visit a business if a friend recommends it.

86% of followers feel more connected with business after following them.

With these results in mind, it’s easy to argue that Twitter is a useful tool to add into the B2B marketing mix. Here are six ways to quickly and simply increase your Twitter following.

Follow more people

This may seem obvious, but you might be surprised by how many people just expect others to follow them automatically. It’s a simple equation: The more people you follow; the more people will follow you back. Plus, more people will learn about your business. Even if they don’t follow back, they now know about you.

Optimise your Twitter bio

Users want to know who you are and what you’re about. They want to know what type of content you will be adding to their feed. Keep it simple, professional and ensure it fully represents your businesses.

Join a Twitter chat

Twitter chats are relatively new, but they can be very effective at finding relevant people to follow and communicate with within your industry. They allow you to learn new things and even show off your expertise. If you’re interested in learning more, why not check out The top 13 Twitter Chats for B2B professionals.  

Follow users who follow your followers

Your followers are interested in your content. Therefore, there is a high chance that their followers will be too. So why not follow them?

You can do this manually, but it can take time, so you can also invest in a range of tools which can quickly do this for you. Tweepi is just one example. For a small fee a month, it will search for followers interested in your topic and engage with users by mentioning them in posts.

This can be a lot quicker than doing it manually and, especially if you work in a fast pace environment, it can be a life saver. Tweepi offers a free package for first time users.

Time relevant content

There is a lot of pressure today to relentlessly come up with ideas that result in interesting content. Twitter also helps in this area, as news breaks on Twitter. To achieve great results with your content you need to be able to embrace in an agile way. Don’t stick to a strict plan of content. Respond, engage and adapt to the latest trends and topics on a day to day basics.

Clean out your list!

It may sound silly but it is important. If the number of people that you follow is higher than the number of people that follow you, then it’s time to clean out your list!

This means getting rid of old accounts, and making sure the ones you follow are actually still active/relevant. If they haven’t tweeted in over three months, I would advise you to unfollow. If you have followed an account which is not relevant to your industry, unfollow them. They are no use to you.

Overall, clearing out your list means getting rid of anyone who hasn’t or won’t take interest in your content. It’s also a good idea to unfollow anyone who hasn’t bothered to follow you back after a notice period of about three weeks. If they don’t want you, you don’t want them.

Once you’ve finished, look for new people that may be of interest and follow them. But try and keep the number of followers you have, higher than the number of accounts that you are following.

To summarise my top six tips that will help you to maximise your Twitter following:

  1. Tweet a lot
  2. Follow relevant accounts
  3. Use great content
  4. Unfollow when needed
  5. Time relevant content
  6. Be active.

It won’t take long and will make a big difference. Twitter has been proven to be an extremely useful tool for B2B marketers, so don’t miss out on it.

Contact the Bright Team to see how we can help you to further optimise your social channels for best results.

Zoe MerchantSix ways to increase your twitter following
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With social media, let’s take over the world

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Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight? Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky – try to take over the world!

This could be a typical conversation between two B2C marketers, anywhere in the world, who are primed and ready to use every weapon at their disposal to reach their audience. This is pretty much what the likes of Coca-Cola, Nike and other giant consumer brands have done –– taken over the world.

But what if this could also be true for B2B companies? You’re probably not buying it – so let me explain.

Since the emergence of Social Media channels, some B2B companies have spotted the opportunity to reach their audiences – LinkedIn, SlideShare and Twitter are examples of where B2B brands have begun to take the space. There seems to be an unwritten agreement that only the so-called “professional” Social Media channels are valuable or – fit for purpose – for B2B brands.

Although this statement probably held some weight when B2B content was limited to serious content, we certainly have the right to challenge this status-quo and question its validity.

Bring your audience where you want them to be

Most people will tell you that you need to be where your audience is, but it is equally important to be able to take your audience to places that they haven’t yet been. On the so-called professional Social Media channels, you can find both serious and story-telling content. But why not use non-professional Social Media channels as a chance to connect with customers on a deeper emotional level?

Many of us would be annoyed by a B2B white paper pop-up promotion on Facebook or a 6 second salesy B2B promotional video on Instagram. But that does not mean that we cannot use these channels to offer something different, something fitting, to connect with the audiences accessing these platforms. It is not to say that we should all-together abandon the so-called professional platforms – but we should complement them with other social media channels. The end goal is to create a strategy that encourages the creation of a personalised digital ecosystem, to further fulfil economic and branded goals.

This no doubt comes with great challenges for B2B companies because you will need to have a pretty strong Social Media strategy to do so. But some socalled “un-sexy B2B industries” have already succeeded.

Social Media is like playing Jazz

Maersk is one of the best examples of a successful brand on social media. Jonathan Wichmann, the Social Media leader has managed to make the shipping industry ‘sexy’ and has created a very strong brand. They have created a fine balance juggling between professional and non-professional platforms, to create different experiences for different audiences. And to avoid straying into the territory of dry, boring and safe posts on Social Media, remember his quote:

“As a jazz musician you respond to the moment and the vibe. Great jazz musicians play a new version every time. You get closer to the audience. Continuing the jazz analogy: There is a lot of improvisation in it. You just need a clearly defined structure. You must not try to control it just as you cannot control the rhythm of jazz. It evolves with the situation and the audience’s feedback, like the most advanced kind of rhythmical music.”

Zoe MerchantWith social media, let’s take over the world
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The digital crusade

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The digital revolution may be over, but the evolution has just begun. With B2B lagging behind on the communication front, the potential for exploration is without boundaries. Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to target and analyse the impact of campaigns in extreme detail. However, approaching digital channels solely from Marketing and Commercial angles is not enough.

As Google stated a few years ago in their B2B research: in a competitive environment with more and more mature B2B customers, the companies to come out on top will be those that put in the ground work to secure the status of their B2B brand. The brand is the competitive advantage. B2B customers will pay a lot more attention to you if you are more than just another name and logo – the symbolic meaning behind being a brand really is key. The digital era has opened up endless ways for companies to reach out and communicate with their public, and B2B companies need to see this as an opportunity to build and strengthen their brand.

The B2B game has changed

The days when B2B relied upon a utilitarian image, centred on a basic website, a few press releases here and there, and the usual trade show outings, should be long gone. However, it doesn’t take a lot of Googling to discover that a worrying number of big brands have yet to get the memo. It’s time to experiment and to create a universe of experience for customers through the provision of both serious content and brand narrative.

Using digital streams (to create a brand) will allow you to provide tailored brand experiences, and to create a strong relationship with your customer. Your strategy should allow digital channels to complement one another, and for content to be distilled to the audience in a way that is right for the channel. Your strategy should also help to provide a brand experience that connects the online and offline worlds. Successfully doing this will create interactions and synergies that become sources of added value for your users. So, the objective is this: to put customers and prospects at the heart of your brand.

Learn more about “The B2B Brand: The Great Forgotten”

Zoe MerchantThe digital crusade
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The B2B brand: The great forgotten

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First things first, you might be wondering why you should bother spending your time reading this pretty long piece on the importance of brand value for B2B companies. And to be fair, that’s a pretty good question!

I am not an academic, and we all know that there are already tonnes of articles and white papers on the subject. That being said, I have mostly worked with B2B companies from the very start of my career, and I would like to use this opportunity to address a point that I think a lot of B2B businesses keep on missing.

Over the past 40 years, we have seen the continued introduction of new definitions for the concept of the ‘brand’; each one another attempt to best capture its essence. Sometimes we connect to a definition intuitively, and immediately identify with their ethos. Other times we’d like to give whoever coined it a short sharp shake. Either way, they all are ultimately useful in keeping us on our toes – and encouraging a healthy level of debate.

We instantly recognise the brand concept when we think about huge B2C companies like Nike or Apple – but can we do the same with B2B companies? B2B brands have not yet all reached the same level of maturity in marketing terms. Whilst some have a strong reputation, thanks to some serious investment in strong communication campaigns, others are struggling to break away and create their own space. Niche market specialists are often all together too silent, or their efforts are not targeted, which is like herding cats.

Whilst the Marketing and Communications function has long since been considered a highly standardised and essential cog in the B2C world, this couldn’t be further from the truth for B2B companies.

Imagine for a second that someone asked you for your definition of a B2B brand and you answered: “something that captures a sense of brand identity, reputation and value in a business to business relationship”. You would probably be met with a blank look or a sorry smile. If we are being totally honest, most of us would most likely reply with something like: “ something to do with a product in a trade exchange between two companies?” and leave it at that. Communication is still often seen purely as a cost, whilst marketing is virtually non-existent, and far too unprofessional when it comes to anything that isn’t product related. At a time when traditional economic patterns are being challenged, B2B companies need to start seeing their brand as a key asset for success. They should constantly be on the look out for new, more effective, creative and measurable tools to help push their brands.

Today’s customer has changed drastically. They are increasingly demanding, critical and disloyal. They juggle between smartphones, tablets and laptops and have access to a lot more information than we had 10 years ago. Nowadays, it is the customer who calls the shots and decides where, when and how things happen – whether you like it or not! Are B2B customers really that different from B2C customers? Does this shift in behaviour effect B2B companies the same way it does B2C brands? Are B2B companies in a weaker position to respond to this increasingly exacting customer?

B2C customers are often understood as a group of sensitive, cognitive, affective and sophisticated individuals; interesting yet complex to comprehend. However, in many people’s minds, the B2B customer is not even human – more like a robot programmed to make rational choices.

Enough with the caricature! If you truly believe that for some reason, a superior power removed the B2B customer of all emotion, and that they are individuals free from neuroses unlike the rest of us, then expect to receive that sorry smile from me! Of course, B2C and B2B customers are different in some ways, but to disregard the role that emotion plays in influencing B2B purchasing behaviour is just absurd. Thankfully, the myth of the unfeeling B2B consumer is slowly crumbling, and the emotional aspect of the decision making process is becoming more widely acknowledged. B2B companies such as IBM, Maersk and General Electric are at the forefront of their brand building missions, but most B2B companies still have some way to go.

Emotions are what organise our thoughts and effect our judgements and decisions. In the land of B2C, many marketers understand that emotions often trigger the urge to buy. Through their communications, they rouse emotional responses in the right hemisphere of the brain. They play on feelings of fear, love, desire, guilt, pride or even a sense of exclusivity.

When we decide to buy a new product, we are motivated by both rational and irrational choices, with the latter, (often but not always) the dominant impulse. This is why some of the best forms of communication are the ones that touch the heart and not the brain – they create an emotional need and stimulate a logical and rational justification. Put simply, it is important to understand that emotions trigger the consumer affective state, adding to the potential creation of a positive attitude towards your brand.

In B2B, we’re currently facing a growing homogenisation of offerings and customers. Unless you are a specialist in a niche market, it is increasingly difficult to compete solely on quality, price and delivery. There’s now a need to find another level on which to compete – and communication is one of the unexploited arenas in which B2B companies should prepare to do battle.

Zoe MerchantThe B2B brand: The great forgotten
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The power of content

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Interruptions are infuriating. There are only so many times that you can demand your audience’s attention and persuade someone to buy a product, consider a service, read more, click here…or whatever your call to action may be.

Since you only get a few chances (if that!) to connect, producing relevant content that brings value to its readers is key to engaging with them.

Positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry is essential for establishing trust, proving authority, building awareness, and, ultimately, on market share.

But how do you go about creating killer content that will set you apart from the rest?

Be a giver

“The paradox is the more info you give away; the more people will buy what you have to give.”

Brian Clark hit’s the nail on the head. Your reader must feel like he or she has something to gain – or else they’ll quickly disengage.

Show them your unique perspective. Teach them something they didn’t know. Give advice that they can act on.

Business leaders want to learn before they invest, so set out to inform your audience – not to pitch to it. This not only shows that you know your stuff, but establishes an association between you and added value.

Be readable

This is obviously essential – but often overlooked. Your content has to be effortlessly digested, if is to pack a punch.

Be clear. Be concise. Be compelling. Make sure it is easy to absorb:

• Utilise bullet points (see what I did there?)
• Use images to break up the text
• Bold key words so that they stand out
• Look at the typography and font size
• Consider column width
• Think about colour
• How are the lines spaced?
• Where will your ‘call to action’ go?

It is important that your content is, not only readable, but also usable. Make it interactive by including links – both to other areas of your own site and to relevant third party content if this applies.

Incidentally, there is more on how to write better copy.

Sharing is caring

So, you’ve written something tremendous? In today’s world (where cat videos go viral in minutes) you need to ensure that your content is shareable.

Integrate social sharing tools to make it is easy for your reader to spread the word – your word.

All you need is a button, for example, that allows your reader to tweet your content with one click of the mouse. There are a ton of tools out there to help you to encourage others to promote your work. Help them to help you.

Think SEO

Not only do you want to enable someone to share your stuff – you also want others to be able to stumble upon it.

To boost your search engine ranking, and help readers find your content online, you will need to assign it at least one strong key word. You will then need to optimise your content, and its metadata, for your chosen terms.

This might involve doing some initial key word research (again, there are several tools to help you with this) but it will pay dividends in the end.

Read more on the do’s and don’ts of SEO.

Build a strategy

Yes, you can write something that will rock your reader’s world, but it’s what you do with your content that really counts:

• How is it distributed? Through which channels, on what devices, and in what form?
• To whom is it delivered?
• Where is it hosted?
• How regularly is it updated?
• Is it consistent?
• Is it relevant?
• Is it current – and how do you plan to keep pace with hot topics?
• What is the overall objective?
• Who is going to follow up – and how?

How you promote your content is truly essential – or your words may fall on deaf ears. If it’s searchable, shareable, and you’re shouting about it, you have a powerful weapon at your disposal.

At Bright Innovation we believe that if you get your content marketing right, it will speak for itself, and help you to build the relationships that will ultimately drive revenue.

If you’d like to talk about the kind of approach that might work for you, contact a member of the Bright team!

Charlotte FellowsThe power of content
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