Time to give ‘uninspiring’ B2B content the human touch

Wildfire_PR_Emile resizedBusinesses are responsible for some of the best stories on the planet – everything from economic success and technological innovation to human triumph over adversity, and with such a rich vein of content to mine, business-to-business (B2B) communication should be a powerhouse of engagement and creativity.

But there’s a problem. If the stories are so great, why does the content in this space often fall flat? Even the acronym that defines our sector – B2B – is uninspiring.

The truth is, B2B comms is living up to its reputation of being dull, because it lacks the human touch. It focuses on ‘things’ rather than ‘people’. And, all too often, the focus is on creating content that can pass the internal review process rather than focusing on the most important people – our audience.

As a result, there’s a distinct lack of confidence among B2B creators in their ability – or even their right – to be creative. And it impacts the way B2B comms professionals see themselves.

B2B professionals crave creativity
For me, the first issue that needs to be addressed is perception. According to research published recently by our sister agency, Wildfire, two-thirds (68%) of B2B comms professionals agree that the B2C sector was ‘automatically more exciting’ than their own field.

This is worrying. If nothing else, this lack of professional self-esteem is not healthy and suggests that a majority of B2B comms professionals see themselves as ‘second best’ to their consumer cousins.

And yet, the survey also revealed a universal desire among these professionals to inject a hefty dose of creativity into their campaigns. Everyone (100%) who took part expressed a craving for more creative flair.

Looking at these two findings alone, there is an unhealthy, destructive tension that needs to be addressed.

Even more telling, though, is that three-quarters (78%) acknowledged that letting their creative juices flow isn’t just nice to have – it’s essential. While a similar number (76%) are convinced that the secret ingredient to a B2B campaign’s success lies in its creativity.

Excellence doesn’t have to equal expensive
So what’s the stumbling block? Clearly, part of the problem lies in the mindset. Which means the onus is on us as an industry to change that. But in many cases, it boils down to budget — or the absence of it.

According to Wildfire’s survey, cash constraints are a significant hurdle, with 30% of comms professionals confessing their creative ambitions are clipped by tight purses.

But simply throwing big budgets and crazy ideas at a project is no guarantee for success. Instead, what’s required is careful planning, though, and a cold, hard look to establish what is truly engaging to our audiences.

Which brings us neatly back to the ‘human touch’. After all, the people we’re trying to reach all have emotions, reactions, and an appetite to be surprised, delighted, and challenged. We’re not trying to communicate with and influence AI-automata – well, not yet.

For those willing to embrace a more human approach, there’s an opportunity to create more relatable, people-centric content. To breathe life back into the stories we tell and give them the oomph and sparkle that will make our audiences sit up, listen, and engage with our content.

Because business people are ‘people’ after all. So why don’t we start treating them as such when we communicate with them? After all, it’s not businesses that speak to businesses. Or businesses that buy from other businesses. It’s people.

That’s why it’s time to say goodbye to this lifeless, lacklustre approach and collectively breathe new life into B2B content. By adding relatable language and experienced voices to the stories we have to tell — and supporting them with details that will draw our audiences in — not only are we fulfilling our own potential as comms professionals, we’re also creating content that is more engaging. More personal. More human.

Emile Kronfli is creative director of KT2 and Wildfire

Print Friendly