Dispatch from ADWKSF: How to Tell Good B2B Stories and Make People Care

Three weeks ago marked the inaugural ADWKSF and of all the great free events, I was able to attend “Storytelling in Today’s Marketing World” at twofifteenmccann. The info-packed, 30-minute presentation was given by twofifteenmccann’s Director of Strategy, Gabrielle Tenaglia. As the title suggests, it was all about how to be a good storyteller—how to connect with your audience, drive behavior—and why the marketing industry is getting it wrong. Tenaglia showed us many examples of successful storytelling from twofifteenmccann’s portfolio. Unsurprisingly, almost every single example was B2C, except one: a TV ad for Workday targeting Fortune 500 CEOs. The ad is exciting, attention-grabbing, visceral. It’s like a window into another world—the emotional side of B2B. That B2B is emotional—even more than B2C—isn’t news. But it feels like the B2B world is just warming up to the idea that it’s not always about the business benefits—it’s also about the personal connection for the buyer. So it was really exciting to see an emotional B2B ad that didn’t just ask for your attention—it demanded it. When I left twofifteenmccann, I wondered how Tenaglia’s advice, which seemed very B2C-centric at the time, could be adapted for B2B marketing. So, without further ado, here are Tenaglia’s takeaways and tips for injecting emotion into your marketing and becoming a better storyteller. Takeaways 1. Our brains award pattern disruptions. When patterns are broken, our brains release dopamine. So breaking patterns helps people to remember you, your message, and your brand. 2. Decision-making is unconscious. Contrary to popular belief, humans are not rational creatures. We actually make decisions using the instant and emotional part of our brains—what Tenaglia called “Track 1” thinking. We use “Track 2,” the rational half, to justify our decisions long after we’ve already made them. 3. While companies want to increase trust and bonding with their customers, they’ve been going about it in the wrong way. Trust and bonding is a chemical process and it doesn’t happen if oxytocin isn’t released in the brain. So, to build up that bond with your customers, you need to make them feel that you understand them. Tips 1. Know your target audience. The standard customer profile just isn’t cutting it. You need to really dig in to what makes your customers tick, on a deep, emotional level. 2. Change the way you measure. Standard success metrics used in the industry are only half the story. There are many better (or complementary) measures for judging the efficacy of your marketing efforts. 3. Change how you tell stories. Audiences want to know that you get them—and they want you to make them care. So tell the kind of stories that will resonate with them as human beings. At the end of the day, we as B2B marketers are talking to people. And people love a good story that makes them feel. What are your B2B storytelling challenges? Do you think Tenaglia’s tips are useful? Tweet at us or leave a comment—we’d love to hear your opinion!   Illustration by Dustin McDavid
Sarah Wallace
Sarah Wallace
(Copywriter, Story Creator) A Marin-native, she claims commuting over the Golden Gate Bridge never gets old and loves the sunbaked smell of California in the summer. A graduate of Mills College and The University of Edinburgh, she has a shameless love for period dramas. She lives with her Scottish husband, a UI developer, in Marin.

Comments are closed.

« »