Being B2B London: Shining a light on creativity and innovation in B2B PR and marketing
By Xanthe Vaughan Williams
Overlooking the Thames with views of St Paul’s and the London Eye, on Wednesday 25th May, the 10th floor of the Boodle Hatfield office was a buzz of activity as the first London Being B2B event took place. Supported by Better Bankside and ran and organised by Fourth Day PR, the event discussed what it means to be creative in B2B PR and marketing.
Fourth Day was joined by four excellent speakers, all experts in the field of B2B communications. Each speaker shared with the audience a B2B communications campaign that epitomised creativity and innovation. Below are the highlights of the event.
Stella Smith – The importance of a strong personal brand in the business world
Marketing and Business Development Director at law firm Boodle Hatfield, Stella Smith talked to us about how the lawyers at the company use LinkedIn to build strong personal profiles.
The lawyers use Pulse as a platform to share their expertise and knowledge. At lot of the articles are aimed at those with little legal know-how, and so offer useful tips and guidance for a wide range of matters. This has helped to bring the lawyers down to a more human level, making them more approachable and meaning that complicated subjects are easier to understand.
Another benefit of LinkedIn for the female lawyers especially is that when they take maternity leave, or are unable to attend a networking evening due to family commitments, LinkedIn is a really useful tool for “networking” on the go. They comment in groups, share articles etc. so are able to keep getting their name out there without actually being somewhere. But while this is excellent, it is not a substitute to face-to-face meetings/networking.
Adam Harper – Finding your audience – and no, that isn’t just everybody
Adam is the client solutions manager at B2B Marketing. His key message was that PR and marketing campaigns, whether B2B or consumer, should not try to target everyone but should instead focus on a small audience, treating business people as individuals.
Adam’s example was the communications campaign for Powwownow – a conference calling service. The company focused on one business region: London, and played on the dreaded London commute, using images of other commuters with clown masks.
Adam also put forward the theory that many B2B marketers slip too easily into marketing-speak, and forget they are addressing real people. He read aloud from the “about us” section from an anonymous company webpage and challenged the audience to guess what the company did. The following extract, not surprisingly, left us none the wiser.
Matt Hodkinson – White Papers, White Noise
With an abundance of whitepapers and ebooks currently swarming the internet, founder and CEO of Influence Agents, Matt, told us about a new approach to this that his company recently worked on.
His client was a data analysis company. Rather than sending out a whitepaper to a huge mailing list, they created a survey that analysed how well the responding business used data. This is useful in itself, but to make it more fun, after the user fills in the survey, they receive a data grade in the form of a dojo rating. So, if your use of data is low then your dojo ranking would be yellow. This is a fun way or asking people to respond to a survey, and they also get something out of it – the ranking is followed by tips and a call to action to download the whitepaper.
Using the judo ranking simply makes it more fun for the respondents. We might be in B2B but we are all still talking to people. Most of us want to do fun and entertaining things while at work – otherwise it just gets incredibly dull!
Matt’s final tip was that if you are going to put together a whitepaper or ebook make sure that its full of stats and figures – this is what people find the most interesting.
Sam Burne-James – Be fun (because that’s fun)
Sam is the news editor at PR Week. He talked us through three creative B2B communications campaigns.
- Allianz wanted to make European equities more fun so, playing on the idea of fantasy football, the company created a website for would-be fund managers to sign up to and create their own fantasy portfolio of European equities. Once registered, the user receives insights from market experts into each European economy to help them put together a top league team.
- Avast, a European software-security company, wanted to find out how much personal information was held on old smartphones. To do this, they simply purchased 20 smartphones from pawn shops across four US cities. Across these devices the company found more than 2,000 personal photos, emails, and text messages – PR story right there.
- In a mission to promote the benefits of the cloud without getting sucked into the endless pile of similar content, Heppenstall Consulting created an infographic that compared converting to the cloud with surviving a zombie apocalypse. This is a fun and different way of communicating a message that many other businesses were pushing.
With all of these examples, it is clear that that company first researched who it was they were talking to, then found a different way of communicating with those people to make it more interesting and memorable.
Xanthe is a co-founder and director of Fourth Day PR