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B2B with a B2C mentality: Powwownow’s horrifying award win

Simon Prince, marketing director at Powwownow, saw his team’s horror film-inspired campaign win best use of creative at last year’s B2B Awards. I spoke to him to find out what they took from the world of B2C and why they think B2B-ers have to work that much harder for success

You won best use of creative at last year’s B2B Awards. What was it about the campaign that stood out?

The campaign focused on the horror of commuting to meetings; we borrowed a lot in terms of creative from the horror genre and tied to create a pastiche campaign. Sometimes when you’re on the train during rush hour it can feel like you’re stuck in some kind of horror film, so the campaign was a pastiche of this, designed to question why we do this and promote the alternatives. The creative was put together by an agency and there was a decent budget behind it.

What did the award win mean?

It was great! What we always try and do here is approach marketing in a B2B way but with a B2C mentality. With this campaign, we were doing things that aren’t the norm in the industry – we were looking at people on a human level and trying to connect with them emotionally through humour. I think that’s one of the reasons the campaign stood out – and ultimately it delivered a very good ROI. It ticked boxes from both a commercial and creative point of view.

What did winning mean to you as a team?

It’s lovely recognition and it’s great to be celebrated by your peers. It also enables us, as part of a global organisation, to promote our best-in-class marketing ideas to a wider audience, knowing that we have the commercial and award success to stand behind. 

What have been the benefits of an award win?

The win has been a huge source of pride within the team and wider company and is the new benchmark of how we aim to deliver our campaigns. It has also enabled our managed account team to talk about award-winning creative and given them that little bit more cut-through when engaging with customers. 

And why are the B2B Awards worth entering?

Just look at the companies you’re up against – there are some huge names there and everyone takes it very seriously. We may not be the ‘cool’ B2C world but we operate within a space with lot of constraints and so have to be that bit cleverer in the way we think and operate.

Will you be submitting entries again this year?

Absolutely. We’re submitting again for best use of creative, best use of content, best use of social media and best use of thought leadership.

Any advice for people wanting to come out on top?

Give the right evidence to show success, don’t rush it and make sure you’re talking about the commercial value of your campaign as well as the creative.