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It’s okay to have fun with content

Let’s face it, a lot of B2B brands are talking a good game when it comes to telling engaging stories, but very few are actually doing it.

Many have got caught in the trap of automatically adopting a dull, dry approach when marketing to businesses. And one too many are guilty of making their product the focus of the story, using tech speak over human language. Of course this is nothing new. There is a gravitational pull to play it safe out of fear, with fun ideas either never landing in the market or getting watered down as they go through the chain.

But marketing to the business community is completely different to consumer marketing, right? Wrong. You are marketing to humans.

Dry stories
Why is it that in B2B we seem to forget we’re communicating with people? Even though a lot of marketers recognise this flaw in their content marketing, many are still continuing to create and distribute dry stories that turn off audiences. Marketers need to craft emotionally engaging content that’s more energetic and colourful – it doesn’t need to be drab. But there are some shining examples of B2B brands doing this well. Here are some of my favourite examples of brands getting it right:

As a brand that’s about big data, mathematics, engineering and machinery, GE has regained popularity by reinventing itself as a true pioneer of turning dry subject matters into stories that many engage with and share.

How does the brand do it? It uses empathy to create some common ground, which is often missing, between the audience and these typically ‘boring’ subjects. Its Vine series, #6secondscience, was a challenging and innovative way of reaching and captivating new audiences for the brand. The fun but scientific clips gained huge popularity. For example, its video showing what happens when you combine milk, food colouring and a dish soap achieved a remarkable 130,000 likes, and was shared 105,000 times.

GE is also smart when it comes to hijacking viral content for its own exposure. It reaped the benefits of the hugely popular Ryan Gosling ‘Hey girl’ meme by replacing images of the actor with inventors to ignite curiosity and get their audience interested in them – something that probably wouldn’t have happened if the brand had opted for mundane, humourless content.

Brother UK
Another B2B brand that knows a thing or two about not taking itself seriously is Brother UK. The electronics and manufacturing company certainly doesn’t like to rest on its laurels, using spoof videos and comedy to achieve standout.

The brand is fully aware that it’s tough to get people excited about its labeling products, but this hasn’t stopped it stirring things up with its ‘Next time label it’ video, which sees a lighting technician send a circus performance into mayhem by pressing the wrong unlabelled buttons, causing a series of funny catastrophes. A well-written, humorous narrative can go a
long way in getting your audience on side.

Successful marketing
The Big Marketing Activity Colouring Book – a colouring book for adults – is Marketo’s attempt at injecting some silliness back into marketing while concurrently building its 

brand awareness.

Another often-referenced example is ‘The Epic Split’ video from Volvo Trucks featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, which demonstrates a brand making its content entertaining while showcasing the power of its products.

Even in the driest of industries, successful marketing can be entertaining. The best marketing can be fun to create and consume. Are you ready to have some fun?