Do B2B companies need a face?
Since the advent of Social Media, there is a growing move within B2B-centric businesses to act more like a person rather than just a company.
In an article entitled ‘From Promotion to Emotion’ by CEB and Google, based on survey responses from 3,000 B2B buyers across 36 brands and 7 categories, they use real life case studies and examples of how major B2B brands have invested a lot of time and effort into researching emotional buying behaviour of their customers in order to tailor their communications to be more personal and therefore more effective. Businesses that still talk in terms of features and benefits are losing to those who are able to better articulate, “why we do what we do” (going beyond the dollars).
B2B businesses that share their higher purpose are more likely to attract better talent, better talent creates a better brand (rinse & repeat!) The more progressive businesses are now structuring HR and Marketing teams to collaborate regularly and report into one company officer. Lincoln Financial Group, a firm based in the US, forged a formidable alliance between their Human Resources and Marketing teams. Together, the leadership teams successfully steered this venerable American brand out of the darkness of the recession and into one of the brightest success stories of the company’s century-plus history. They shared their success story at the Business Marketing Association conference in Chicago in 2014.
Whilst a charismatic leader can help to humanise their business, a company can activate many more advocates from within its team to share the good word: e.g. Maersk… “Maersk Line has 10 “official tweeters” (a panel of employees, including the chief commercial officer, a captain, head of anti-piracy and some business managers) who were taught the ways of the [social] network”, as a result Maersk Line, a pure B2B brand, has been more successful on Social media than a lot of large consumer brands like Coca-Cola!