Finding the Right Tone for Your B2B Brand Voice

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

 While the broad tone taken by a B2C brand like Old Spice might not be for all B2B brands, that doesn't mean they should avoid humor completely.
While the broad tone taken by a B2C brand like Old Spice might not be for all B2B brands, that doesn’t mean they should avoid humor completely.

B2B brands that think their customers only make decisions based on logic, rather than emotion, are forgetting one very important fact: Their customers are humans, too.

This means that having a distinct brand voice is just as important for B2B brands as it is for their B2C counterparts. In B2B, marketers shouldn’t be afraid of trying creative that has a casual or clever tone. As Shannon Deep of Siegel + Gale writes on, it’s okay to be witty.

“It’s okay to slip in a clever turn of phrase or acknowledge an obvious irony, especially if you know that your audiences are already making the joke,” she writes. “Everyone appreciates humor—especially ‘insider’ humor—because it demonstrates a certain self-awareness that relates a business directly with its audience and it brings them closer emotionally because they feel like they’re in on the joke.”

Of course, there is a risk in using humor, because not everyone may like or appreciate your tone. Deep advises a light, witty touch, rather than going for the big yucks.

“While a B2C brand like Old Spice can lean hard into its surreal parody of hyper-masculinity to crack smiles, a B2B brand with a broader audience may want to stick to smart wordplay,” she says.

Relevancy is also crucial in creating a distinct B2B brand voice. But don’t try to get too trendy, Deep cautions. While a B2C brand aiming squarely at a millennial target might want to piggyback on the meme of the moment, a B2B might want to tread carefully in these waters.

“Nothing says insincere like a corporation forcing itself into a cultural moment, seemingly for its own gain,” she writes.

Many B2B brands are successfully injecting a strong voice into their marketing, to create a bond with their target audiences. The insurance brand Hiscox recently debuted the “I’mpossible” campaign to drive brand awareness, using profiles of small businesses that had successfully taken risks to give a personal face to their product.

Electronics component distributor Avnet took a similar approach in its recent rebranding, highlighting innovators it had helped on their creative journey.


Related Articles:

The Real Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing

Making B2C Connections With B2B Audiences

Avnet Branding Campaign Spotlights Creative Journey



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