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 Entrepreneur.com, 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.