Storytelling in B2B

by Annie McIntyre /

People are natural-born storytellers, and have been for years. From drawings on cave walls, to The Iliad, to Harry Potter – stories have been a part of life since the beginning of language. But what’s that got to do with B2B marketing? Well, everything really. Read on to find out more.

Storytelling for education

Getting people to buy takes education, but education doesn’t need to be boring. You know your product is great, and you know there is a real need for it on the market – but how do you convince your customers? Tell them a story. Show them the problem they might not even know they have, reveal how you have helped others in the industry, and then describe how you can fix it for them. Of course, there will always be a place for technical brochures and specification flyers – but there is no point showing someone numbers, spreadsheets and costs until they have realised what is on offer and what it means to them. So, tell them a story with your company as the ‘happily ever after’.

Storytelling for emotion

We know it may sound wishy-washy but storytelling has the ability to appeal to both the head and the heart and, believe it or not, there is science behind its success. When the brain hears a story, its neurons fire in the same pattern as the brain of the person telling the story. This is known as ‘neural coupling’. In B2B communication, there is a tendency to think in terms of organisations rather than people but it’s important to remember that it is real people making these business decisions and, therefore, these connections are crucial.

A brand story that people can connect with makes it far easier to build trust and elicit positive responses, improving your reputation and bolstering relationships. The bigger the connection a person feels, the more attention they will give you and more information they will retain.

The future of storytelling

In the digital era, storytelling can take on a variety of different forms. Microstorytelling, for example, has increased significantly in recent years – with brands taking to Snapchat and Instagram stories to share quick snippets. These ‘microstories’ are often used to show what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ and give a quick insight into a brand’s personality. But while bite-size stories are becoming more commonplace, the role of long-form content is not lost. The most important thing is to ensure the right platform and content is selected to match your story – a picture may be worth a thousand words, but if you don’t have any pictures then make sure your words are strong enough to stand alone!

Storytelling can take a variety of forms, so it’s vital to remember that, while you may be using lots of different platforms to talk to lots of different people, there is only one story you should be telling – yours. Avoid ‘multiple-brand disorder’ by maintaining a consistent tone of voice so each ‘story’ reads like a chapter of the same book, weaving your brand’s personality and key values throughout.

Need help working out how to tell your story? Get in touch with the BDB team on +44 (0)161 925 4700.

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