A bit of strategic creativity can result in B2B PR magic.
Selling to other businesses is usually all about getting to the heart of it: practical value. But that doesn’t mean your PR campaign can’t have a bit of heart. Or humor. Or both.
With a solid understanding of your buyer personas; strong, thoughtful messaging; and tying it all together with data and statistics, a well-executed PR campaign can win B2B startups big-name customers and clients in droves.
Below, eight examples of companies — from startups to household name corporations — pulling off top-notch PR campaigns.
1. Facebook’s Made In, Made For Vancouver
A “one-day hackathon,” as dubbed by the social media giant, recently drew 22 creatives from Vancouver ad agencies. Playing off its successful “Made In, Made For New York” event, Facebook collaborated with invited marketers to create engaging Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns, from conception to production.
In all, 27 creative assets — and increased familiarity with both platforms all around — were spawned.
The takeaway: Consider the end audience.
When promoting to businesses, see beyond your own engagement and interests. Consider their goals and desires, and make efforts to help them in those regards. Here, Facebook resonated with businesses by teaching them how to speak to their customers on its platforms.
2. Deloitte leads purposefully
B2B brands typically refrain from taking bold, values-focused stances. Generally, it’s thought that B2B buyers care only about the product and its practical value — not social values. And why take the risk of alienating customers, anyway?
Deloitte took such a risk that paid off with its Global Impact Report and the accompanying video.
Just as B2C consumers do, B2B buyers prefer to work with brands they feel share their core values. With strong thought leadership and social activism initiatives like this one, Deloitte has amassed over 3 million LinkedIn followers, who drive hundreds of thousands of views, on average, to its posts.
The takeaway: Don’t be afraid to take a stand in the B2B world.
Done right, you can earn positive attention from potential buyers with a values-focused campaign. Not every stance is highly controversial or alienating, and can be quite the opposite when well-calculated and inspiring.
3. Tudder — Tinder For Cows
Tudder was created as an engagement campaign for an online livestock trading platform, SellMyLivestock. After its launch in February, 2019, Tudder garnered extensive international mainstream media coverage, along with a wave of interest from agriculture and farming outlets.
The takeaway: Lean on humor, familiar concepts.
Putting a smile on customers’ faces is a prime strategy for encouraging engagement and instilling brand affinity. The joke will be doubly effective if focused around a familiar, popular concept or product.
4. Love, Little Rock
In 2017, Amazon was on the hunt for an HQ2 location. Little Rock, Arkansas — despite being much smaller and less populated than most other options — was in the mix.
Ultimately, Little Rock’s lack of an international airport, population over one million, and top-tier transport system ruled it out. Little Rock Regional Chamber, the company responsible for overseeing the city’s economic growth, admitted “it’s not you, it’s us” in a Washington Post ad disguised as an indignant breakup letter with the e-commerce giant. (Ironically, WP is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.) The message: We like Little Rock — with its wonderful workforce, bustling business climate, and high quality of life — just the way it is.
The cheeky letter garnered coverage from over 1,000 news and media outlets. Feeding off the letter’s success, spearheading creative agency Stone Ward began running targeted online ads featuring the letter. In total, under $80,000 was spent on the campaign.
The takeaway: When a successful creative ad campaign takes off, maximize your efforts by throwing fuel on the fire.
The WP ad got the party started and signaled potential. Subsequent ads squeezed every ounce out of the total possible exposure of the well-received campaign.
5. Drift’s human-focused PR/marketing strategy
It’s tough to make a splash in the highly competitive, saturated tech sector. In 2013, there were just 100 marketing technology companies globally. By 2019, the industry exploded to the tune of over 7,000 martech companies.
Founder David Cancel, looking for a key differentiator, set out to humanize his brand in a highly technical space. In a number of creative, human-oriented ways, Drift centers its PR and marketing messaging around its employees.
- The “Power User Spotlight” highlights a staff member and their role. This person is featured on the homepage, lending the brand a genuinely human face.
- Drift’s weekly podcast often touches on internal team functions, problems, and successes.
- On social media, Drift documents employee experiences.
- Drift produces internal narrative-focused articles featuring interviews with Cancel and other executives.
The takeaway: Never overlook bringing a human touch to your brand or campaign.
Especially in industries like B2B tech that often lack a human element, this strategy, when done right, can create major brand trust and affinity. In content marketing, showcase your human side — it’ll help customers relate and encourage them to connect.
6. Adobe shifts buyer perception with a content hub
When Adobe acquired Omniture, a marketing analytics company, it needed to broaden its identity beyond desktop publishing. And so it launched a savvy content marketing campaign targeting marketing leaders. Ideally, Omniture owned CMO.com, which Adobe rebranded as “CMO by Adobe” and, through curated, original content, turned it into a leading content marketing hub.
The takeaway: Create content that’s useful and relevant to your ICP (ideal customer persona).
Find out where your B2B buyers are consuming content, and meet them there. Even better: Meet them right on your own website by creating a wealth of content there, on your company blog.
7. Bosch Professional Neandertool to Millenitool
This campaign featured a series of humorous video and animated social media posts documenting the progress of humans and tools through the ages. It was especially successful on Facebook, where a single video generated over 137,000 views. The campaign won two awards at the 2018 B2B Marketing Awards including best limited-budget campaign, and was credited with “encouraging the next generation of Bosch users.”
The takeaway: It doesn’t take a massive budget to create awesome B2B content.
In 2020, Facebook video remains an exceptionally strong content type. Don’t let the space’s flashy, expertly produced multimedia features from major brands deter you from putting your content out there. Every great idea is worth sharing.
8. IBM teaches us about quantum computing
The major tech corporation partnered with Wired magazine to create fun, informative social media video content. In the video with over 5.3 million views, IBM’s Dr. Talia Gershon, senior manager of quantum research, explains quantum computing to a child, a teenager, an undergraduate student, a graduate student, and a professional. It was considered a major success in terms of brand exposure and practicing strong thought leadership.
The takeaway: Teach people what you know.
Not every PR/marketing/advertising initiative has to lead directly to sales, or even focus on your product. A best-practice for creating engaging, valuable content — and to increase brand exposure — is to inform your buyer and/or the general public about an interesting, important topic at the heart of your organization.