Business to business doesn’t make much sense
thought leadership

It just doesn’t really.

It’s one person communicating with another person. They’re engaging in a conversation about something they think is worthwhile and are interested (hopefully) in paying money for it.

It’s business, but it’s just people.

The assumption that business to business is a functional exchange, a purely rational trade, a dehumanised moment is painfully outdated. Certainly, B2B buying tends to involve multiple stakeholders and is a decision made over a longer period of time. It’s a careful process, often a high-stakes decision, but is it simply a rational one?

Answer no. It’s deeply personal. It’s high risk, therefore high reward. It’s about empathy, diversity and engagement, because as we know: people respond to both rational and emotional communications.

According to data by Wunderman Thompson, when looking purely at the influence of emotional and rational factors in B2B buying decisions, 34% fell within the rational space, while emotional connections represented a full 66%. That’s almost exactly in line with B2C campaigns (32% rational, 68% emotional).

Spotify’s ‘A song for every CMO’ campaign is a great example of ingenious B2B creativity. They selected 14 of the world’s top class CMOs, from L’Oréal to Mastercard and Samsung and commissioned a bespoke song for each and a matching album cover. Why did they bother? Because digital audio represents less than 2% of total media spend and Spotify wanted a way to cut through. And they did that with a hyper-targeted, hyper-personalised approach that engaged key decision makers on an emotional level.

Breaking through the business to business preset norms and producing campaigns for brands that deliver creatively and with emotional connection isn’t easy to accomplish, and yet the acceleration of creative output in B2B spaces is happening.

Fact-focused formats are moving toward humour, emotion, storytelling and disruption. And emotional connection in B2B is better and more natural when it comes from a person as opposed to just a brand.

Take Perfect Pairings – a campaign by BRITA Professional to remind people in hospitality that even in the bleakest times, they have supportive shoulders to lean on. Sharing the real, human stories behind workplace Perfect Pairings was captured and shared on social channels, reaching more than 3.25M people. In the wake of #worldmentalhealthday, it’s a reminder that even in business, breaking stigmas and showing genuine humanity is what matters.

At the end of the day, there’s no real separation between business and consumer when it comes to understanding how the need for a brand, business, product or service can reveal itself.

People buy people after all.

by Clare Cooper, Director Business & Corporate, Speed