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Go Deep

06 Jun 2021


B2B advertising has gone deep

Rational Business Value arguments and outcome based communications are being outperformed by a Personal Value approach. We now know audiences need more than the traditional ‘killer quote’ or ‘case study’ approach to be materially interested.

B2B advertising has gone emotional, and it’s got deep.

Business Value includes appeals to logic/reason in areas such as functional benefits [eg high performance, structure/order] and business outcomes [eg achieving business goals].

Whereas Personal Value includes emotional appeals in areas such as professional benefits [eg being a better leader, simplifying my life] social benefits [fitting in with colleagues, admiration from others], emotional benefits [eg confidence, excitement, happiness] and self image benefits [doing good for society, feelings of accomplishment] 1

And it turns out that Business Value has half the impact of Personal Value.

Research was conducted with 3000 B2B buyers across 36 brands in seven categories by CEB and Motista in partnership with Google 1 . To assess the relative impact of these two benefits categories, they analysed their lift on 14 commercial outcomes including consideration, purchase, premium payment, and advocacy. The data show that across this collection of commercial outcomes, personal value has twice as much impact as business value does. Not only do emotions matter in B2B buying, but they actually matter even more than logic and reason. This finding highlights a potentially untapped opportunity for marketers to reposition brands around personal value elements.

So, if we’re now in the business of communicating Personal Values, that puts us in the business of feelings. The one we really want to give? The FT Commercial Insights Team in Partnership with Gyro 2 have identified the feelings that move business forward. And it’s been labeled as ‘Confident Optimism’.

The confidence comes from demonstrating a track record of success, being an expert with vision, and being able to be focused and credible. The Optimism comes from the feeling of ‘being a brand I identify with’, via a cultural connection.

At Seven, we view a brand as a combination of Reputation and Culture. Reputation is the outcomes of your external brand management, Culture is the outcomes of your internal brand management. So achieving ‘Confident Optimism’, holistically, is a brand issue. Your reputation, the external components, relate to why your audiences would be confident toward you. Your culture, the internal components, relate to why audiences can feel optimistic toward you. And yes, they are clearly related.

Other related components in play to achieve ‘Confident Optimism’ are your words and pictures:

“Unless our words, concepts and ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out of the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about seven bits of information … Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.” 3

Reputation, culture, words, pictures: so, how deep is your B2B communications?

  • If the power of your brand proposition isn’t empowering your organisation
  • If your brand isn’t delivering new insights that deliver new ways to communicate
  • If rational arguments focused on business value are the default persuasion method of your organisation
  • If words are valued more than pictures

It’s time to use your communications to deepen the impact of perceived brand benefits on your commercial outcomes.

And, we can help.

Seven. Shape Change.

  1. From Promotion to Emotion © 2013 The Corporate Executive Board Company. p7
  2. The Feelings That Move Businesses Forward: FT Commercial Insights in Partnership with Gyro
  3. Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth