Emotional storytelling is what connects with an audience - corporate or not - and great stories derive from sensitivity and authenticity.
From the moment we’re born, our senses go into overload and we very quickly start learning from the movement and color around us. Then, in a matter of weeks, we start to respond to this visual stimulation – we recognize friendly faces with a smile or a shriek. This is the start of emotional sensitivity. Babies might not grasp particular emotions, but they respond in kind, with pure, honest, and authentic reactions.
As the years tick by, our visual and emotional shell builds up and somehow we seem to forget the power of authenticity in building productive relationships. This is particularly prevalent in the "suited" corporate world where many settle. For years this straight-laced world has bound up its brand building with visually bland, unemotional, and at times inauthentic content.
Many of these businesses’ senior executives may struggle to reconnect with their authentic, human side. But emotional storytelling is what connects with an audience – corporate or not – and great stories derive from sensitivity and authenticity.
Faced with this reality, B2B die-hards shouldn’t fear - there is a way to tell compelling stories in a corporate environment - we do it in our personal lives every day.
Consider this real-world example. Oracle Chat is a go-to support service we provide for our users. It’s a corporate service offering support and technical help, and running the chats are a team of highly dedicated, skilled experts. These experts also happen to be lovely, friendly people – see for yourself in their team "selfie." I bet seeing that photograph (visual) and their friendly expressions (emotional) has changed your view of Oracle Chat. This insight provides an authentic perspective that makes a corporate service easier to relate to. We’ve gone from providing a software service to a human experience.
This video shows how LinkedIn took the same idea one step further. Showing another side to LinkedIn’s executive team did wonders for the individuals interviewed, and went down extremely well with the network’s users.
We’ve also launching our "One Minute With…" series, to give our community the stories of people behind the Oracle brand. Crucially, there’s no mention of our services. It’s all about people, not products. This journey through authenticity is not always a smooth one for B2B brands, but it’s a necessary one if they are to leave bland corporate storytelling behind.
Take the trusty old white paper, which has long been used as a demand generation tool. It’s often people’s first touch point with a company, but they usually don’t fulfill their potential for visual, emotional, and authentic storytelling. Changing the way you serve white papers to your audience can make all the difference. That tweet is still a demand generation tool – but also a piece of helpful advice, physically showing me which page of the whitepaper I’d find most interesting.
Here is my mantra for creating truly compelling brand content:
Be honest: Remember that the customer has a huge amount of information at their fingertips, and failing to address or rectify difficult situations will do more harm than good
Be visual: Use multimedia content – videos, photos, blogs, events to make your communications stand out
Be authentic: When speaking to individuals, don’t be afraid of showing your personality, with emotive and friendly language
Be passionate: Don’t bore your audience with business-speak and use real-world examples to demonstrate your business proposition
Importantly, storytelling doesn’t have to be just about sharing personal stories from you and your team. It can be as simple as shaking up the content delivery a bit.
Simply stepping out of your suit and tapping back into your key, human reactions and responses could be the smart move that drags your B2B marketing materials out of the dark ages.
Image via Shutterstock.
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Kimberley Brind is global marketing executive and social strategist at Oracle. She is an accomplished and pragmatic goal orientated technology marketer with an entrepreneurial approach and more than 20 years international, strategic marketing, demand generation, and marketing communications experience.
Hong Kong, May 5-6, 2015
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