It doesn’t wear its heart on its sleeve, and the businesses involved are rarely household names. So creativity is vitally important in B2B PR to generate awareness amongst press, says Sophie Naylor, Managing Director of Franklin Rae.
B2B PR is often seen as the poor cousin to consumer PR, which is perceived as gifting, glossy ad campaigns and glamorous events. It does help the consumer PR case that we’re all consumers, so we innately understand the conversations consumer brands are trying to have with us, whereas the majority of B2B is targeted at a different, specific audience. Consumer PR is the razzle-dazzle, it’s the red carpet of PR, it’s household names that your friends and family know, it’s seen as exciting, creative and engaging… Quite frankly B2B PR isn’t, it’s seen as dull graft.
Having worked on both sides of the fence, I feel qualified to say it’s wrong to think that creativity is absent from B2B PR, in many ways B2B PR requires more creativity. B2B PR is looking at a plain grey box, seeing its potential and using all the creative nous you have to get the grey box to become more than it is, to realise its potential.
B2B PR is all about lateral thinking, it’s working out where the kernel of inspiration is in client businesses, identifying who the client wants to engage with and why, and then using imagination and original thinking to create a PR map to get them there.
There is normally little or no brand narrative to leverage in B2B PR, often no packaging or visuals of the product to inspire. Often B2B businesses provide product and services that are conceptually complex, hard to articulate, and have been created to deliver a commercial benefit - they exist to solve problems, to improve efficiencies, to support better services and to drive commercial success. Crucially the purchase of a B2B service or product isn’t the end-game, the service/product is bought with ROI expectations. B2B PR is rarely a top ten summer beach read, but it’s not meant to be.
B2B PR requires an agile mind, it’s like a communications Tetris, you may have identified a route to press for a specific audience but now it’s about the storytelling itself which requires creativity, original ideas and imagination to engage. It’s about weaving PR magic – spinning the story to become compelling, exciting, current and meaningful, bringing it to life, changing the focus to suit audiences and always ensuring you can back it up with fact – all the while ensuring the PR is supporting the overall commercial objectives.
This work can really stretch the imagination; it embodies the essence of creativity. In B2B PR this is usually only one thread of the PR spectrum, other areas such as entering awards, attracting talent, managing financial results, shareholder communications, news announcements, maintaining an industry or press presence, all these need to work together to make the whole better than the sum of its parts.
So next time you pick up the business section, or see an unfamiliar company in the press, have a look to see if you can recognise the creativity, the PR craft that’s taken that B2B business out of the binary, given it colour and made that happen.
The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog is managed by b2b pr specialist Heather Baker, founder TopLine Comms, an inbound marketing and B2B content marketing agency and takes contribution from anyone sensible in the industry with something intelligent to say. Follow Heather on Twitter @TopLineFounder or contact her via email on [email protected].
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