Industrial fans. Cloud storage. Cybersecurity. These are not the types of purchases that traditionally get a buyer’s heart beating faster, and they don’t typically involve blue-sky creative marketing concepts.
Marketing businesses of this type—what some might consider “boring” when compared to more emotion- and impulse-driven B2C businesses—can be tricky. They don’t typically lend themselves to humorous, delightful, or out-of-the-box marketing tactics.
But that’s not to say that the B2C brands get all the fun. There are some great examples of creative branding and campaigns that made B2B companies stand out.
Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Branding: Big Ass Fans
It’s always helpful in the B2B space if your company name tells prospective buyers what it is that you do. A Kentucky-based industrial fan distributor decided to do that in the most literal sense by describing precisely what the company deals in. As you might have guessed, most of the business going through Big Ass Fans is for really big industrial fans. While the name might alienate some more conservative buyers, it certainly can’t be disputed that the moniker is very, very memorable. Next time you need a big ass fan, you’re pretty much guaranteed to remember at least one supplier who specializes in exactly what you’re looking for. And just imagine the fun conversation you’ll get to have with your purchasing department!
2. Campaign: Marketo
Marketo certainly knows how to appeal to their target audience of marketers and creative professionals. Marketo released their Big Marketing Coloring Book that features wordsearches, mazes, dress-up games, a comic and even a crossword to keep marketers engaged. All you need to do to get the book—and a free set of crayons! —is to sign up with your name and email address. A brilliant way to get the Marketo name stuck in the minds of creative types.
3. Campaign: Bosch
It’s hard to humanize something as complex as robotics solutions for industry, but Bosch does a great job of doing just that in this video ad. Yes, Bosch says, they are brilliant thought leaders that build incredible stuff, but they have bad days at the office just like everyone else. This video is a fun play on the “exception that proves the rule” concept that will have you admiring the company for its humility and honesty.
4. Campaign: SunGard
If you’ve seen any zombie movies, you know that one thing that would be helpful during a zombie apocalypse is an infographic on how to survive it. SunGard put together a hilarious infographic that showed how to make it through the first few days of a zombie outbreak, cleverly drawing comparisons to their cloud-based solutions in the same campaign. Worth checking out even if you already have a masterplan for the apocalypse.
5. Campaign: Cisco Systems
Sometimes it helps to tell a story when you’re positioning your brand as a solution-provider. Cisco Systems took that concept one step further by creating a graphic novel to showcase their cybersecurity solutions. What better way to make the customer the superhero of the story than actually making a customer the hero of an original graphic novel. The campaign is long over, and the original art is hard to find now, but this classic campaign remains an excellent inspiration for a brand who is looking to inject some excitement into what they do.
How can your business learn from these ideas? While it might not be a great idea to change your name à la Big Ass Fans, there is certainly room for fun and creativity in the B2B space. It’s just a case of being brave, being bold, and understanding that a little bit of whimsy goes a long way when you’re selling “boring” goods and services.
At ADVAN design, we create memorable marketing campaigns for B2B businesses. Whether you’re looking for something out-of-the box, or a more traditional and reliable marketing strategy, we are here to help. Contact us or call us at 330.688.1324 to get a conversation started.
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