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There is no need for B2B comms to be boring says Cathy White

I love doing B2B PR. Taking typically dry topics and finding a way to make them attractive to a specific market, is something I relish. It’s particularly exciting when the clients you’re representing are small, growing companies, that are looking to appeal to other businesses, often far larger than most of them will ever be. Finding a way to get an in with the right decision maker and taking more of a risk is half the thrill of working with startups. They have a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude not found in public companies.

Corporate creativity

But even for far larger companies, the way in which they use PR, doesn’t have to be boring! Creativity needs to be injected into corporate PR teams, to be more memorable, to attract an ever-changing breed of decision maker as new generations rise the ranks, and to try something different in a news agenda that’s getting far more crowded. Let’s do things differently and break away from the same tired corporate press release with statements that mean and say nothing of interest. Let’s add some juice and humanise the B2B world – because at the end of the day, that decision maker with a specific company title is still a person.

Now, if you’re a listed company, I can understand that you are naturally going to want to play everything safe. But even within this ‘safe’ world, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun! The first thing to do is to start from a position of ‘can’ and remove the word ‘can’t’.

Don’t play safe

If you’re fortunate enough to work with a team, create an environment that allows you to think and act differently to the norm. If your office is grey, drab, and boring, go somewhere bright, eclectic and fun. Moving into a different space can make a big difference on the mood of the team.

Start a conversation which goes a bit ‘whacky’. Lead a workshop based on a few core themes that are associated with what your business does. If your product helps people save time and cuts costs on the bottom line, then you’re boosting productivity, profit, and happiness. There’s a ‘reward’ to using your service. Remove the technical and salesy words we so often use, and focus on the words better associated with feeling.

Happy Talk

What could your company do if you just thought about the word “happy”?

Use simple words to start a conversation and get your team to share their thoughts on the craziest things you could do to get the attention of your customers, using the theme of happiness.

Doesn’t that already take you a giant leap away from a stuffy press release?

Consumer lens

When we think stunts, or big creative ideas, a lot of us can accidentally apply a consumer lens and think about ways big B2C brands have got national coverage for something crazy. You might not get national coverage, but a moment that gets your audience talking, sharing, and engaging with your brand, that is still applying creativity to a targeted business audience.

Have your team get together and think about ideas based on a theme. Put all those crazy ideas on a board. Then – from a position of can – upvote the ones you all like. Take five to ten ideas, and dedicate 20 minutes to each. Discuss them openly. Flow other ideas of of them. Go into more detail. After a couple of hours, you’ll naturally have some favourites. Take those key ideas, and flesh them out.

Leap barriers

Then think about the barriers to getting them done, and problem solve how you can work around them. In the end, you should have three to four ideas that are fully fleshed out, and ready for discussion at the next level.

Critically, you’ll have an engaged team. Your creativity will have been given a much-needed boost, and you might find that some of the ideas you move forward with are anything but dry.

Written by Cathy White, founder and director of CEW Communications

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