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Creativity in B2B PR…what the data tells us

Earlier this month, I worked with my team at Wildfire to launch its first major study into B2B creativity. Calling on a survey of 150 comms pros, it looks at the state of creativity in B2B, attitudes towards creative campaigns, and the common hurdles that PR and comms professionals have to overcome.

While I would obviously encourage you all to go and read the full report, I thought I’d use this article to share an overview of the key insights and what they might mean for your own campaigns.

1. B2B PRs believe in the power of creativity

The clear consensus among B2B PR and comms professionals is that creativity matters.

Nearly three-quarters (71%) agree that the most effective B2B campaigns are those with a creative element. Many even draw a direct correlation, with 76% saying that the more creative a B2B campaign is, the more effective it becomes.

But while I’ve seen some great examples of creative B2B campaigns, there’s still a resounding perception that creativity is only for consumer brands or those with the biggest budgets.

Wildfire

2. But PRs are falling back on the same old tactics

Out of the 150 comms professionals surveyed, 100% agreed that they want to be more creative in their campaigns in future. And yet, 80% admit to falling back on the same handful of tactics they’ve relied on for years.

More than two thirds (70%) said they haven’t experimented with anything new in the last 12 months, while 75% admit their campaigns are “essentially the same” as their competitors’. Clearly, something is standing in their way.

Wildfire

3. Creative proposals are regularly blocked

Despite wanting to do more creative work, 75% of B2B comms professionals have had a recent creative proposal rejected by their organisations. There is a resounding belief inside many B2B brands that creativity is either too expensive, unmeasurable, or simply not appropriate for B2B buyers.

According to Wildfire’s data, the issue has become so bad that many PR pros (66%) have cut the word ‘creative’ from their proposals altogether in the hope of sneaking great ideas through under the radar.

Wildfire

4. There’s a major opportunity for creative B2B brands

While creativity might be a dirty word in B2B, the reality is that unique, memorable, and creative campaigns are needed now more than ever.

Half of B2B buyers (48%) say they’re bored by the content and campaigns they see. In fact, a major study from the B2B Institute revealed “little-to-no distinctiveness” across almost all B2B businesses. As the researchers put it, “Every brand is blue, and every brand says the same things in the same way”.

Ultimately, creativity is synonymous with memorability. It’s your chance to break out of the mould and get noticed.

All too often, brands assume that creative approaches aren’t right for B2B audiences. But remember — all audiences value engagement, distinctiveness, and personal connection. No comms campaign ever suffered from being too memorable, regardless of whether it was targeting a consumer or a B2B audience.

Creativity delivers

When times are tough, businesses tend to drop their commitment to creativity in favour of more ‘tried and tested’ campaigns. To me, that’s a mistake.

Creative comms isn’t about trying untested ideas — it’s about doing something memorable, telling compelling stories, and connecting with new potential customers. Most important of all — it’s about doing what works.

According to the data, creative execution is the second biggest factor driving campaign profitability, with creativity boosting the financial returns by up to 1100%.

And yes, creativity can be expensive — but it doesn’t have to be.

Often the best ideas come from resourceful rather than riches. Even the most tried-and-tested approach can be revolutionised by something as simple as an interesting photograph, a controversial stance, or even just an imaginative headline. None of these things need to break the bank, but they can give new life to your next B2B campaign.

B2B Creativity is a fortnightly column curated and written by Alex Warren, tech PR professional at Wildfire.

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