Drew Nicholson of OgilvyOne dnx: why B2B is now winning creative honours

Another year, another Cannes Lions. Set against the gorgeous backdrop of the French Riviera, the world’s biggest, creative communications awards event has once again showcased the most innovative and creative campaigns from across the globe developed by brands and agencies.

However, what is noticeably different about this year’s event, is the increased presence of B2B marketing campaigns.

Forsman & Bodenfors’s campaign for Volvo Trucks, ‘Live Test Series,’ won the Grand Prix in Creative Effectiveness by showing Volvo’s president standing on a truck, suspended from a helicopter to prove the strength of the truck’s towing hook in a live demonstration.

Goodby Silverstein & Partners’ campaign for Adobe titled ‘Dream On,’ saw the agency create a crowd sourced video set to Aerosmith’s classic of the same name, to celebrate Photoshop’s 25th Anniversary. Created entirely in Photoshop, the video went viral and won the agency a Gold Lion in the Cyber category this year.

B2B marketers are expert in deploying data, CRM and automation tools to target the right consumers at the right time. And while the customer journey is very different to B2C, great creative is still as important. B2B marketers understand that in order to cut through all the noise, convey their messages and connect with customers, they have to demonstrate a more human and personable side.

Using humour to build a connection with business audiences

Creativity in B2B marketing stems from the need to connect with customers on an emotional, as well as a rational level. Buying a global IT solution for your business is a different process to buying your groceries for dinner, but that same individual is still a real person with likes, dislikes, opinions and experiences.

Therefore a B2B marketing campaign must not only be relevant to the buyers and influencers involved in the decision making process, but must also resonate with their experiences. NICE Systems, is an international company specialising in telephone voice recording, data, analytics and security solutions. They came to OgilvyOne dnx seeking to change the perception of their brand for existing customers, and broaden their appeal to a brand new audience.
We brought to life the benefits of their services by creating humorous videos which would resonate with buyers on an individual level. Each video featured a customer getting stuck in a customer service loop where no one listens and no one helps. It’s a scenario instantly recognisable to anyone who has called or emailed a customer service department and appealed to buyers both individually and through their own experiences. And it made them smile!

Make creativity a priority

In B2B, as in B2C, storytelling, simplicity and visuals make for great creativity. As content marketing goes beyond creation to become more strategic, so creativity is key in ensuring that it breaks through the clutter and that the message is absorbed by its target audience.

There is no hard-and-fast rule for creativity in B2B marketing. While humour is one strategy, success ultimately comes from the right partnership and briefing between agency and client, and by treating B2B buyers and influencers as real people. Buyers will respond to content which carries an authentic message, and the creativeness comes from how that message is delivered.

Do not be surprised if, at next year’s Cannes Lions, B2B marketing starts to steal some of the spotlight from its “cooler” B2C sibling. B2B marketing is going through its renaissance and creativity is at the very heart of it.

unnamed-10Drew Nicholson is CEO of OgilvyOne dnx

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