SENTIMENT CHAUFFEURS: CLUE SIX FOR FOUNDERS
Where does video fit into your new business plan? You know B2B comms though - founded on logic and commercial benefits, you're working with long decision cycles and multiple touch points. So it might feel unnatural instilling emotion and sentiment into your prospects outreach.
Emotion, you say? Yep. Usually reserved for marketing teams responding to fluffy, consumer-led trends.
Confidence, optimism, expectation, empathy, faith, trust. These are the kings and queens of B2B emotion. These are how we want to feel at work, with buyers, suppliers, investors, colleagues.
And video, text, and imagery (in order of efficacy) are their drivers. Conveying your audiences to your desired destination. Question is, will they be white van drivers, bouncing your prospects on a crate in the rear, or chauffeurs, sweeping them in velvet and leather luxury limos to your proposition?
So much is known about these emotions in universities and media labs. Yet so little they're dwelled on in boardrooms. And seldom acted upon.
Critically, what's changing is that sentiment is rising in value as communication with B2B buyers becomes more sophisticated. Yet many B2B firms struggle with emotion as a vital part of communication.
B2B is more emotional than B2C. Hard to believe, but true.
Major Gartner research shows that B2B buyers are MORE emotionally connected to their suppliers than B2C buyers. Actually twice as much more. Yes, I know.
Sure, boards, investors and business audiences have their rational purchasing criteria, but they have hearts too - they want to feel confidence, faith, optimism, expectation, empathy and trust.
These emotions tend to drive decision making. Then rationale is used to justify their decision. We know this. There's some heavy research on it.
But in this new epoch, the B2B buying process is becoming more sophisticated. We now have Customer Experience or CX design, the flywheel and narrative ducking. Critically, sentiment is playing a bigger role in these areas, and in business communication generally.
Is your firm outwardly B2B emotional? Strong on creating the empathy, understanding and vision for all those rich persuaders?
So what can you do about that?
"I'm going to have to science the s*** out of this."
Mark Watney, The Martian, 2015
Short answer, humanity plus numbers.
How to Pivot
Longer answer, create a classy vehicle for emotional messaging, and chauffeur your prospects towards your new business proposition, and analyse. Video is the dominant medium for this.
Your character and authenticity, your energy can be a reason for viewers to invest or buy.
And where better to express that than in dramatic narratives - for example the challenge overcome, the client in need, the difficulty of what you do, or the joy of a successful client outcome.
So embrace the value of emotion in your films, even for the driest of audiences.
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