Incorporating storytelling into a B2B campaign

It’s not just for B2C.

B2B brand storytelling

PR pros love referring to themselves as storytellers.

But what does this mean in practice? Especially if you’re working for a company that maybe doesn’t naturally lend itself to storytelling — say, a B2B firm or a SaaS product?

Pamela Anderson is PR lead at Next PR, and works with many of these kinds of businesses to share their stories with the media and their broader audiences. She believes that any business has a tale to tell — if you know how to look.

“Really, the way to get people to touch into some of those emotions more is to connect it back to your brand values, your mission, your vision,” she told PR Daily during a recent interview.

Here are some ways that she injects the concept of storytelling into the industries she serves — and ideas on how you can too.



Founder forward

There have been at least three movies telling how Peter Parker became Spider-Man — four if you count Miles Morales in “Into the Spider-Verse.”

Why? People love an origin story. And that applies for both superheroes and companies.

“In the B2B (space), in the software space, I would say a lot of the traditional storytelling you’re gonna think of is that founder story,” Anderson said.

Many companies are good at tying the founder to their core principles for internal communications, but many overlook it as an external tool. The key, Anderson said, is to connect it to your core principles and values.

“What does founding your company evoke for you?” Anderson queried. “And then taking it to the next step and say, okay, how can we bring that to your customers? And to those who may be reading about you as well?”

But what if you don’t have that founder story to lead the way? What if you have a problematic founder or just a dull story?

Anderson says in some circles, there is a movement away from founder origin stories. After all, we’ve seen that go terribly wrong with the likes of Elizabeth Holmes and Sam Bankman-Fried. Tech journalists in particular are becoming more cautious about lauding a founder.

But that opens the door for a new storyteller: your customers.

“I think those are sometimes even better place to start than necessarily your founder, especially when you start getting into telling stories for certain communities, you want to make sure it’s authentic, and that person is from the community,” Anderson explained. “And so you should be looking kind of everywhere within your communications.”

But it’s important to make your request of a customer as simple as possible. Explain to them the benefit in it for them if they take this step, and do all that you can to soothe their nerves. That might mean offering media training, or offering to let them do the testimonial in the format that’s easiest for them, whether that’s a video, a written piece or even a facilitated interview that you then turn into a finished piece.

“You can find that comfort zone instead of just asking, broadly, ‘could you tell your story for us on every medium in every (medium) possible?’” Anderson said.

In the vein of getting the medium right, our stories are getting shorter. These days, they’re often contained in a tweet or a TikTok, not an epic poem told over the course of many nights around the fire.

How can we condense these stories to a single bite?

“It’s really narrowing in on, this is the most important element for PR professionals. Or in writing, cutting back,” Anderson said. “Because when these emotions and these human stories really start to be put into writing … it can get very long. So it usually takes a couple iterations to get the story right.”

The power of consistency

A story gains power the more it’s told. But often in PR, we forget that we must keep reinforcing a message over and over again. A story that’s told only once can seem inauthentic.

Anderson pointed to two moments many brands seize upon: Juneteenth and Pride.

“We’re going to see a lot of brands start to tell these, hopefully, impactful stories about what their company means to that community, how they’re supporting those communities. That can seem very inauthentic if they are only doing it during this one month of the year and if they’re not continuing to reaffirm in multiple formats why this is important to them,” Anderson cautioned.

Ultimately, good storytelling simply sticks with us, long after an ad is forgotten, Anderson said.

“Companies come to me and say, ‘I want to be a generational brand, I want to be one that that sticks in people’s mind for more than just this one moment in time,’ then storytelling is a very key component that they have to have in their marketing mix.”

Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.


PR Daily News Feed

Sign up to receive the latest articles from PR Daily directly in your inbox.