By Katja Schroeder
In the recent 13th Annual “Best Global Brands” report by Interbrand, the top 100 most valuable brands were revealed. It is not surprising that Coke remains the top global brand for the lucky 13th year.
Interbrand estimates the Coke brand value at $77.8 billion, up 8 percent from the 2011 report. Now that is a lot of soda!
For 125 years, Coke has remained focused on a real connection with its consumers fueled by compelling storytelling.
So, if you are working on a B2B brand, let’s take a look at what best practices can translate from the cola giant to your marketing communications.
Coke had traveling salespeople distributing coupons for their product. They were connecting with their end users through free trials. While many b2b companies offer trails for their products, today’s most successful companies take the extra step and solicit feedback and data from their users, often supported by CRM systems.
Bentley Systems, an engineering software provider, is using state-of-the-art user centric processes and CRM software to offer a 360-degree view of user data. The company calls this the “single source of truth” since there is one central hub for all user-related activities. This means they can track all results from campaign to cash.
Knowing what your customers like is powerful content for your storytelling and an opportunity to make personal connections.
With a friendly image, Coke has created some of the most iconic images in marketing. Whether it was Santa Claus, Mean Joe Green, or the “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” commercial, Coke has an innate ability to connect to consumers.
While creativity and storytelling is common with consumer brands, many b2b companies keep things boring, staid … and (yawn!) expected. How many technology companies use cookie cutter messages to promote their products?
Kinaxis, a supply chain company, tossed the three letter acronym tech lingo that is often found in the marketing materials of B2B tech companies. Instead the company is using humor and sketch comedy to promote their business. The website and YouTube channel features a section “Just for Laughs” that has different video series. The videos play with the formats of well-known TV series and talk shows, such as the David Letterman Show and The Office. For the “Married to the Job” video series, the company worked with the comedy troupe Second City. One of my favorite videos is “New Kinexions – Simplicity” , an encounter of a new couple with an “ex-girl friend” at a coffee shop with different takes on relationships. Kinaxis’ argument for simplicity and clear communications in (client) relationships is transferable to any number of services and products. Clear and crisp messages are also the basis of a good communications program.
B2B Companies can dare to go beyond the facts and figures, and show their personality. Social media channels have made it easier to show both the corporate and product facts as well as the great team behind the products and services.
At the end, the people behind the products and services make the connections with the customers, not the products alone. Many good stories have happy endings.