In today's crowded marketplace, B2B marketers want to build their brands, differentiate their offers and stand out. In some cases, they face internal battles between logical versus rational communications. Engineering teams are often keen to promote the rational benefits of their products – features and benefits. That's understandable. But in the race to do so, there's a risk of losing the larger story – neglecting the incredible power of emotional storytelling.
Emotions matter more than you think
This is especially true of visual imagery. When selecting images, there can be a tendency to reach for stock images due to time or budget constraints. You know the ones we mean: those contrived handshakes, wax-faced smiles and conference rooms. They lack the emotional power to surprise or engage readers on an emotional level. Then, boom! You discover that your worst competitor is using the exact same image! So what to do? Relax, there are ways to avoid this trap. Let’s discuss.
B2B buyers are emotional. Is your brand imagery?
The truth is that you need both brain and heart. Having said that, at the end of the day, B2B buyers tend to lean towards their gut instincts and feeling: “Do I trust them to solve my problem?” “Do they feel solid?” “Is this a premium brand?” In fact, when it comes to B2B buying, emotions matter even more than logic and reason, according to studies by Google and the CEB Marketing Leadership Council. This is something to keep in mind when there is a $20 million deal on the line.
"Emotionally-led marketing is more effective
at driving decision-making in B2B communications."
The study clearly notes that “emotionally-led marketing is more effective at driving sales.” Based on interviews with 3,000 customers, it could be shown that 71% of buyers who were touched emotionally and saw a personal value in a B2B purchase would end up buying the product. So what are the implications for visual imagery? What should you consider in your work?
Here’s a checklist for boosting emotional impact with imagery:
1. Is it surprising and differentiating?
2. Does it help to tell your brand or product story?
3. Does it reflect your brand tonality and expression?
4. Does it have a premium, high-quality feeling?
5. Is it visually arresting (vs. me-too stock)?
6. Does it capture the benefits of what you are selling?
7. Is there a clear focus or subject (vs. trying to show everything)?
8. Would it stand out at a trade event or exhibition?
In thinking about the above points (you will certainly think of more), it’s also important to remember that great images don’t just happen on their own. Creating your own distinctive look and feel often requires some clear-eyed strategic thinking, a willingness to invest in quality and some planning to create a flexible image bank. It often means going the extra mile to get something truly sensational.
Achieving the photo above for a global engineering client required a clear brand strategy, some out-of-the-box creative thinking and willingness to invest. Read the full case story here. Or check out the behind-the-scenes story of what went into the photography here.
Do you sell complex products globally? Do you find yourself in a dilemma of emotion vs. logic? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch and let’s discuss how we could, together, harness the full power of visual imagery in your next branding effort. www.open.se