I think it’s because of uncertainty about the approach. “We’re marketers, not novelists.” But that’s a view that misunderstands how storytelling works in marketing. It’s not a question of replacing factsheets with fiction. It’s about harnessing the power of narrative to create vivid, emotional connections with your target audiences. And you don’t have to be a novelist to make it work.

You just need to find the stories that every brand has, and work with an agency that knows how to craft your stories into compelling communications.

Why storytelling in B2B marketing can be so telling

If you’re an international B2B brand, storytelling is one of the most powerful ways you can cross borders and reach out to different audiences. A good story can hook anyone, regardless of country or culture.

Here’s why.

You know that feeling – Compelling stories provoke emotional responses. It can be empathy, surprise, admiration or any number of emotions, but when you touch your audience, you make a connection that’s deeper than simply informing them. What brand doesn’t want strong relationships with customers?

Hmmm, that’s interesting – When it’s relevant and timely, storytelling engages interest. Using narrative techniques that draw readers in, hold their attention and deliver a satisfying conclusion strengthens the impression you make. The stronger the impression, the longer it lasts and the more your brand stays front of mind.

Entertainment counts – The best B2B marketing ditched being boring ages ago, but how many brands are actually entertaining? Too few. Storytelling provides the perfect platform for captivating your audiences, building positive perceptions and loyalty.

Are you sure? – When you want to change perceptions – about your brand, products, services or processes – storytelling enables you to prompt your audiences into thinking differently. It’s a great way to challenge assumptions and tell the story you want to tell.

Get noticed – Good stories travel well. They get shared and talked about. Brand awareness grows. What’s not to like?

Be different – Your stories are your own. They can say something about you that no one else can say. And every good marketeer knows the value of brand differentiation.

Sell without the sell – Appealing to both hearts and minds, storytelling can create the empathy that makes your brand more relatable and trusted. It can make your messaging more vivid and memorable. It enables the connections and credibility that ultimately drive sales, without the hard sell.

7 pointers for effective storytelling

Whatever stories you want to tell, these tips can help you give them the cut-through you want:

1) Know who you’re talking to – identify your audience and their triggers

2) Be clear about your objectives – define your desired outcomes

3) Start with a strong opening and finish with a memorable conclusion

4) Write engagingly and descriptively, making emotional connections while building tension and delivering resolution

5) Be relevant and relatable

6) Be authentic

7) Be on brand.

Different types of stories and what to do with them

Storytelling can be applied to almost any type of messaging you want to communicate, but the most common are:

And, as with the types of stories you can tell, you can choose pretty much any format you want to tell them in. Again, the most common are:

  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Social
  • Ads
  • Emails
  • Webinars
  • Events

Finally, keep track of your stories. As ever, encourage feedback, monitor performance, test and refine. And enjoy – creating your stories should be as rewarding as reading them.

I believe that every brand has stories to tell. The better you tell them, the more effective they’ll be in building your business. If you’d like to talk about how you can bring your international B2B stories to life, I’d be delighted to share our expertise. Give me a call on +45 35 25 01 75 or drop me a line at rk@cbc.dk.

Ralph Krøyer, Managing Partner