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Once Upon a Time... Storytelling for B2B Marketers

Great consumer brands are great storytellers. Nike tells the story of striving to overcome our limitations and laziness. Harley Davidson tells the story of personal freedom and a spirit of rebellion. Nordstrom, Ritz-Carlton and Zappos tell stories of legendary customer service. Storytelling is becoming even more importance in a digital and social media world, as stories can be told, shared and cocreated in new ways.

Business marketers tend to view storytelling as a consumer marketing phenomenon. As one business marketer told me - “We don’t sell emotionally engaging products like sneakers and motorcycles. Our customers are rational decision mak- ers. They focus on functionality and price. Our products are complex and boring - not good subjects for storytelling. So I’m not sure that storytelling is relevant for us in market- ing communications.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Business custom- ers are not heartless robots whose only goal is to maximize utility in making purchase decisions. They are human beings who respond