When my wife and I bought a house for the first time, I remember unending sessions of sitting in front of a computer, reading descriptions of yet another estate agency with yet another house to consider. Then it was further sessions of grinding through the sites of conveyancing firms, trying to decide whether the firm that “care about their customers” was better than the one that “went the extra mile” or the one that “was expert in conveyancing”. Then there were builders and plumbers and electricians and a myriad of other companies that wanted our business.
In the end, we didn’t choose any of the companies! We engaged the services of several of them, but it had very little to do with logos or brand or the “about us” page of their website – in every case we chose a person. Why? Because people are interesting and companies (generally) are not. It’s not the companies fault, they have a corporate image to uphold – and rightly so – but what the ones that we chose did well, was to showcase their people as people and allow them to be themselves.
People in B2B marketing
For me, people are the differentiator, given the choice between following a company twitter feed that adheres firmly to the corporate guidelines, or a person that works for that company and tweets as a person – it’s the employee every time. What about a post on the company blog? – no name attached, a logo and a lot of statements that start with “we”; or a profile picture, some “I”s and a bit of personality to the narrative. There is no competition!
It can be tough to change to a more people-centric approach: Who do you choose? Can you trust them? Will they be any good? But if you can get some of your people engaged, it could be hugely beneficial!