Why is Your B2B Video Not Cutting It?

by Jon Mowat Hurricane

Jon Mowat, Managing Director at Hurricane, explains how we can make our B2B videos stand out from the crowd.

We all know it’s tough out there for any brand to be heard above the noise. More than 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute so a boring B2B video can’t cut it. And let’s admit it, there is dull B2B content out there that no one is watching.

To counter this, I’m calling on B2B marketers to get braver with their video strategy. Let’s push B2B comms to develop a genuine connection with your consumers. 

OK, I already hear you saying my organisation won’t allow me to get creative with content, the MD insists we include every product feature in our videos, or we don’t have big B2C budgets.

I get these concerns, and I’m not suggesting that you have to be super provocative to make some noise (although you can). Bravery means different things depending on the context. This film for PWC, Trustfall, plays and pushes the idea of team-building trust exercises, proving that B2B can really stand out with a bold approach.

Emotional drivers work hard to humanise B2B solutions. That’s because B2B brands are not selling to other businesses, but to humans. Your target audience work in the industry but they are also ambitious, timed pressed, tired parents, living for the weekend, focussed on their side hustles, distracted by social media memes. Above all, rounded human beings. So your comms needs to be courageous to talk to them directly to have any chance of cutting through. 

OK, so how brave can we go?

When we’re brainstorming ideas for B2B brands, we often do an exercise to pinpoint the emotional hooks. Grab post-it notes and collect the critical pain points of your target audience. Which emotional drivers will encourage them to click play on your content – and keep watching?

So let’s say you have a product that will make business processes easier for your audience. The drivers could be to help an organisation improve, get ahead of the competition, and give shareholders a healthy dividend. 

But are these the real drivers? For an individual working in the business, his or her driver may be more self-centred – keeping their job, getting a promotion or looking good in front of the boss. We could push this further, asking if our customers are lazy and on the lookout for time-saving services? Do they want to get away from work earlier to spend more time with the family, and so on?

Be honest, be rude, and push this to the extreme – as far as it will go – and you’ve arrived at the key message. Draw on insight internally here, too, by chatting to your sales team about how their real-life customers and prospects speak about their pain points.

This exercise is a pivotal stage in creating video content because it is only after this that we truly understand the genuine benefits from the audience’s point of view. Then we can develop messages around these that will cut through for real customers, not an idealised vision.

Putting this to work is as easy as EFG

Now, the science behind this. We’re hardwired to connect with moving stories, and that’s why these emotional drivers work so effectively for brands.

Our brains are split in two – an emotional System One brain and a logical System Two. System One deals with life’s simple choices, and System Two comes in to handle the big decisions. Our minds generally like a simple life, so System Two tends to agree with System One, all things being equal. 

Brands need to get to the easy-going, emotional System One brain first to make that deep connection. Then, they can back up this decision with well-chosen facts to keep the System Two brain happy. Get this emotional impact and factual backup right, and you’re on the way to attracting a new customer.

How does this insight into our brains play out in terms of creating content worth watching? I’ve developed an easy-to-use structure called EFG – Emotion, Facts, Go – which is particularly useful for B2B brands and their often complex, technical products.

The film must open with the emotional driver which seeks to elicit behaviour change and kickstarts a connection. Then a few key facts are used to reassure the logical part of our brain that the instinctive response of the System One was spot on. Finally, “Go” pushes customers with a call to action. Amplify this CTA  by riffing on the emotional opener. So if the message is to make your life easier, then you could revisit with “start making your life easier today, click here”.

If you do one thing on your next video marketing campaign, try the emotional driver exercise and let me know how it goes. Remember to be brave and push it as far as you can for best results. 

If you’re looking for further ideas on how to grow your brand with video, check out Jon’s Video Marketing Strategy book. Figaro Digital readers can benefit from 20 per cent off on Kogan Page’s website with code VMK20.