B2B marketers can learn a lot from the world of consumer advertising. Although they won’t admit it, B2B customers tend to make purchase decisions based on emotion – just like consumers do. Business buyers are humans, too. How can you build a message that gets past features and benefits to connect on a deeper level? Take a look at what three epic B2C brand messages can teach us…
EPIC MESSAGE #1:
“Built Ford Tough”
Ford F-Series trucks have spent the last 32 years as the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. and 37 years as the country’s best-selling truck. For 36 years (and counting) – throughout its reign as America’s favorite vehicle – Ford has delivered a simple, clear message and brand promise to truck buyers: “Built Ford Tough”.
If a B2B marketer wrote the Ford trucks brand message, it might have read: “Engineered for top-level performance across a range of harsh conditions and work duties.”
Key takeaways from “Built Ford Tough”:
- Simple messaging is powerful – when it’s creative. For Ford trucks, “High Performance Solutions” would be simple and true, but not creative or memorable.
- Speak in the language of your customers. Avoid the B2B trap of technobabble.
- Find your message. Then, stick with it (for 36 years).
- Match your message to your market. What’s on your customers’ minds? What are their frustrations? What inspires them?
- Be true to who you are as a company. Ford trucks’ message fits the brand like a well-worn leather work glove.
EPIC MESSAGE #2:
“Just do it”
Currently ranked #115 on the Fortune 500, Nike has been named “The World’s Most Valuable Sports Brand” on the Forbes Fab 40 list (which put Nike’s “brand value” at $17.3B). Just like the venerable Swoosh itself, Nike’s core message for the last 26 years has become one of the most recognized and well remembered of any company message. For Nike and its customers, this is more than a tagline. It’s the essence the brand.
If a B2B marketer had written the Nike tagline, it might look like: “Technologically advanced footwear solutions for amateur and professional athletes.”
Key takeaways from “Just do it”:
- Avoid verbosity.
- Challenge your prospects.
- Inspire your customers.
- Elevate the sales conversation above your product or service by pointing to a higher purpose / calling – a “Cause”.
- Creativity is timeless. A great message written in the 1980s can still be “cool” today.
EPIC MESSAGE #3:
“15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance”
Perhaps the antithesis of the Nike message in terms of style and length, Geico’s core sales message hammers home a simple, practical benefit. But it’s just as worthy of mention in our list of epic core messaging. Just last year, Geico wrested away Allstate’s decades-held position as the No. 2 auto insurer in the U.S. Now it’s #1 State Farm, #2 Geico, and #3 Allstate. That’s the power of a relentless marketing effort backed by a consistent, compelling sales message.
If a B2B marketer wrote the Geico message, it might simply say: “Save more with Geico.”
Key takeaways from “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance”:
- Be specific.
- Your message is allowed to use more than three words – as long as it’s creative and meaningful. Shorter isn’t always better.
- Tie your sales message directly to the customer’s pain.
- Even if you don’t state it directly, you can still imply a call to action.
- A memorable line becomes even more memorable when you repeat it ad infinitum.
Go and be epic.
It’s harder to find epic messaging in the world of B2B, as marketers often get caught up in the technologies and specifics of their solutions. But this creates a great opportunity for savvy B2B marketers. Look to the B2C world for messaging inspiration. Watch. Listen. Learn. Apply the principles to your world. And go shake up your market with some epic messaging.
Josh Reed says