Opinions, best practices and research into B2B marketing strategy and practices

Why every B2B company needs a strategic narrative

The starting point for many of cylindr BBN’s engagements with its B2B clients is often the construction of a ‘strategic narrative’. And over the past year or two, it seems that these two words have become a hot topic – almost as much of a must-have as the better known concept of a ‘value proposition’. But what exactly is a strategic narrative? And why is it now perhaps the most important element of a B2B branding strategy? Continue reading

Why ‘should’ can take a long walk off a short pier

swimming pool ladder bright blue yellow

Hot on the heels of an exceptionally hot European summer and CNN naming Copenhagen as the best city in the world for swimming, the nearby beaches and harbors are still teeming with people cooling off in the open water. When I complain about the heat, I’m often told, ‘You should go for a dip!’

The only valid reason I can see for swimming is to avoid death by drowning – but that ‘should’ stops me in my tracks. It carries a sense of obligation, judgement, pressure and, most of all, guilt.

I don’t like to swim, but I should.

Should is for things we don’t want to do. Should is based on the expectations of others. Should is inconsistent with our own values and how we want to behave. Continue reading

4 ways Danish companies can nail B2B marketing in English

It’s not that hard to write a blog post, a Tweet or an article, right?

All you have to do is think about what you want to say, structure it, then start tapping away at the keyboard. At least, that’s pretty much true if you’re a good writer and English is your native language!

Our Danish-based B2B clients, on the other hand, have an added challenge in comparison with competitors from English-speaking regions: producing high-quality English texts when English is their second (or even third) language.

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How to lose a B2B sale in 4 ways… and how not to!

Like all relationships between people, B2B relationships require trust and credibility to work.

In fact, we could liken a prospective B2B buyer to a sophisticated partner who is well-educated, has high expectations and is generally intolerant of mistakes. And like in all relationships, there are certain behaviours that strengthen bonds, and critical mistakes that turn people off.

Take your website, for example. In B2B, missteps can sow enough seeds of doubt in the minds of potential or existing customers to make them lose faith in your brand, question your professionalism, or simply click away from your site. Once you lose that credibility, it can be as hard to get back as convincing a cheated-on lover to trust you again. And the result of lost credibility? Lost sales.

So what can you do to make sure you hang onto B2B prospects?

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The price of poor language

Are you confusing your customers with second-rate English? For example, did your company recently win a price? Are your people competent, and (by implication) not skilled? Are your writers to your webpage loosing you credibility with spelling misstakes, joiningwordstogether and split ting others, or not using all the write words – making the text that little bit to hard too read?

We all make mistakes sometimes. Especially if we’re writing in a second language. But if your organization has put blood, sweat and tears into creating an innovative product or service that stands head and shoulders above anything else on the market, doesn’t it deserve high-quality promotion? Shouldn’t messaging about what you stand for and what you offer be communicated clearly and professionally? Continue reading

Telling B2B stories: Mention the war!

Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, British comedian John Cleese owes a small part of his fame to the phrase: “Don’t mention the war”. And I’m reminded of that phrase every time I hear a B2B marketing or communication department agonizing over what should or shouldn’t be said in the public arena.

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No shortcuts in B2B marketing

Recently, while visiting one of our customers in the UK, I saw a fascinating sign on a building next door to the customer’s own offices. I was struck by the boldness of the claim – particularly given how unimpressive the sign’s visual idea and execution was. The effect, in my mind, was to create something academics call cognitive dissonance. And that’s a certain something many B2B companies do all too often.

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Innovative employees go against the flow

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” These magical words are usually attributed to someone famous – perhaps Einstein, Mark Twain or a long list of others depending on who you believe. In any case, there’s plenty of truth in the idea, I think you’ll agree.

I thought again of those words when I attended a seminar held by DABF (Danish-American Business Forum) and found the happy ending to a business fairytale I think of almost every time I see someone trying to go against the status quo in an organization. Continue reading

B2B and the tourism industry: The case against corporate propaganda

To conclude the series on how B2B companies can leverage digital strategy to capture a share of the revenue coming from the global growth in the tourism industry, I will focus on a key issue underlining and supporting all communications and marketing strategy: tourism and propaganda are not good friends anymore. Without a proper understanding of what this entails, a B2B company’s digital strategy and efforts to make it big in the tourism industry might very well be doomed to fail from the outset. Continue reading