Turning physical into digital

Underneath it all humans are sociable animals, which is why it’s often said there’s no real substitute for face-to-face interaction and physical contact. But if B2B organisations are to emerge stronger from the current Covid-19 pandemic, we’ll all have to look at what we can achieve remotely. And, of course, this means doing even more digitally.

Without physical offices and with individual staff located around the UK (not to mention customers on different continents) Emberson has been working in a distributed way since it was founded in 2010. Based on a decade of digital operations, here are four key considerations based on our experiences…

1 How does your brand stand up against digital-born rivals?

Even the oldest consumer-facing brands adapt their visual identity to aid visibility in our increasingly screen-based world. This is rarely the case however for B2B brands; even though many are innovators within their industries. We once worked with a transport-based client whose original logo had been created 25yrs earlier using taped-together photocopies. Perhaps unsurprisingly while it had somehow worked okay in print, it didn’t display well on a responsive mobile website. And it needs to: Boston Consulting Group expects the number of B2B queries made on smartphones to reach 70% this year1.

Just bear in mind that if you want your brand to compete against newer, digital-born rivals it may be time for an audit first.

There are some obvious design no-no’s that expose an older brand’s pre-digital origins such as long horizontal names, or combinations of small and large typography that don’t scale down to smaller screen sizes. Thankfully all of these pitfalls are now addressed as a matter of course by any identity designer worth their salt.

2 Adapt sales decks to fly solo

The ban on business travel demands that we all transform our Powerpoint sales decks into self-contained digital sales presenters. As you won’t be there to take prospects through your content think carefully about the order: start with the customer’s pain points and lead into your story from there.

Never put your offer before their context. Ask a colleague (or trusted 3rd party!) to review your presentation and see if it makes sense without the accompanying script: it may mean adding key messaging or takeout statements directly to existing slide content. Remember it’s always better to have a higher number of simpler slides than to overload each screen with bullet points. And to increase exposure don’t forget to upload it to LinkedIn’s popular Slideshare platform and send people a URL.

If you have a particularly charismatic speaker or in-house expert, you could also consider reworking your content into a TED talk-inspired webinar – just as long as you frame it carefully and make sure there’s valuable content for potential customers. You may not think it suits your sector and its complex buying cycle, but it’s worth noting Google found that, even in industrial and manufacturing industries, 67% of purchases were influenced by digital content2.

3 Time for a movie?

In its benchmark report3 Vidyard found that 82% of B2B marketers reported success during 2019 from their video marketing initiatives. While it’s never been easier for individuals to create their own videos, don’t be tempted to point a smartphone at your face selfie-style and start rambling like a YouTuber. Vidyard also observed that average video lengths are getting shorter, so plan how to capture your key messages in concise, easy-to-digest segments. Even the shortest clips benefit from a basic storyboard and script. And work with video professionals so that the quality and tone of your output matches the values of your brand.

At the other end of the scale we’ve been working with clients and specialist production companies to transform what would have been ‘corporate’ videos into more immersive 360° experiences. Originally meant to be shown at events on wrap-around screens, the availability of VR systems such as Google’s Cardboard and Facebook’s Oculus systems mean these videos can be adapted to create a memorable experience for prospects likely to be working from home for the foreseeable future.

4 Make more of what you’ve already got

Now is an ideal time to repurpose existing content from your website and marketing materials and use it to actively reach out to new prospects, perhaps in different markets, as business boundaries are being redrawn.

We’ve found from experience that tying content together with an engaging theme, building a GDPR-compliant email campaign and tracking interested parties can deliver engaged leads for less than many companies spend on a single exhibition appearance. And figures from the Direct Marketing Association found ROI from email marketing now stands at £36 for every pound spent by B2B organisations4.

So there you have it – fours ways you can create engaging digital B2B experiences to help you do business at a distance.

If you want to discuss a digital brand audit, simplifying sales presentations, video storyboarding and scripting, email campaigns or to just reach out, contact the team on hello@futurepositive.agency

1 https://www.bcg.com/publications/2017/marketing-sales-digital-go-to-market-transformation-mobile-marketing-new-b2b-buyer.aspx
2 https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/b2b-buyers-online-and-offline/
3 https://www.vidyard.com/business-video-benchmarks/
4 https://dma.org.uk/uploads/misc/marketers-email-tracker-2019.pdf