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B2B brands that advertise like they're a B2C...

and why you should too.

· B2B Marketing,Above-the-line,Marketing Funnel,Share of Voice,Media Distribution

B2B organisations have traditionally shied away from above-the-line (ATL) marketing, focusing instead on the conversion-end of the funnel - perhaps because of narrower target audience segments, requiring less of a need for big, boisterous, ATL campaigns and media distribution strategies.

But with the advent of digital channels, spending on ATL is more accessible, and blurs the line between ATL and below-the-line.

The concept of Excess Share of Voice - that is, all things being equal a brand whose share of voice (SOV) is greater than its share of market (SOM) - is more likely to gain market share, it's prudent not to forget the ATL, brand awareness and share of voice tactics, even in B2B markets.

Graph: Applying share of voice and share of market concepts to B2B marketing perspectives

So when a recent client came to us to discuss best practice brand building for pure B2B firms we went on the hunt for great examples of B2B brands spending on ATL / digital media and creating memorable campaigns akin to B2C brands to build their SOV.

Here's some we were impressed with and recommend you share with your B2B marketing teams for inspiration:

BHP Think Steel - Video (ATL)

Industry: Mining / Metals / Energy

Why we love it:

1. BHP is a purely B2B organisation - selling commodities to other businesses to make products and energy services. It doesn't have a B2C arm to create a halo brand effect. But what it does have, being one of Australia's largest companies, is that one of their major target audiences are shareholders, and a significant part of Australia's general population. In this age of influence, communicating to the wider ATL audience, supports their B2B efforts.

2. They've also found a message that resonates with an influencer audience and their customers, focusing on how BHP plays a part in the Australian economy and community more broadly in global economic growth and development - "We're helping Australia grow". Each ad focuses on a key global challenge and highlights the role of their commodities in helping build a sustainable future.

Execution: The campaign includes 30 seconds TVCs, TV, print, billboard and online advertisements and leveraged through social media - 30s and 15s advertisements.

BHP Think Copper - VIdeo  (ATL)
BHP Think Big - Billboard  (ATL)

Industry: B2B Insurance & Risk

Why we love it:

1. Consistency! And adapting content for different platforms and uses - clear advantage of above-the-line activities in promoting creativity in distribution and content.

2. Central theme works across their product lines but focuses on the emotional connection to why people need insurance. Puts the onus back on the manager who needs to insure their business against these risks. Not product features based.

Execution: The campaign uses short-form videos, articles, events partnership; and also social media to trend its hashtag #resilienceisachoice .

FM Global - Resilience is a Choice - Video (ATL)
FM Global - Resilience is a Choice - Social Media Hash-tagging (ATL)

Industry: Shipping

Why we love it:

1. Tells the stories of their customers and not their stories. But inadvertently show how Maersk helps business owners / entrepreneurs.

Execution: Full-length campaign video, broken down into individual stories consisting of short and long-form videos and advertised across TV and social media.

Maersk - The Heart of Trade - Videos (ATL)

Industry: Heavy Technologies

Why we love it:

1. Content / distribution mix - using native advertising in a cohesive manner.

Execution: Website content, delivery through thought-leadership videos and articles which are also shared to MHI's social media.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group - Spectra - Web Design (ATL)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group - Spectra - Mobile (ATL)

Industry: Shipping and Trade

Why we love it:

1. OOH for a B2B Brand!

2. Yes, OOH for a B2B Brand! Last year we wrote an article that talks about the potential of B2B Outdoor Advertising which B2B brands could consider.

Execution: Outdoor advertisements.

ONE - B2B OOH advertising (ATL)

B2B brands are constantly looking for avenues to fulfill bottom-of-the-funnel KPIs, which creates the so-called marketing clutter at such a critical stage of the buying journey. ATL marketing and promotions engage buyers early - considering buyers are seeking advise from salespersons very late into their buying decision, there is room to tap on here for building early relationships with your B2B customers.

Please share this with your networks, and feel free to share your thoughts and comments! We want to hear from you about your experiences and thoughts!