Maneesha Bhangle, Thinking Hat’s PR & Content Executive, shares her thoughts and practical tips for coming up with imaginative B2B PR campaigns.
Being creative with B2B PR might sound daunting, or in fact, near impossible. But it’s easier than you think! Remember B2B doesn’t have to mean boring. It shouldn’t solely be tied down to jargon and figures, because business owners and consumers are not unlike.
The gap between B2B PR and B2C is ever narrowing and the process for driving creativity isn’t so different. Here are four tips you can use to stimulate your imagination…
Free your mind
Before you start, as a general rule of thumb, creating the environment for your imagination to flow can help a lot. Whether you are working from home due to COVID or slowly transitioning back to the workplace you need to give yourself room to think. Chances are if you never give yourself time to be still, you will likely find it hard to come up with ideas.
Some of my best concepts have come to me in my hour-long showers (RIP my water bill), daydreams and long walks – times where my brain has been given the opportunity to run free. But understandably there’s not always time in the day for this. So, if you’re under pressure to come up with ideas and find your brain isn’t cooperating there are a few small things you can do.
Simply take a 5-10-minute break, get some air and your blood flowing – a walk, jog or a few star jumps are a good idea. Or maybe meditate for a moment, close your eyes and zone out for a bit. If that doesn’t float your boat, it could even be as simple as moving to a different space or desk. Now your brain has been primed it’s time to get thinking.
1. Brain Dump
This is something I like to do as a first step. It’s best to do this part alone and distraction-free. However, I get that silence can sometimes be a luxury when working from home. So alternatively you can plug your headphones in and listen to an instrumental (no lyrics is key!)
Then grab a pen and paper and exhaust your brain. Try not to speak to anyone and resist the urge to use Google. Take 10-15 minutes to just simply write down everything you can possibly think of about that topic or idea.
I find this stage helps draw on what instinctively comes to mind rather than just mimicking what appears on the web. It’s a great start for coming up with something different and original.
It might sound obvious, but it’s super important. Look at what’s already been done before – both the good and the bad. Draw learnings and seek inspiration.
Here are a few of my favourite B2B examples you can take a look at below…
- Tudder: Tinder for Cows – This campaign is a great example of how a potentially dull topic can be turned into something fun and humorous, which is something that a lot of B2B brands struggle to do. It clearly paid off as the campaign resulted in 1,037 global print media mentions and it was featured in more than 30 global broadcast segments.
- A City Law Firm: LGBT discrimination article – a good example of using key data points and making content relatable through considering what information is actually useful to your clients. This is one of many pieces that did really well because it helped provide the information people needed and that they were actively searching for. With all ideas, it is important to always consider news relevance and whether it will be clickable too.
- Marketing Dynamix: Dropbox for Business – a perfect example of good audience research and how personalisation can nurture customers through the sales funnel. For Dropbox, delving deep inside their target audiences’ heads lead to 2,207 marketing qualified leads.
An important takeaway from this is that data is power. Key research and data points can be vital to enhancing an offering by tailoring solutions towards customers’ needs. It can also help determine whether an idea is viable or should be eliminated. Always think back to the audience. What do they like? Where do they go to consume information? What makes them laugh? This is where you will find clarity.
3. Mind map
After steps one and two, start transforming your key information into a clear visual format. A mind map is my personal favourite method. When I was just 7 years old my dad introduced me to this book: Mind Maps for Kids by Tony Buzan (I upgraded to the adult version of the book a bit later).
Although the initial use for this book was to help me with remembering things and concentrating better, it was simultaneously a great tool to come up with ideas and unlock the imagination.
Throughout my life, I have applied this method numerous times to come up with ideas for my Advanced Level Fine Art, Marketing and Advertising University studies and more recently within my career. It’s a great way of developing a concept and branching ideas off of it.
Finally, Brainstorming – the best way to bounce ideas around and see what other people think. Other people’s opinions are invaluable. It’s like free market research, even if they’re not necessarily your target audience, hearing what they have to say is extremely useful.
You might think your idea is amazing but then when you explain it to the wider group you may come to the harsh realisation that it is actually not a good idea at all (better to find out sooner rather than later I say).
Or on the more positive side, colleagues may be able to help you build on a good idea and really make it into something great! Even if you are short for time it’s always best to run your idea past at least one other person.
Following this 4-step guide is a great start to coming up with creative ideas, remember – B2B doesn’t mean boring! And if you’ve tried all of the above and are still struggling, just give us a call 😉
Check out some of our own B2B PR work.