From the weird voiceover to the cheesy stock photography spliced in to keep things interesting, some B2B videos are, admittedly, a total snoozefest.

B2B videos have earned a reputation for being lame and too long, but that doesn’t mean yours has to be!

In a valiant quest to prove that B2B doesn’t have to be boring, today we’re looking at six brands doing awesome things with video marketing and the content takeaways.

These companies go beyond explaining what they do, and instead bring stories to life, elicit emotion, and use new formats to maintain engagement. In short, they’re totally crushin’ it.

Here are six things you can borrow from their video strategies.

1. Spoof a Familiar Format

If your target audience is constantly prompted to download white papers on big data, chances are they’d love something different. GE wanted to stand out and delivered something fun and entertaining. As it turns out, technology for connecting planes, trains, and automobiles to the Internet gets way more interesting when you create an imaginary city called Datalandia full of…sexy vampires?

You can learn from GE when it comes to format and tone. By turning up the drama with a format we’re all familiar with (the movie trailer), the brand adds humour to what could have been a very corporate-esque video.

Using modern language and a make-believe city, GE not only captures your attention, but they make you want to see more of their content. I got hooked immediately and loved their other video on The Real Soccer Moms of Datalandia!

Could your B2B brand spoof the movie trailer genre? How about a music video or TV show opening credits? It’s time to start thinking like GE.

2. Depict an Exciting Future

Your videos should focus on what you do for customers and the problems you help solve. You get bonus points if you can actually get your target audience excited about what you can do for them, like Cisco. In their Tomorrow Starts Here campaign, Cisco shows us a very cool, almost Jetson’s-like future where everything is connected and we all benefit in really awesome, practical ways. What’s more is they literally show rather than just tell.

This series of videos ultimately leaves you thinking “I want that tech in my life! How cool!”.

The lesson here? If you’ve got a product that’s truly going to change your customer’s life, present a clear (and exciting) scenario and prove it.

I especially like that these videos use a script that sort of mirrors the structure of children’s storybooks we’re familiar with (i.e. “this is the guitar that told the exits to tell the router…etc.”)

If you’re telling a literal story, sometimes it’s good to go back to basics and take on the story format everyone recognizes instantly. The story format is the known constant that compels your audience to listen, whereas your product is the variable they have to pay attention to as something new.

3. Dominate Search With Helpful How-to Content

Tech buyers often start their search with Google, so your video content should be created with SEO in mind. A lot of content marketers are savvy to this and one of the best ways to stand out visually in search is to create videos around the questions your target audience is asking.

Take Kapost for example. In the video below they answer a question about collaborating on content across large teams. This is a problem facing their niche audience, and by becoming the experts who can answer the question clearly in just under a minute, they become the folks people want to do business with.

The company showcases Liz, a content marketing manager the target audience will identify with, and they’ve included a great call to action, prompting the download of a piece of their written content. The intro isn’t too long, and there’s enough supporting illustrations to keep your attention. Overall, a great educational piece other brands can learn from.

4. Let a Customer Tell Their ‘Hero’ Story

While brands attempting content marketing are constantly told that “it’s not about you”, many still get this wrong. However, with this video from Microsoft, I was amazed it was so compelling to watch.

Presented as a Yammer story, you get the idea it’ll be product focused, but as Billy Saqr starts chatting with you about his background in space architecture and his struggle to find something practical that he loved to do, you get sucked right in to his story. It’s only after we’ve learned about Billy that we see how Yammer helps him do his job, and how happy it makes him and others.

The lesson? Always find a way to make videos that make your customer a total hero. The more we learn about your customers as people to identify with, the more stories they tell, and the more genuine they seem, the more likely your brand comes across as truly human and helpful.

5. Showcase usefulness to your niche audience

In B2B product videos are necessary at some point along the funnel, and because your audience should be nodding along in agreement with you, you’ve got to show them you understand their world. As companies from Google to Box.com have discovered, a play-by-play walkthrough of your audience’s actual tasks can be pretty effective. Take this Box.com video for example. They walk through how a marketer, in particular, can use box to make their job easier. Again – not about Box.com directly – but instead, the everyday problems this company can solve. By calling out familiar scenarios (like a marketing budget cut) and how their solution helps, this video is all about observable utility.

Could this walkthrough approach help you show off a unique product use case? Go for it – just watch that you time this video correctly. It shouldn’t feel like watching someone do work for ages. It should run like a story and can’t include crazy amounts of text to tell the story.

6. Reinforce the Character of Your Brand

How do you get your audience to pay attention and like you? Well, why not get them thinking about something they don’t consider every day? Like where their technology hardware comes from. In this video from Intel, we’re shown the elements that make microprocessors possible and the unfortunate circumstances around their creation.

By taking positive actions to change a negative situation for real people, Intel shows us what they value as a brand and imply a certain quality of character. By demonstrating they’ll go out of their way to perform a social good not many think about, they showcase their commitment to a cause rather than simply profit.

The lesson? A video that showcases the ways you go above and beyond as a socially responsible company could be just the thing to elevate your B2B brand.

Overall, take your B2B video cues from these six stunning strategies. Each company tells their story differently and their intent is clear. Get people laughing, get people excited, teach, showcase heroes, and tell us what your brand stands for. These are all tactics to make B2B stand out.

Jennifer Pepper