Okay, admit it. As a B2B company with a complex message to communicate, you’re a little jealous of cool video marketing from B2C brands. (It’s okay. You can say it. We’re not judging).

We get it, you're "not" jealous.

Okay, so you’re “not” jealous.
Sure. Whatever you say. But we’d understand if you were.

Popular B2C-ers get to take risks, be funny, and tell stories that really humanize their brands. They have it sooooo easy, you think.

On the other hand, there’s you. You have a smaller audience, your products only appeal to a niche, and there’s only about ten people on planet Earth who can wrap their heads around what it is you offer. Surely you have a more difficult challenge with video, no?

Well, yeah – you do, but here’s the thing: B2B brands can actually learn a lot about how to structure great video stories if we take a closer look at the concepts B2C are using.

Here are 4 examples of B2C video concepts and their underlying storytelling devices that serve as great lessons for structuring B2B content. There’s no need to be jealous anymore because with some slight modification to these frameworks, you can produce something awesome for your audience too. It’s all about re-framing the underlying messages to suit your cause.

1. Make your customer (or ideal prospect) a rockstar

The number one rule about content marketing is that it’s not about you. The pronouns “we and us” should only pepper your content when appropriate, and the pronoun “you” needs to become your best friend. Customer-focused content is the way to go, and you should always make your customer (or ideal prospect) look like a total boss.

General Mills did this especially well when introducing new peanut butter Cheerios with an online ad campaign around “How to Dad”:

In General Mills’ world, parents are the king of the castle. They decide if these Cheerios get to be a thing in their house, so why not appeal to parents’ egos? The fast-talking, cool dad in this commercial will have customers laughing along and appreciating the glorification of dads. Moreover, not only is the voice and tone of the ad enjoyable, but the whole spot breaks away from the stereotype of the incompetent dad, which is super refreshing.

The lesson for B2B marketers? Whether your target audience is comprised of IT professionals or event management experts, how can you make them look this hip and cool? What story will resonate with them like this one? Where can you portray your target buyer persona at the top of their game? Make it a goal to make your customer a hero in an upcoming video. It could even be the way you showcase a new video testimonial or case study. Bonus points if you can make the underdog of your buying committee look like a boss. They are influencers in the decision process, and would likely love an ego boost too!

It’s also worth nothing that General Mills released multiple short videos under the theme (and hashtag) #HowtoDad as part of this campaign. This promotes engagement as people use the hashtag and works to solidify the overall theme that the brand’s standing behind (i.e. that their target market is awesome). You can make your customers heroes in a branded campaign and use a hashtag to fuel the sharing of your content too.

2. Spoof a popular ad format

Whether it’s a movie trailer, a buddy cop story, or a horror film, there are tons of story formats you can parody to get your B2B message across. It’s simply a matter of altering the components of the story to suit your unique message.

Just take a look at how IKEA spoofed Apple’s classic ad style with this hilarious spot promoting their new catalogue:

They’ve taken a format we all know too well (the classic Jony Ive commercial) and subbed in their product in a ridiculous way. There’s absolutely no reason it couldn’t be swapped out for a massive IT server or other B2B products in a funny way. Overall, look to formats that are really well known and how you can put a custom twist on them for a laugh.

3. Help new customers with initial setup and issues

In the SaaS world there’s often an on-boarding process after a customer signs on and starts using your software. This can lead to an influx of support calls and delivering the same ramp-up information to each company as they implement your solution. But, what if you had a video or series of videos that would scale a common support message every time you needed it? You could send the helpful video to new customers before they get started as a way to foster your new relationship with them and assure them you have their back.

This is exactly what Koodo Mobile has done. Koodo is a telecommunications company in Canada and their help videos on YouTube are especially good. Because most customers seem to experience some confusion over their first pro-rated bill, the company created a video how-to that explains why this is, and what to expect.

This video is perfect because the company has anticipated customers’ problem and you can do the same with your B2B support questions.

What’s especially great is that Koodo doesn’t just end their content and fade to black. Instead, viewers are given three suggestions for more content that they might find helpful in the form of three CTAs.

The B2B marketing lesson? Write down the top three issues your new customers always seem to have and create clear, helpful videos to alleviate your B2B software on-boarding process. You’ll scale your message, impress new customers, and save time.

4. Give an exclusive behind the scenes look

When you think of behind the scenes type content, you might assume you need something really extraordinary happening in order to create it, but this isn’t necessarily true. B2B companies can easily showcase employees and everyday stuff in videos and be super effective.

In a great example, Pixar’s website contains an entire behind the scenes section where they post videos on topics of interest, like set building, 3D models, and stories from animators who have worked on major projects.

Pixar uses prominent videos on their site to do this

Not only are they really beautiful shorts, but these clips ultimately showcase the love that Pixar employees have for their work. This is a terrific way to reinforce your brand’s personality and passion for what you do. If your B2B brand is passionate about the environment or innovation, for example, surely your employees are too and their stories serve to prove that.

Overall, show us how your staff learn, show us the blogs they follow, the videos they watch. Consider creating a series like Lifehacker’s “how I work” and give your audience a means of connecting with your people. It helps with everything from recruitment (who doesn’t want to work where people are super happy and learning new things all the time?), to reinforcing the character of your company.

The Big Lesson here

The main takeaway from these four video examples is that whenever you see a great B2C video, always stop and ask yourself, “what makes this video concept work?”. If you discover the one key thing driving the concept, it’s likely that you’re able to spin it into a concept that works great for B2B video marketing too!

If you’ve been inspired by a great B2C campaign, share it below and tell us why you liked it. Even better, share with us videos you actually created based on B2C inspirations!

Jennifer Pepper