Innovating in B2B: tips from the night

Innovating in B2B: tips from the night

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On 1 May at Vinopolis we came together to enjoy an evening of cheese, wine and insight from three brands on how they are taking risks to gain market share

Ray Snoddy quizzed the panel providing the audience with some top tips, from digital to brand innovation.

Nick Allen, Vice President, Strategy and Portfolio, Shell, provided key points such as how to innovate given the scale of unknown risks and how Shell are overcoming these risks to benefit the brand and the customer.

Nick’s tips

  • Get your head out of the day-to-day - look at what’s important to your customers right now
  • Start with digital when thinking about communicating – provides immediate access to feedback
  • The ability to connect your business globally is critical
  • Believe in your employee’s abilities when it comes to social media and they will respect that
  • Go for the technical sell - focus on what value you can provide the customer
  • Digital can help a brand integrate global and local internally as well as externally
  • The importance of moving people around the business to share skills - B2B staff bring a commercial edge to B2C
  • If you become more important to suppliers you gain more business
  • Connecting 100,000 staff is a great source of ideas, the only way to do this is through digital

Peter Thomas, Executive Director, Marketing & Communications UKI, Accenture, echoed many of the same points including the transition from 24-hour breaking news to 20-second breaking news making media the biggest threat to brands.

Peter’s tips

  • Focus on the relationship with your customer and how you communicate with them
  • You need the skills and confidence to tell your brand story
  • Hospitality is good if managed appropriately and is subtle
  • The biggest threat to a brand is media
  • Digital isn’t just social media; for B2B LinkedIn forums and blogs are more powerful
  • With social media don’t say anything you wouldn’t say face-to-face in a room full of strangers
  • Make better use of internal portals
  • Test innovating in B2C space – there’s lots to learn in terms of applying customer methods to B2B
  • Balance digital and traditional methods
  • Global brand guidelines are essential, but your job is to challenge them – you are the local expert
  • When it comes new ideas, ban PowerPoints

Annabel Venner, Global Brand Director, Hiscox, reminded us that with the move to digital there is still a place for face-to-face meetings.

Annabel’s tips

  • Send staff social media guidelines and remember to think twice before tweeting out about the brand
  • Understand the role social media plays as platforms are constantly changing
  • Don’t take away face-to-face contact – still very important to customers
  • Holding everyone to account on how to engage with customers helps global expansion
  • Importance of brand architecture and formalising what a brand does – Hiscox launched a book communicating values
  • Come up with new ideas internally - staff are a great source
  • Know where you want your brand to be and then work out how to get there

Upcoming events

Next up is the launch of our Manifesto for Sustainable Growth. Join the President of our Society, Amanda Mackenzie, and a panel of distinguised marketers to debate the future of our industry at the launch of our new Marketing Manifesto.


Author: The Marketing Society
Posted: 13 May 2013
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