Some days it feels like being a B2B marketer for a well-established, older company is the hardest job in the advertising world. You need to play in modern spaces with messaging and tactics that reach the right audiences. At the same time, you probably have a lot of stakeholders to satisfy — stakeholders who maybe don’t trust newer approaches to marketing or messaging changes as much as you do.
What if we told you there’s a way to appeal to those stakeholders and modern buyers?
It all comes down to trust
As you know, the more consumers or buyers trust a brand, the more likely they are to do business with that brand. According to the 2023 Edelman’s Trust Barometer, people worldwide are pretty wary of, well, everything. Except, it turns out, businesses.
From the study: “Business has increased its ethics score for the third straight year, rising 20 points since 2020. It is the only institution viewed as both competent and ethical.” (Emphasis added because whoa.)
“Only Business is competent and ethical, sustains rise in ethics for third year” — 2023 Edelman’s Trust Barometer
Yep. More than governments, more than media, more than pretty much anything. If you read the whole study (and we suggest you do!) of course you’ll see that there are a lot of things contributing to this belief. But the takeaway for our purposes here is this:
Businesses that can deliver trustworthy information, authentically and transparently, are seen as one avenue to bring people together during highly polarizing times.
Sounds to us like there’s a way to appeal to those stakeholders we mentioned earlier and modern buyers, and it has a whole lot to do with your brand’s history.
Historic brands have a messaging advantage
At CID we work with a few businesses that have been around for a century or longer. We’ve helped their CMOs and marketing directors lean into their brand’s history to get an edge with modern buyers.
We recommend using the brand’s longevity as part of a larger marketing message for a few reasons:
History equals stability. If your organization has weathered a lot of ups and downs and is still here, that says something to your audience. Your product or service has literally stood the test of time, and sometimes that’s more appealing than something that hasn’t been proven yet. In industries where consistency matters, this can be a huge selling point.
History triggers nostalgia. Remember the “good old days?” Your organization was there for them, whatever they were. You can offer a new generation a taste of something that they can’t get anywhere else, like a way of living or doing business that seems all but lost. It’s a powerful feeling and it’s ok to bring it to the forefront when it’s right for your brand.
Your product or service has literally stood the test of time…that’s a huge selling point.
History is authentic. You can’t fake it. Unless you have a time machine, but if you do you probably don’t need our marketing insights (thanks for reading though!).
Authenticity, credibility, consistency, stability…that all adds up to one word. Trust.
But won’t we look out of touch?
Weaving a B2B brand’s history into messaging and advertising that appeals to modern buyers can be, we admit, a tough needle to thread. But it’s definitely not impossible.
If your organization is still here because you’ve been able to evolve, adapt, and anticipate the needs of your market, you could build on that by saying you’re going to keep doing that (and then, of course, actually doing it).
If you’re still here because your product or service hasn’t changed and that’s why people keep coming back again and again, use that as your messaging foundation.
Think about what your audience values. Think about what your company’s history stands for. Where those two things meet is where you’ll find your strongest message.
Packaged the right way in advertising, content marketing pieces, or wherever you share your story, it can satisfy internal stakeholders who may be reluctant to try newer channels or platforms because you aren’t abandoning who you are and where you came from to do it. It can satisfy modern buyers who may be on those platforms because your message of trust, consistency, and authenticity resonates.
The bottom line: If your company has been strong enough to weather decades of change, you have a story and an advantage that others simply can’t deny. We say: use it.
CID has nearly 30 years of experience helping brands connect with their audiences. Find out how we can help you. Contact us now.