How a B2B campaign crushed clichés and won the highest honor
by Randy Mitchell, Creative Director
Clichés are the curse of B2B campaigns.
If you don’t believe it, pick up an industry trade publication and flip through the glossy pages. Or visit a trade association website and check out the digital ads. Most of the approaches will seem blatantly obvious and sadly homogenous.
That fact hit home just one short year ago for the Boomm creative team. We were surveying the landscape before diving into a massive rebranding for an industrial client. Most of the B2B campaigns we saw featured the same four elements:
- Serious looking men…
- Wearing hard hats…
- With their arms crossed…
- In heavy industrial scenes
The thinking behind this approach is that you have to depict scenes of macho confidence or industrial engineers will not accept your ad as legitimate. In essence, you “capture their world” and make them hard hat heroes. This was a breakthrough idea in 1974, but it has become the most common cliché in industrial ads.
Boomm chose to take a very different direction: a B2B campaign that avoided the clichés. And it all began with a three-word mantra.
“No hard hats”
Moving away from the hard hat heroes wouldn’t be easy. But our client, Magnetrol International, deserved it. They needed rebranding that was as courageous as the new direction the company was taking.
For more than 80 years, Magnetrol has been a leader in level measurement technology for a full range of process industries. In recent years, the company has changed from a product-focused approach to a solutions centric model. This was a bold shift in direction for Magnetrol and a very smart strategy given the markets it serves. But how could the new B2B campaign reflect this mindset?
The answer was to create an entirely different type of industrial marketing.
Instead of the hard hat heroes, gritty product shots or epic plant panoramas, this new campaign used vector graphic imagery. This was a truly original approach in the industrial sector and it removed some major barriers.
A graphic approach meant that engineers didn’t have to scrutinize the plant image to see what details were right or wrong, or wonder if the ad even applied to their facility. For example, anyone in the petrochemical industry could identify with a simple, outlined depiction of a plant. This graphic approach truly did “capture their world” because it let the target complete the scene for themselves.
This graphic approach also broke down barriers on the photography, production and planning side. There was no need for expensive location photography or overcoming the challenges of shooting in a busy facility and getting customer permission to do so. In addition, there were no worries about grimy equipment or the logistical challenges of shooting in remote locations. It truly was a budget- and client-friendly approach.
The campaign’s messaging even broke down barriers. It didn’t try to be clever, hard sell or Magnetrol-focused. Instead, it was the voice of the industry.
The creative used insider terms like “rag layers,” “water bottoms” and “dead zones.” For an industrial target, it became instantly clear that Magnetrol spoke their distinct language and understood their genuine pain points. In short, there were no clichés and a meaningful dialogue was started.
New identity and new technology
Boomm also worked with Magnetrol to refine the company’s identity. The centerpiece of this effort was the redesign of the company’s iconic logo. Multiple treatments were explored that offered Magnetrol options ranging from evolutionary to revolutionary. In the end, a modern look was chosen that honored Magnetrol’s past. In essence, the logo reframed the established brand for a fresh generation of decision makers. In addition, a new tagline was developed that focused on Magnetrol’s core business. Two simple words captured the company’s mission: “Level matters.”
The Magnetrol rebranding campaign also leveraged the power of programmatic digital ads. This emerging technology allowed Magnetrol to target the titles and applications that mattered, and the ads appeared in the information sources the target trusted.
Once the campaign hit the market, everything clicked. Magnetrol had a breakthrough conceptual approach, dynamic new identity and highly targeted programmatic ads.
But would the industrial world accept a B2B campaign without clichés?
Award winning results
The new campaign performed exceptionally well on every level.
- Magnetrol landing pages saw a 50% increase in visits due to the campaign
- The ads generated 645+ qualified leads and growing
- The programmatic ads significantly lowered the cost per lead for Magnetrol
The campaign also won the highest honor from the Hermes Creative Awards. It garnered a Platinum Award for integrated marketing campaigns.
To learn more about the award-winning Magnetrol B2B campaign, please visit our portfolio page. And I solemnly promise there is not a single hard hat in sight.