FRIDAY 19 JUL 2013 2:53 PM


B2B brands have a tough time communicating their corporate story to consumers. While everyone’s favourite FMCG and consumer brands – Apple, IKEA, Guinness – consistently top brand, reputation and communications charts, other industries fall short in many of these rankings, particularly those that operate in the B2B space.

Aesop, a brand storytelling agency, released a survey of 1,500 people in the UK ranking the best storytelling brands. Apple, as per usual, topped seven of the 10 categories, with sky-high marks in authenticity and memorability. The rest of the top 10 was filled out by prominent FMCG  and retail firms, and BMW. This may not come as a surprise to the average consumer. Particularly as most of the bottom 10 are utilities or telecoms companies.

Such firms may be skilled at internal or B2B communications, but fail to effectively tell their stories to consumers. Aesop’s strategy director and co-founder Ed Woodcock says, “One of the most important elements of a story is a hero’s sense of mission or purpose - the nobler the better. Even though utilities could be said to have a noble mission (say, bringing light and warmth to every home), perhaps the story the consumer tends to hear is ‘fat cat utility rips off defenseless consumers’. Maybe it’s because the press loves to hate utilities – the epitome of the faceless corporation – or maybe because actions can tell a story as loudly as words.”

Scottish & Southern Energy, for example, while ranked last in the utilities sector, puts a substantial amount of focus on its stakeholder and internal communications. This personality and brand assets, however, rarely make it into the public conscious.