The five Cs of a great B2B story


Caroline Petvin


16th December 2022

“Where do you work?”

It’s a question that makes hearts sink across the B2B technology space, simply because the reply almost always provokes a confused look and perhaps a follow-up question along the lines of –

“Oh. What do they do?”

And that’s a question you’ll rarely have a coherent answer to. Unless, of course, you’ve got your brand story nailed.

That’s something we can help you with.

Your brand story

Every brand has a story, or perhaps multiple stories to tell. Yes, even brands that operate in the B2B space. Sometimes they just need a little help to unearth these stories and put them to good use. And we’re not talking about the origin stories you find on the company’s ‘about us’ page.

We’re talking about meaningful brand-level stories that define companies, connect them with their audiences, and bring a competitive advantage. We’re talking about the stories that explain the unique value your brand brings to a particular group of customers with a specific problem or need.

Your brand narrative is undoubtedly your most important, overarching story, that communicates your brand positioning to anyone that needs to know it – flexing for audiences ranging from customers and partners to investors and employees. But it can be expanded and embellished with complementary storytelling for different product lines, channels or audiences, or for your thought leadership program.

At Beneath, stories are where we play. We’ve helped countless B2B tech brands discover and craft their stories, so we know a great narrative when we see, hear or otherwise stumble across one. We’ve been discussing the common traits that link the most successful stories, and have compiled these into five Cs because, let’s face it, everything feels instantly more manageable when you apply a little alliteration.

Check out these five traits to discover whether your own B2B brand stories cut the mustard, make the grade, or just generally get prospective customers to sit up and pay attention.

  • Clarity – Your story is a logical argument presented creatively. Before anyone can buy into it, they have to understand it. So a number of things have to be crystal clear: the intended audience, the premises of the argument, and the logic that carries us irresistibly to the solution: these people need what you’re selling.
  • Conflict – B2B stories are a bit like short stories in that they’re essentially about change. But they have more in common with Hollywood blockbusters, where conflict drives the action and maintains suspense. So identify your protagonist’s deepest desires, raise the stakes, and stick a villain in their path.
  • Celebration – Every story needs a happy ending so, once you’ve piled on the doom and gloom, it’s time to offer salvation. Your customers have faced an existential threat, but (spoiler alert), a hero has emerged to save them (that’s you). It’s a cause for celebration! Company-branded bubbly all round. Spread the good news.
  • Credibility – As the narrator of your brand story, you’re hardly reliable on your own. You need to back up your claims with credible proof. Pitching for investment? Tell them all about your founders’ amazing qualifications, your beta product and your super-long waiting list. Selling to prospects? Show them how you’ve already won and wowed companies like them.
  • Character – By the time you’ve worked on all of the above, your story should already be brimming with character. The best brands (and their stories) have vivid personalities, but this isn’t something you hastily slap on slide 48 of your brand deck. The same applies to tone of voice. Character isn’t just how you tell ‘em – it’s what you say. If you have a story worth telling, and you have fun while you do it, its style will emerge with its substance.

If these five Cs sound a little familiar, it’s probably because you’ve recently come across them in our Storyful brands and how to build them guide. If they don’t then you’re clearly missing out, so what are you waiting for?

Take me to the guide

Or if you’d rather have a chat with us about exploring your own brand story? Well we can do that too.