Mention that you work in B2B amongst a group of creative friends, and it’s likely to raise a few eyebrows…and a few sympathetic pats on the back. Take a straw poll and you’ll see B2B has a bit of a bad reputation amongst the creative community. People think that it’s boring, unimaginative and worst of all, allows little to no creativity. For creatives at least, it often conjures up thoughts of stock photography featuring cheesy handshakes, or constant repetition of the word ‘solutions’.
It’s a view I rather ignorantly held myself before I started working in B2B, but it’s a view that changed very quickly; walking into a creative room full of lightsabers and a life-size wall sticker of Han Solo probably helped a little.
The first myth to dispel is that you’ll be working for boring clients – selling screws to light bulb manufacturers, or timer switches to people who make boilers. It’s an obvious point to make, but some of the world’s biggest brands operate in the B2B market – BT, Microsoft, British Airways, Vodafone…the list is endless. And lets be honest, just because a business operates in the B2C sector, doesn’t mean it’s going to be a barrel of laughs, does it?
I’ve found that, as a young copywriter, working in B2B is especially beneficial for my own development. You get to write for a varied spectrum of different businesses; working with a range of different tones of voice and writing styles really gives you a chance to test yourself and improve your writing skills. You also learn a hell of a lot of interesting and useful information, whether that’s about new sources of renewable energy or advances in automotive technology, and often you’ll find yourself writing insight pieces or white papers. As well as being interesting, getting papers published is also going to raise your standing and improve your employability as a writer.
Designers, too, can have some real fun working in B2B. When you’re working on brochures such as end of year reports, you often have a blank canvas to do with what you please; you may find that some of your most beautiful and proudest work comes from the unlikeliest of starter subjects. And the people who work in B2B are not boring zombies who can only think about data sheets and boilerplates. They’re just as adept at beating me on Call of Duty as the guys in the other agencies I’ve worked at.
I’m not trying to suggest that working in B2B is all rock ‘n’ roll and Star Wars. Just like in any other agency, there’s times when you’ll be proof checking a two hundred page brochure for the fifth or sixth time, and want to bang your head through the wall. Or times when you feel client amends get in the way of a beautiful piece of work.
And therein lies the most important point. Working in a B2B agency is just like working in any other agency. The stigma that seems to be attached to it amongst the creative community is completely undeserved. Sure, it requires different skill sets sometimes, and often asks for a different way of thinking, but it’s essentially doing the same job you love in a bit of a different setting. And as long as you’re doing a job you love, in an industry you love working in, what more could you want?