I’ll just say it: Consumer branding gets all the glory. Most winners of the Cannes Lions and other marketing and advertising awards are brands that sell to consumers.

While business to business (B2B) branding has a reputation for being boring, more companies are taking creative cues from business to consumer branding (B2C). The fact is, we can no longer afford for our marketing to be boring. The buttoned-up, “just the facts” corporate tone associated with B2B isn’t effective anymore. As a result, marketers get to have a little more fun, and here’s why we need to.

The business world has changed.

Two decades ago, a B2B brand might have done well to play it safe. But as workplace cultures evolve and millennials constitute the majority of the workforce, B2B branding and marketing strategies must evolve too. Messages that once seemed professional now feel outdated.

The last thing you want is to be out of touch with your target audiences: people researching B2B products for their companies. Even by 2014, nearly half of the customers trying to find you were millennials. This generation has grown up online, freely sharing details of their lives, and shaping work environments that welcome casual dress, pets and telecommuting. This is the context in which your messages are heard — or not.

Marketing is evolving.

B2C and B2B customers today want to try before they buy, giving rise to experiential marketing, such as GE’s award-winning B2B Healthymagination campaign, educating industry professionals about its global healthcare initiative. Letting audiences see, hear, smell, taste and touch what you offer is no longer a nice-to-have — customers expect it. […]

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