I often fail to convince B2B companies that they can use stories as well as consumer brands. Their skepticism is based on the prejudiced idea that people at work are different from people in their daily lives.

But if you reflect one second on what you aspire to when you work, it is as much about feeling good, inspired, motivated, enthusiastic about the people, the mission, the tasks.

I don't mean B2B companies should all have a frivolous tone. But you can always mix solid expertise with a human touch. Even Microsoft knows it ;) 

This infographic, made with the creative team of Column Five, helped Microsoft better target marketers. It's not some cool hipster stuff. It's beautiful solid facts.

To return to email marketing, I've recently received this lovely invitation from Ideo to join their next e-learning program.

You instantly feel the human touch with:

  • the banner image showing a pen, a spiral-bound notebook and colorful post-its. The background image itself is a small-squared sheet of paper, that suggests the freedom of note taking, as opposed to the fear of final drafting.
  • the personal message from the founder of the company, David Kelley, as opposed to an impersonal marketing sales pitch.
  • child-like drawings on the mood board of post-its.
  • pictures of the 2 people giving a testimonial, as opposed to company logos.
  • a warm end note that goes like this: "We hope to see you in the course and until then - don’t let your ideas vanish into thin air! Yours in learning, The IDEO U Team".
  • the call-to-action button that is about the user, not the company:

On the other hand, you can easily perceive the performance of the company through:

  • the email subject: "Turn your ideas into impact."
  • the credentials of the founder: it's not just a message from David, it's from "David Kelley, founder of Ideo and the Stanford d.school". If you didn't know Ideo was one of the most prestigious innovation agency, the reputation of Stanford should do the trick.
  • the credentials of the 2 people giving a testimonial.

So, are you ready to give it a try?