It’s no secret that when it comes to Industrial PR, there are limitations to what companies can achieve within the corporate style guide – and unfortunately, too often industrial companies play it too much by the book, creating PR campaigns which are, quite frankly, boring and unoriginal.

Yet, there are some agencies and clients willing to take a risk, coming up with campaigns that take a B2C vibe and repurpose it for an industrial audience. Although it’s important to have a corporate persona that’s right for your product or service, the trend to make B2B communications more human is being seen across the industry.

This blog will explore some of the best, and successful industrial PR campaigns we have seen, which overcome the limitations presented by the corporate style guide.

Volvo Trucks Viral Video

Volvo trucks, a Swedish automotive manufacturer, showed that viral video is not limited to consumer PR.

With the unusual approach to have Jean-Claude Van Dam do the splits between two Volvo trucks, the B2B video aimed to change the perception of Volvo as a safe and boring option, and instead capture the imagination of lorry buyers and the general public at large across several platforms.

Adopting some of the style and sleek look of consumer car ads, the campaign video went on to receive over 80 million views.

Cisco and 5G RuralFirst: Me+Moo

Recruiting cows as part of your campaign may not be the most obvious strategy but it worked for 5G RuralFirst, a consortium led by Cisco. When it wanted to raise interest in rural test-beds and trials for 5G wireless at sites across the UK, the group developed an app called Me+Moo, in which users could connect with a real-life cow and track its health via a “moonitor” dashboard.

Quirky it may have been, but it certainly worked – within the first month, 11,000 users had the app and it gained coverage by Reuters, the BBC and the New York Times.


Storekit’s London Pint Map

When you fancy a few drinks with friends, it’s often best to use public transport. This was part of the thinking behind StoreKit’s innovative campaign. Designed to help raise awareness of its point of sale software for pubs, the company came up with a version of the London Underground map that showed the cheapest pint in every pub closest to each station.

Research for the map involved StoreKit contacting hundreds of pubs, its core audience, while the fun aspect of a map showing where to get the cheapest beer got it plenty of consumer coverage, including in such London stalwarts as the London Evening Standard and Timeout. Altogether the online campaign got 690,000 views – it was also very cost effective, with only one staff member employed for the whole project.

Dow – Official Chemistry Company of the Olympic Games

What do you think of when you imagine corporate sponsors of the Olympics? More Nike and Coca Cola than one of the world’s largest industrial chemical companies?

With its global appeal to sports fans of all ages, the Olympics is the ideal consumer marketing vehicle, but Dow saw it as a chance to brings its own expertise to the world’s attention. An extensive web site and social media presence on LinkedIn and Twitter details how Dow uses partnerships with professional athletes, sports organizations and global sporting events like the Olympics to show how its solutions can benefit its customers and society at large. As official carbon partner of the International Olympic Committee, Dow is bringing its expertise to help reduce the carbon footprint of each Games, while helping other businesses and communities to do the same.

The company is using its social media feed presence to show how a chemical company can protect wildlife while also designing a better golf ball and help recycle sport shoes into new training facilities.

Overall, its’s got a much more B2C feel, looking at issues that consumers find important. Dow uses this campaign to connect with companies that want to partner with an industrial supplier that also knows how to connect with end users.


Expect the Unexpected

The best industrial B2B campaigns are breaking away from what’s expected and using the lessons from their B2C brethren – humour, quirkiness and a willingness to go beyond what’s expected.

Never forget that industrial buyers are also consumers and that they see a lot of consumer campaigns and respond to them, so there’s no reason why consumer campaign techniques can’t work in the B2B space. All it takes is a little bravery.