Corporate communications are abundant with video presentations and, consequently, voice over narrations to help better drive their messages with great storytelling. To deliver great performances, voiceover actors always need to know who we’re talking to. So having a firm understanding of the two main types of business marketing is helpful. Narrations in B2B, or business to business communications have a different target audience and delivery than B2C, or business to consumer, messaging. Understanding the difference and thinking about the adjustments needed to address either helps a voice actor prepare a nuanced performance that rises above the crush of other corporate videos in the great beyond.
The B2B vs B2C Customer Relationship
One way to think about the distinction between B2B and B2C is focusing on customer relationships that each is trying to develop. With B2B (or business to business) marketing, the goal is often lead generation – developing partnerships with other businesses that can also foster brand elevation, referral business, and long-term business relationships. Often this involves businesses helping by way of selling services to other businesses who then sell products/services to consumers. So the focus here is on highlighting the company’s business practices, ethics, and mission and why they’d make a good partner.
B2C (or business to consumer) marketing is a more transactional relationship. Yes, brands are still trying to engender loyalty in their customers, through the goal of repeat transactions – consumers who buy a product or service and then return to buy it again or buy other products they offer. The focus here is on highlighting a company’s products and services as a superior solution to the customer’s immediate needs. Consumers buy that answer directly from the source.
Appealing to Heartstrings, or Pursestrings
Another important element to B2B vs B2C marketing is emotional vs logical appeals. In other words, which is being tugged: heartstrings or pursestrings? B2C marketing and voiceover narration are much more focused on simple messaging and emotional appeals. When soliciting consumers, often a problem-solution marketing message focuses on the benefits that the product or service provides. Customers often are not interested in the details of how the products work, their decisions are much more emotionally driven – asking how can this make me happier or make my life better.
B2B is more logic driven, focusing on cost savings, time, and resources saved. Here marketing campaigns are often longer and more in-depth and the focus is again building durable relationships. Often a B2B strategy is less heartstrings and more bottom line. When emotions do enter the storyline they are linked to company pain points, relief at overcoming them, and subsequent celebration or joy in relishing the benefits to all.
Target Audience Engagement – What Is The Content?
Often a clue to whether a project is B2B or B2C is the content of the communication. How does the brand keep the target audience engaged? Keeping in mind that B2B is about nurturing relationships and B2C is about personal appeals, you can often glean which style is intended for a video by what the content focuses on.
B2B videos are more likely to focus on details. They may be explainer videos & demos that highlight the main features of the products/services, or presentations that include references to white papers or eBooks that showcase the details of products/services. Sometimes they are mission statements that focus on business practices or present stats and figures related to the product/services.
B2C videos are more often focused on information that a customer might be interested in such as what the company aligns itself with, price and discount information, product availability and delivery information or the details of products presented in the form of features or demonstrations.
The Language in B2B vs B2C Videos
Along with content, the style of language used also varies between B2B and B2C videos. Along with a more technical focus on features and product elements, B2B terminology is almost always more technical and jargon-laced. Marketing in this space will focus on ROI, modeling, education and detailed content. It will speak to the chain of command in terms they’re familiar with such as “procurement”, “accounting”, “protocols”, “approvals”, etc.
B2C terminology is almost always more casual. It veers away from industry jargon and focuses on clear, simple, conversational language. It is often more concise. Emotional language that stirs a response and compels a purchase or brand loyalty is more common. Wording used here is often more fun, compassionate, impassioned, or wry to appeal directly to consumers.
Voice Actor Performance Considerations for Corporate Narration
Now that we’ve identified the elements of B2B vs B2C corporate narration, how does that help a voice actor performing it? The voice over role in corporate narration is to represent the brand. Many players intersect business communications: suppliers, vendors, investors, consumers, staff and communities within which businesses operate. Knowing who you are speaking to, whether it is other businesses or consumers directly helps voice actors better create engaging narration deliveries that appropriately resonate with target audiences.
But just because B2B videos are often more informative, less emotional and more logic-driven, doesn’t mean a dispassionate approach is always the right direction. The content will dictate the pace and tone. While there may be less variation in pitch and tempo – delivering information rather than making emotional appeals in most B2B communications, it isn’t always the case.
Direct appeals to consumers in B2C messaging, more often than not leads to greater emotional play. Always look for transitions in the script. Opportunities where you might change up your delivery pace, add a dramatic pause or billboard an important appeal. You might vary your tempo or modulate your volume to more conversational deliveries and really lean into the emotions. Treat those lean-ins like spice in your narration recipe – not enough and your mix is bland, too much and it’s inedible.
No matter the type of Corporate Narration, knowing the target audience helps select the tools to quickly dial into any script and give a performance that outshines the competition.
Dean Moody says
Terrific points, Kim! As always. I noticed strong clues in the text of a corporate video script as to whether it’s a B2B or a B2C, but your article is a great reminder how different the VO’s approach ought to be on each type. Much appreciated.