Case Study of the Month | December 2023 | Editor’s pick
“B2B marketing can often be dry, with a specific focus on logical arguments. We selected Avanade’s campaign as our case study of the month as a great example of the power that emotion and storytelling can have, even on B2B buyers.”
— Rose Keen, Senior Analyst, Econsultancy
Avanade wanted to raise brand awareness in a competitive market. Working with agency Hear Near Next, the company created a global, multi-channel content and advertising campaign based around human storytelling, to drive emotional engagement and trust. The ‘Do What Matters’ communication strategy highlighted Avanade’s human impact on its people, clients and communities. Running from early 2022 to July 2023, the 19-month campaign drove a 190% increase in Avanade’s sales pipeline and a 40% uplift in website visitors across global markets.
Objectives and aims
Avanade research showed that only 13% of its target audiences were aware of the brand. However, those who were aware of Avanade thought it was different, relevant and beneficial.
Therefore, the objective was to grow brand awareness at scale by leveraging the brand attributes which already engaged users.
Implementation, execution and key tactics
The strategy was to bring to life the impact Avanade had on its clients, employees and communities via the emotive ‘Do What Matters’ storytelling campaign. This was communicated across the five following key areas of activity:
- Thought leadership content: a Leading Voices programme demonstrated Avanade’s brand values by showcasing the stories and views of its experts and executives. This ongoing content was seeded via a digital PR and a social media campaign to build trust among clients, employees, media and partners. Topics included how to thrive in turbulent times, the future of work and Generative AI.
- Client ambassador content: a series of stories from clients such as Toyota, AQA, IRC, Seattle Children’s Hospital and SSE were seeded via earned, owned, and paid media opportunities. These human-led stories raised awareness of how Avanade helps clients achieve their organisational goals. They also positioned clients as forward-thinking leaders, which helped drive market trust and engagement.
- Visual identity refresh: The new identity was used to refresh Avanade’s website, media, paid digital and social assets and over 100 multi-channel templates including sales materials, client outreach content and recruitment marketing content.
A digital advertising campaign was run across nine markets to drive awareness of the new brand message and story-based content. LinkedIn and YouTube videos were supported with ads across the Google display network and Programmatic Adroll display.
- Regional brand-building: Assets were created and housed on a global campaigns hub to be used by regional teams through their own channels, including targeted campaigns in North America, Australia, Brazil and South-East Asia. Awareness-driving digital advertising campaigns were used for other markets such as Japan, which were key in terms of revenue but suffered from low brand awareness.
- Leveraging Accenture and Microsoft as sales partners: a targeted LinkedIn campaign focused on the North American market to remind sellers about Avanade’s benefits, educate them on how they worked well together and highlighted shared Microsoft stories. This resulted in 71 engaged contacts from Director level to the C-Suite across five hubs in North America.
- 129% increase in marketing originating pipeline
- 40% increase in website homepage visits to our homepage in the first month of the campaign, with 75,000 new users
- 26 million impressions with a total social reach of 773,000
- 710,000 video views with a 38% video view rate