B2B Storytelling That Keeps it Real

Just like in the realm of B2C, effective storytelling is fundamental to marketing in B2B. The key differentiator for brands is to make the stories not about how amazing they are but about the amazing results the businesses that use their solutions are able to achieve. That’s the key to a subtle shift in messaging at Dell Technologies. 

As we saw in “B2B Marketing: Who’s Your Hero?” this is exactly what brands should be doing in drawing on the stories of heroic journeys, in which a magical object can be brought back into the hero’s world to solve what appeared to be an insurmountable labor. Accordingly,  Dell Technologies is now showcasing its “Let’s Make it Real” effort, in the context of the real world where heroic businesses are applying the magic of its technology. 

Dell Technologies launched the “Let’s Make it Real” brand campaign on March 27. While the tagline dates back three years, the brand decided to take a new direction, in shifting away from the stage setting that puts the spotlight on digital transformation as magic to real-world scenarios in which digital transformation can have a magical effect. 

The following video represents the brand message Dell Technologies used in the commercial that aired last year.

Actor Jeffrey Wright presents the special effects, in a theater, that go with the defining message: “‘Magic can’t make digital transformation happen. But we can. Let’s make it real.’”  So while it’s about making things real, the setting stresses the magic. 

More real 

While Jeffrey Wright, who is very popular among the company’s customers,  is still telling the story, he now does so in a different context. The spots that just aired now show the special effect of an animated data stream drawn into  a real world setting, to allow the businesses using Dell Technologies to solve serious problems like malaria. 

In the the video ad entitled “Outrunning Disease,” Jeffrey Wright stands in a swamp that draws mosquitoes, holding a satellite in his hands. He explains how the satellite becomes a tool to counter disease in the way it is used by Draper. Draper uses Dell Technologies to analyze satellite imagery in its work of tracking diseases like malaria. 


“Faster Health” is set on a racetrack where Jeffrey Wright tells us how the racing car company McLaren took the leap into healthcare by applying the predictive analytics it had used to design faster cars to bodies, utilizing Dell Technologies to customize healthcare.   

Targeting businesses with authentic stories 

I spoke with Liz Matthews, SVP of Global Brand and Experiential Marketing about what Dell Technologies regards as its biggest creative shift in the past three years, as the customers’ stories of digital transformation journeys move off the stage and into real-world scenarios. It’s about living up to today’s audiences’ demands for authenticity. 

“Demand for authenticity from the customer is paramount,” Mathews said. 

That is what influenced the new campaign direction, which moves the actor off the sound stage featured in the video from last year into the real world. Instead of only “talking about what’s possible,” she explained, “we wanted to tell real stories about what our customers are doing and introduce this to the world.”  

The campaign is aimed at “the CxO business decision-maker who influences purchase decisions for investment and infrastructure, as well as tech,” she said. “The integrated campaign is running globally on both linear and connected TV with a robust presence on digital for search and some targeted airport advertising aimed at the business traveler.”  

“As far as company size,” Matthews stated, “[Dell Technologies is] hitting from small to mid-sized [businesses], all the way up to the largest organizations.” She added that Dell Technologies does serve “about 99 percent” of Fortune 500 companies. 

I asked her about the fact that two out of three new video ads touch on healthcare. She answered that while they made a point of telling stories about both “bigger, more well known companies and smaller ones,” they found a point of common interest. “What we’re finding is healthcare is one of the most important and relevant industries impacted by the advent of technology.” 

But other industries will get to have their stories told, as well. “This campaign will continue to evolve,” Mathews said. The plan is to continue to roll out “customer stories and actual technology solutions” that will showcase “new solutions from Dell Technologies in the marketplace.”  

They will keep the balance between realism and magic. While the campaign will continue to “present our creative in realistic environments,” she explained, they will still hold on to “the idea of tech making the world a more magical place.” 

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