How design and creativity are reshaping B2B

Once seen as the dull end of marketing, B2B brands are recognising the power of design to reach new audiences. Here Lucie Greene, founder of consultancy Light Years, examines the impact this is having on the sector and beyond

“What is it with this lame ass legal tech? Hello!? Really?” So exclaims gold body-painted American character Lady Justice in a recently launched ad for Disco, an AI-powered legal software platform. She continues: “I love the law. I frickin’ love it.” But, she says, “my toaster has more advanced legal software in it…. If you don’t have Disco I can only assume you hate your families and don’t want to go home.” The campaign signs off with the slogan ‘Law Better’.

B2B marketing — previously more closely associated with fusty men in suits, Times New Roman-esque fonts and 2000s stock imagery – is undergoing, dare it be said, a bit of a renaissance at the moment.

From legal software, to financial tools, to robotics companies, to pharmaceuticals, a host of companies are going bold with radical rebrands; bright unexpected colours; merch!; pithy campaigns; and big name stars. And in many ways stepping outside all previous perceptions of their category.

“The strategic problem that most B2B businesses face is that no-one knows who we are or what we do,” explains Disco’s CMO Tom Furr. “A shift has occurred as digital marketing becomes more important, and where lots of companies are fighting for the same customers and have to differentiate. That happened in B2C but is now happening in B2B. They’re all marketing to the same people, ultimately, and if you’re not doing something interesting, no-one notices. You have to be bold.”