Is storytelling still a relevant part of digital marketing in 2020?

For the past decade, all advice around content marketing has rested on the concept of storytelling. Popular advice has always been that every company has a story, and the only way to connect with your audience was by finding a way to share this story. But is this advice still relevant today? And was the advice ever relevant to B2B companies?
There are a few reasons that this advice resonates with marketing professionals. B2B and B2C will always be about human interaction. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling diggers or diamonds, the customer will always be a person with their own thoughts and belief structures.

Should B2B companies tell stories?

There is a compelling case for humanising your company and brand by telling stories. It doesn’t matter what you are selling, you are still selling to people, and storytelling is a great way to connect with people. But is this tactic still relevant in 2020?
Consumers are becoming far more skeptical of marketing messages. But this could be the result of everything falling into the trap of telling the stories they think their customers want to hear. When Pepsi tried to connect their brand to the social activism movement, the reception was flat.
Companies like Uber and Amazon aren’t wasting any time trying to convince their customers that they are wholesome. Instead, they rely on the knowledge that no one else is doing what they do on the same scale. And they rely on the fact that you, the customer, know this too. You might not like the way Uber treat their drivers, but you can’t deny that their service is convenient and ubiquitous. B2B companies would do well to follow their lead.

Rethinking storytelling

It might help if we try to reframe what it means to tell stories in a B2B setting. Instead of trying to turn your company into a family-owned, homespun local hero, you should focus instead on showing how you make your mark on the world. Show, don’t tell is the best possible advice that B2B companies could receive in 2020. 
Video content is growing in popularity. When communicating complex concepts, users are far more likely to retain information from visuals. Images, infographics and videos will all do a far better job of selling your company than pages and pages of text. Copywriting certainly still has a place, but it should be used alongside other assets.
We used to rely on text to get our pages noticed by search engines and to secure organic traffic, but search engines now look at the bigger picture. Images, videos, links, reviews and social media interactions are now just as important as the words you use to describe your company. For B2B companies, storytelling is just as relevant as it has ever been, but the stories we tell won’t be the same as a B2C company.