As we mentioned before, the future of B2B is to stop acting like “B2B as usual” and start acting like humans. A content marketing peer recently asked me the difference between B2B and B2C audience building. The overarching theme of my response was that no matter what, the decision makers are still people. I think a company’s people equals its brand, and many B2B companies are living this out in their strategies. Check out these 4 B2B brands to know and watch in 2021.

Drift

This one is a layup. If you’re reading this, you’re likely familiar with Drift’s unique brand and content. Like I said, it’s all about people. Drift’s content is created and distributed in many forms and by many people. It’s rare; Drift builds and cultivates personal brands from within.

“Drift is the Conversational Marketing platform that combines chat, email, video, and automation to remove the friction from business buying. With Drift, you can start conversations with future customers now, on their terms -- not days later. There are over 50,000 businesses that use Drift today to generate more revenue, shrink sales cycles, and make buying easy. Our mission is to use conversations to make business buying frictionless, more enjoyable, and more human.”

Webflow

Perhaps this one is also a layup. I know, you don’t have to be a business to use Webflow. It’s still B2B! :) If brands equal people, then Webflow’s brand is unrivaled. First, I recommend checking out the founder’s story of grit, sacrifice, and patience. It made me second-guess my level of commitment and desire to start a business. Another big component of B2B brands we love is community. Community, while overstated at times, is the ultimate competitive advantage if done right. Webflow’s community is strong, especially among the No-Code Movement folks.

“Webflow empowers designers to create beautiful, responsive websites—without writing a single line of code, or relying on a developer. Its drag-and-drop interface looks, feels, and works like familiar desktop design tools, and writes clean, semantic code any developer would be proud of. Get started today—for free—but brace yourself: your workflow's about to be transformed. Webflow is backed by Y Combinator, Khosla Ventures, Tim Draper, and other awesome investors.”

Lessonly

If you haven’t heard of Lessonly, you will. Lessonly is probably my favorite company that (1) I haven’t used and (2) I don’t personally know anyone who works there. People; check. Community; check. From their social media accounts to their website, Lessonly gets that its people are its brand. Importantly, their CEO and CMO both have incredible personal brands. I may be a fan boy for their CMO, Kyle Lacy, and I listened to their CEO Max Yoder speak about mental health during a personal low point of the pandemic. Sound like a place you’d want to work? That’s a big-time brand.

“Lessonly is powerfully simple training software that helps teams learn, practice, and do better work. We enable busy teams to get on the same page, stay ahead of change, and deliver amazing experiences to customers and prospects.”

Elate

Did you know otters hold hands to prevent themselves from drifting away from the group? I’m sure this imagery is why Elate’s brand mascot is Otto the otter. That, and it begins with “o” like “operations.” This is the newest company on our list of B2B brands to know and watch in 2021. And, hot off the press, you can now start a free trial as of yesterday. Elate has already shown they know how to tell a story, and I’m excited to follow it in 2021.

“Meet the newest addition to your operations team. Elate's all-in-one operations platform provides high growth tech leaders with the easiest software to track goals and KPIs for your team and investors in real-time.”

People, communities, and stories.

Whether it’s B2B, B2C, B2B2C, or whatever else you can think of, this is how I evaluate brand.

These three things are not your audience or social media followers.

These three things are meaningful engagement and real emotions.

What are your favorites? Who are you watching this year? Let me know!

Disclaimer: Enterprise Content Marketing is a Webflow customer. Beyond that, ECM is not partnered with the companies mentioned.

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