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‘Human beings enjoy stories: Why B2B doesn’t have to mean ‘boring to blah’

Salesforce's CMO Scott Larson has led creative for some of the world's biggest brands.
Salesforce's CMO Scott Larson has led creative for some of the world's biggest brands. Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Annabel MurphyHannah Brown
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‘B2B can stand for brilliant to beautiful’: Salesforce Global Head of Brand & Creative, Scott Larson explains why empathy is so important in marketing

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Scott Larson knows how to sell ideas. As the current head of global brand marketing and creative for Salesforce and a former creative director at Facebook, Larson has led numerous campaigns, producing inspiring and award-winning content across traditional, digital and social media platforms.

Yet, his approach to making successful campaigns is surprisingly simple. Euronews Business sat down with Larson at the 2024 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity to learn more about his perspective on creativity and storytelling.

“I'm happy as a creative. If you gave me a rock, I’d get so excited I'd lock myself up in a room for a week, coming up with ideas to sell a rock.

“As far as whether it can be creative or not, I think at the end of the day, human beings enjoy stories.”

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes

When it comes to marketing any product or service, maintaining a relentless focus on the target audience and crafting messages that resonate with them is crucial.

Easier said than done, explains Larson, because marketers often get bogged down on the product's features and benefits, losing sight of why someone should actually care.

By shifting the perspective to one of empathy and truly putting yourself in the customer’s shoes to understand what value they will gain, you can create messages that resonate and address the ‘so what?’ factor. 

“People think that B2B needs to be Boring to Blah, right? And I'm a big believer that B2B can stand for brilliant to beautiful,” Larson explains.

“Whether you're B2B or B2C, I think it's B2P—business to people.”.

“Ultimately you have to make people care. Intellectually, emotionally, maybe aesthetically, whatever it is, you have to make them care.”

Furthermore, marketers must look beyond their own walls to to understand how their product aligns with a broader social purpose and tell stories that encompass that bigger, bolder viewpoint. 

“Human beings enjoy stories. While technology may be timely, storytelling is timeless,” he said.

AI will help elevate creative ideas

Echoing the sentiments of many attendees at Cannes 2024, Larson expressed a positive view on the power of AI. He believes AI will enable marketers to create personalised, creative content for their customer base, leading to deeper personal connections.

“I truly believe that AI is going to make humans relate to humans even more,“ he declared.

Moreover, AI enhances human creativity and ingenuity, rather than replacing it. When using generative AI, humans are needed to write the AI prompts, making them the originators of new ideas.

“The definition of a new idea is taking two things that already exist and putting them together to create something new. When you're using AI, you have to prompt and tell the AI to do that. So you - the human - must begin with the creative idea.

Watch the video above to learn more about Scott Larson’s tips for creative thinking.

You can see more content from Cannes Lions here.

Video editor • Joanna Adhem

Additional sources • Filmed by Arnaud Augst

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