Firstly, thank you for stopping by our website. More importantly, thank you for taking an interest in the story of Rooster Punk.
7 years ago, we made one of those ‘follow your heart’ decisions and set up an agency doing something unheard of in B2B land – storytelling. Back in 2013 there was only a handful of people on LinkedIn who used the storyteller moniker in their profile. Today, there are millions. Why the change?
Back in 2013, we had a vision for B2B marketing that was beyond talking about speeds and feeds and beyond the obsession with short-term lead generation. A vision that put customers and employees first and used emotion and storytelling as a way to build meaning and relevance. We wanted to help brands ‘create’ customers that bought into their story, rather than competing in an arms race of factory-line content and martech chasing ‘leads’ to feed the demand-gen machine.
It set us off on a path to create the world’s most admired, creative-led, B2B storytelling agency. Back then hope, ambition and belief drove the agency forward. We soon realised that most B2B marketers were not ready for this more human and emotional approach and we stood by as the industry continued to obsess with incremental gains delivered by technology and tactical techniques, rather than rethinking their approach to making brands relevant at an emotional level.
Undeterred, we ploughed on. Banging the drum every year at industry events about the power of branding, storytelling and the language of emotion. Something we call #HumanizingB2B. Knowing and believing that one day, our time would come.
These were tough times and it’s fair to say we had our ups and down. We had the highs of winning a £2m pitch for Samsung and the lows of a near fatal extinction event. We won some awards, grew to 30 people and then shrank back to 10 before bouncing back again. But like any good story, it’s the tension, conflict and struggle that creates the drama and builds character.
It wasn’t until 2019 that things really started to come together. B2B land had started to fall in love with storytelling and recognise that differentiating on an emotional level was far more powerful and enduring than the typical features war.
Along the way, we built storytelling guides, planning tools and developed our own story framework, all the while trying to bring clarity and credibility to this much misunderstood subject matter. After all, there was no playbook on B2B storytelling. Our first publication – the 13 Stories guide has now been downloaded over 7,000 times in its 6 years of life.
We were winning more awards, attracting bigger clients and becoming noticed by the great and the good of B2B Marketing. Storytelling was becoming a thing. At last. Hallelujah.
We were working on exciting projects for Cisco, KPMG and Sage Pay as well as incredible growth brands like Crowdcube, Incopro and ResponseTap. The new biz bat-phone kept on ringing, these were exciting times for little old Rooster Punk.
As we started 2020, a new decade full of optimism and new hires, we felt ready to fulfil our potential. The roaring 20’s would be our coming of age.
And then Corona struck.
This is where the story gets interesting. As mentioned earlier, back in 2017 Rooster Punk had a near extinction event. In the aftermath of this heart-attack, we hunkered down and fought our way back from the brink of oblivion. What this created in the agency was a resolve and fortitude that meant whenever the chips were down, we knew we had it in us to find a way through.
Corona became our new Everest. Something to overcome. Yes, clients ran and took cover. Yes, revenues dried up. Yes, the forecast looked gloomy. But we embraced a positive mindset and asked “How can we turn 2020 into a game-changing year?” We wrote a book, we refreshed our own brand identity, we tightened up our own positioning, re-visited our 5yr plan (with bigger ambitions), we created a new web site, developed our ABM and campaign proposition, took on some new people, banged the drum at digital events, extended our leadership team and received nominations for 6 B2B awards.
More importantly, we held our clients’ hands, pushed to do better work and made a commitment to their happiness – as well as our team’s. The Cooped Inn (our weekly online pub quiz) is a shining example of this in action.
What we didn’t foresee at the time, was how the pandemic would actually disrupt the inertia of B2B marketers to move beyond performance marketing and how it’s accelerated the conversation and board level discussion about brand and storytelling.
If ever we needed belief to stay on course, to fight the good fight, this was it. Corona presented a unique shift in thinking for many B2B marketers, entrepreneurs and leaders.
The need to put employees and customers first, to show empathy, to lead with a purpose, to try new things, to be compassionate, to embrace the power of story, to connect in meaningful ways – and for these things to actually drive sales was a revelation.
Of course, we’re not free from the grip of the pandemic, but we are free from the myopic mindset that the only way to grow a business brand is through the tactics of performance marketing. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Nothing gives us a greater satisfaction that knowing we are trying to take B2B marketing in a new direction. To move from features to feelings, from messaging to stories, from products to people and from sales to brands. And knowing that the storytelling work we do on brand, ABM, campaign and sales enablement is helping our clients feel genuine pride in what they do while also driving incredible commercial results.
These are exciting times for everyone in B2B land, and we would love it if you joined us on the journey.