Senior Marketing Manager and copywriter for Articulate Marketing. Specialist in writing about writing, marketing, strategy, technology and geekery. Writer of puns and the words between puns. They say talking to yourself is the first sign of content marketing. Expert parenthesis user (so it is said).
The B2B Brand Differentiator
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B Corp is our badge of honour.
Like Fair Trade to chocolate, having that B Corp badge tells the world that our marketing agency doesn’t just care about profit margins. We care about our relationships with people and with the planet.
It means we’re a for-profit business that is also a force for good. We’re part of a rapidly growing community of organisations that believe it is possible to be both.
In fact, we’ve found that being a B Corp has made a world of difference in how we approach doing business with others. In this article, we’ll share some of the ways we’ve transformed our business relationships since becoming a B Corp. We hope our story can encourage others to take similar steps.
This was no mean feat. B Corp have, if anything, raised their standards in the last few years.
Thankfully, we were able to prove that we’ve made real, tangible progress towards better standards for employment, governance, community and environmental impacts and, of course, business relationships. In fact, we were also awarded as B Corp’s Best for the World Honourees for the 'Workers' category. For context, this is an accolade we share with a handful of high profile eco-conscious companies that you may have heard of, such as Riverford. We’re in the top five percent in the world!
Now. Let’s take a look at how we’ve embedded the B Corp ethos into our business relationships in a way that benefits our clients, suppliers and partners.
Values-based business decisions
Over the last three years we’ve put in the work to develop our purpose — ‘To Inform, Connect and Inspire’ — and our values. Those values include a commitment to client partnership, our culture and high-performance creativity.
Values are at the heart of all our business decisions. For example, we’ve crafted internal learning and development programmes based around these values. We award employees who embody our values, such as by improving a process or bringing a creative idea to the table. (And because employee relationships are business relationships, too.)
That way, our clients can be certain that every member of the team will make values-based decisions, with their best interest at heart. As such, clients get our best work, measured against the highest standards of quality. They get consistent updates on projects and transparency on results. They get marketing strategies based on experience, data and research-led best practices.
Bare minimum? Never heard of her.
Stronger client partnerships
Get the work done and everyone’s happy, right?
Err, actually no. In fact, when we asked, many clients told us they’d had bad experiences with agencies before, and often it wasn’t down to the work. Most of the time, the issues were poor communication or third parties not taking the time to properly understand their business.
We didn’t want to be another name in their burn book.
Now, every client gets a Client Partner who is their advocate in the agency. It’s in the name, really. At Articulate, you’re not an account that needs to be managed. You’re a partner.
Upholding standards of honesty and transparency
As part of the aforementioned business changes, we also made the leap to new tools. Clients now get a personal intranet, courtesy of Notion. Here, they can see:
A log of all meeting notes
A real-time view on the status of tasks
An archive of deliverables
This leaves no room for ambiguity. You can see exactly what’s been agreed, what work is in progress and what has been done. Too many agencies wrap their activities in a fog of mystery. We think it’s better to be honest, even when things don’t go perfectly. Especially in those cases, in fact.
In addition, we request feedback and review projects on a regular basis. These activities help to keep us accountable. By being fully transparent, we can spot problem areas early and can make a proactive effort to do better. And clients are never left wondering ‘What’s going on?’ and, by implication, ‘What’s going wrong?’.
Working with ethical companies
It’s not just your actions that define you, but the company you keep.
Shortly after being certified as a B Corp for the first time, we partnered with Climate Care to offset our carbon. Since then, we have also committed to Net Zero by 2030. Becoming a B Corp inspired us to do more for the environment, as that was identified as an area for opportunity for us during their rigorous assessment process.
Here’s another example. When we organise supplies for company events, we try to work with ethical providers (such as B Corp gin distilleries). It’s a simple decision, but it makes a difference.
We make careful choices regarding our suppliers and yes, even our clients. We’ve turned down work because of mis-matched values, and we’d do it again. We always want to work with people who share our values.
We’ve had the pleasure of working with fellow B Corp clients in the past. We would encourage future partnerships with like-minded B2B technology companies who want to accelerate their marketing.
As the top UK B Corp agency that is also a HubSpot Diamond Solutions Partner, we operate in a rather unique sliver of a Venn diagram: marketing experts; good eggs. That’s us, right in the middle.
Better business relationships
Sure, Articulate has benefited from becoming a B Corp. But the benefits have spread to every one of our contacts, in the choices we’ve made and the processes we’ve put in place.