What is corpsumer PR? And why is it on the rise?


The term “Corpsumer” may feel like just another buzzword but as boundaries between our personal and professional life become increasingly blurred, we’re starting to see this blended approach to communications come to the fore.

What does the term corpsumer refer to?

The term ‘corpsumer’ was coined by agency MWWPR a few years ago to refer to someone who believes that a company’s values, actions, and corporate reputation are just as important as its product attributes and features.

This particular type of buyer has been on the rise since then, and it's certainly true that a lot of consumer brands have started to sit up and take notice of this. But what we’re now starting to see is brands on both sides of the Consumer/B2B split adopting a more blended ‘corpsumer’ approach.

Like a lot of agencies Fanclub has a pretty even split of both B2B and consumer clients in our portfolio, and while we have team members that work on both, the projects and campaigns for each side of the business have historically been fairly different - with consumer clients focussed on attention grabbing and buzzworthy briefs while B2B clients focused on raising their profiles among investors, peers and business buyers.

Why is corpsumer PR on the rise?

Today we see consumer businesses launching in the UK wanting to make a splash in the business pages with their unique model; making sure customers know about their brand ethos, worker protections and values; and getting investors to sit up and take notice. Or perhaps their products are struggling to get cut through in a crowded market of similar brands, so they’re turning to corporate profiling to show some differentiation.

On the B2B side of things we’re seeing more and more clients keen to secure coverage across the consumer pages with stories and projects that have wide appeal. These days it's about using PR, social, and owned content to get in front of consumers and business decision-makers alike. After all, we’re all consumers in one way or another, (unless of course you have shunned such capitalist ways of living in which case I salute you but I’m not altogether sure why you’re reading this blog).

While consumer brands have always tried to connect personally with the buyer, B2B has often focused on connecting with the goals of the buyer’s company, aligning more to business metrics like savings, control, transparency, and optimisation, rather than relevancy, feelings, emotion, experience.

But it doesn’t matter if you work in deep tech, procurement, investment or fashion, you still connect with things on a personal level, through shared experiences and relevancy. Ultimately people want to buy from people, whether that's their personal concerns or their work concerns, and now more than ever boundaries between home and work life are blurred.

Business today is won or lost based on the quality of your experience and that doesn’t change whether you are in the consumer business or the business business.

How can corpsumer PR help your brand?

Historically B2B marketing has had an unfortunate aversion to  storytelling and creative branding (before you grab your pitchforks there are of course exceptions to this), but we’re finally catching up to the fact that stories that resonate with people will always trump stories that resonate with businesses.

This is particularly important now that we’re in a time when buying decisions are no longer made by one person in a business, just reaching the CIO or the HR Director or whoever you think your target is is no longer good enough. Your campaigns need to tell stories that reach a diverse range of people and to do that you need to put time, creativity and development into your brand storytelling, rather than focusing on short-term sales metrics.

How to blend a consumer and corporate brief?

We know that consumers are becoming more intentional with how they buy, look at support for Amazon’s striking workers, or the backlash against Boohoo for the alleged treatment of the workers that make its clothes - these do cause damage (however minimal or short-term) and sentiments like this will only grow over time, as people start to look into a company’s working culture, gender equity, carbon footprint etc.

For businesses, we are moving into an age of empathetic leadership, in a world buffeted by emergencies such asCovid-19,it is no longer enough to look for quick sales, you need to nurture loyal customers by connecting with their experience and helping them to maintain momentum and foster longevity as a business. To do this you need to balance the desire for short-term sales success with long-term brand building.

So that’s where the corpsumer brief comes in, a blended approach for both B2B and consumer clients that reaches your customers as people, builds brand value and brand differentiation and makes a splash where your buyers will see it regardless of where they work.

As marketing guru and Fanclub-fav Mark Ritson says: “Appealing to the rational side of B2B buyers can work for immediate activity driving sales and leads. It makes sense for short-term activation. However, it’s hard to build a brand that will give you long-term competitive advantage if you can’t generate creative ideas that resonate with audiences on an emotional level.”

Cracking these briefs requires many heads, and the fun comes when we get the whole agency together, consumer and B2B teams both, to feed into the strategy as a whole with the benefit of our collective experience, industry knowledge and skills.

Gone are the days of siloed corporate and consumer teams, we need to be sharing our knowledge, approaches and ways of thinking. Here’s to a more creative and blended 2021!

Camille Merrells - Account Director at Fanclub PR

Enter your details to download

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.