What's the difference between Corporate and B2B PR?

What’s the difference between Corporate PR and B2B ?

PR is PR, right?

For an industry that loves an acronym – and is even named by one – you’d be forgiven for thinking all public relations work is one and the same…. well, not quite.

The reality is, that it’s all about who you deem your ‘public’ to be and how you’re hoping to engage your reputation with them at a given point in time. ‘Public’ is a relative term. 

As an agency that works in both B2B and Corporate PR, knowing that nuance is about knowing what you’re trying to achieve with your reputation. It’s about knowing who that ‘public’ audience is – and then knowing how to use the right insights to engage with them effectively and deliver the impact your business needs.  

Of course, that becomes a whole lot easier when you also know the difference between the two.

What is the difference between B2B and Corporate? 

Corporate PR – or Corporate Communications as it’s also referred to – is the broader ideal of PR.

As The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) defines it, it’s “…the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It’s the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its public.” 

Corporate PR encompasses the wider discipline of promoting, positioning and protecting a company’s reputation with its public – wherever and whenever it’s needed – by finding the most effective ways of communicating its central purpose. 

But B2B is a specialist subset of PR that focuses on helping a company build awareness, capture leads and generate sales of their products and services. Reputation here is not just about the company at large but about its product or service-specific reputation (perceived or otherwise). 

Where Corporate PR typically spreads itself wide – B2B hones in on specific sectors, targeting decision-makers in industries it’s ultimately looking to sell into. Hence the acronym (told you they were everywhere) B2B – or Business-to-Business. 

Who owns the Corporate and B2B remit within a company? 

As you can probably tell from the above, it’s not uncommon for Corporate and B2B disciplines to take a hand-in-glove approach with one another.

While a company’s wider reputation will certainly impact its product or service-specific reputation (and ability to sell) – within an organisation there are typically different teams and functions responsible for the two disciplines

With responsibility for the overall company’s PR strategy, Corporate campaigns tend to be owned by CEOs and Chief Operations Officers (COOs) – with larger companies having dedicated Directors or PR or Corporate Communications.  

As B2B PR is focused on supporting sales and marketing initiatives, B2B campaigns are typically owned by Marketing, Digital Marketing and/or Communications Directors in smaller companies, and Leads of the same function in larger enterprises. 

Examples of Corporate & B2B briefs

Hopefully, by this point, we’ve given you a better grasp on the innate difference between the two. However, if you’re still scratching your head, here are a few examples of typical briefs we receive to help you separate the PR strands: 

Corporate briefs can take the form of… 

  • Supporting a company with a crisis that threatens its central reputation with its audience at large or monitoring issues that may become a crisis in the future 
  • Driving an employer brand campaign to help a company communicate the benefits of working for them 
  • Positioning content via search engines to influence where a company’s communications land on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) 
  • A campaign to support change management – where new leaders, owners, investors (or even a new company purpose) are being introduced to an organisation 

B2B briefs can take the form of… 

  • Supporting a company to grow its Share of Voice (SoV) in trade-sector media 
  • Activating a campaign to launch a new product or service for the company 
  • Amplifying a company’s thought leadership content to build awareness and authority outside of its usual industry press 
  • Integrated content marketing campaigns with business development objectives (such as leads or sales) – led by PR and driven through channels by marketing 

Which type of PR does my business need?

Ask yourself this: what am I looking to achieve? Does it relate to sales and marketing, or is it about something bigger?  

If your goal is to create an environment to influence business development (read: make more sales), then you’re in need of B2B assistance 

Here, you’re operating at the top of the marketing funnel; driving awareness, building credibility and creating trust signals throughout your buyer journey. The goal is to support sales enablement via integrating PR with your marketing campaigns – both online and off. 

However, if your goals are more focused on wider reputation management, influencing opinion, communicating change and/or damage limitation of your company’s central values – you’re not looking for sales and marketing moments that move the needle, you’re looking for Corporate help.

It’s important to note that while we do with a few clients on just one or the other – and have split them out by definition here to help you navigate their differences – in reality, most of the programmes we put together at AMBITIOUS contain aspects of both. Why? 

Because a good name always precedes great business sales.  

Want to know more? Wherever you are on your Corporate or B2B journey, we’re here to meet you.  

Get in touch today or email [email protected]