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The time has come to reveal the 2018 finalists of The Drum B2B Awards.

Our expert judging panel, including Stein IAS, LinekdIn, IBM, Momentum Worldwide, Adobe, MRM McCann, Ogilvy and more, were inspired by the high-calibre of entrants and one area that stood out was is the realization that B2B buyers are consumers first. 

Chair of the judging panel and director of North America agency relations at LinkedIn, Lynn Badler said:” Beautiful, emotional, provocative. These are not the adjectives we typically use to describe B2B creative.  Many of this year’s entries pushed aside the notion that B2B brands are dull and boring. The bar was raised, the work across all categories was outstanding.  I was inspired by the strategic plan for many of the programs, the engaging creative direction and the strong results.  Was hard to choose winners in many of the categories.”

One category that made an impression of the judges was Best Use of Artificial Intelligence. Adobe’s senior strategic business development manager, creative agencies, Creative Cloud Enterprise, Chris Duffey was enthralled by the multimodal ideas that scaled through the use of technology. He believes that the best B2B continues to answer the core need and expectation of the customer to control their own experiences across the entire buyer journey. “The brands and businesses that embrace the complexity of this new reality differentiated themselves by conducting a magical orchestration of creativity, data and media.”

The finalists for Best Use of Artificial Intelligence are: Volume Ltd for Artesian Solutions and Spafax for American Airlines.

As for McCann New York’s group creative director, Peter Powell, he saw more experiential among brands who are looking to make lasting impact with groups of people they can identify and locate.

He said: “Branded content stood out for me. For those brands that are willing to spend a little more time with their customers, the payoff is stronger. Yes, drop off rates can be high, but those who stick are more likely to buy into what you’re doing and become real fans of your brand. Those customers are worth their weight in gold.”

The finalists for Best Content Marketing Campaign are: Always Be Content for British Gas, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner for Elephants in Apartments, DirectionGroup for Sage People, IBM for Industrious, IBM for You Don't Know Jack, McCorkell and Associates for Konica Minolta Business Solutions Australia, MRM McCann for Cisco, MRM McCann for General Motors, McDonald Butler for DXC, Ogilvy for Inmarsat Aviation, The Health Foundation and The Empathy Museum for A Mile in My Shoes: Health and Social Care and Weber Shandwick for Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions.

Social good campaigns are really hitting the mark across award shows right now and the B2B Awards are no different. Not so long ago, you would see many robust social good or social responsibility campaigns in B2B, expressed Chris Steenstra, chief administrative officer at Mower.

“That is clearly changing as marketers recognize that B2B decisions are not all based on ‘speeds and feeds’ but very much based on a human, emotional connection that a brand makes. Brands that pay more than lip service to the ‘triple bottom line’ are likely to reap rewards in terms of customer loyalty and trust.”

The finalists for Best Social Good Campaign are: Doremus for Intel, Gravity Global for Sage, Gravity Global for Embraer, John McNeil Studio for CA Technologies and Twitter for #HolidayIsHappening.

A full list of the nominations can be found here. You can now purchase tickets and tables for the ceremony on 15 November at the Edison Ballroom, New York.

Sponsors of these awards are Stein IAS and LinkedIn.