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Maintaining consistency in brand messaging - 13 August 2021

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Did you know? It takes between 1-3 seconds to grab attention, and this has been consistently low during the pandemic. 

  • On average a customer needs to see a brand 17 times before they can recall it.
  • It takes 0.05 seconds for a consumer to form an opinion of a brand based on the website alone.
  • 77% of consumers say they prefer to shop from brands that share their values.

“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business” – STEVE FORBES

Why is consistency in brand messaging a must?

It is a well quoted fact that consistent brand representation, across all communication platforms, can increase revenue by up to 33%, but how?

  • It makes a brand easily recognisable
  • Introduces identity
  • Aids recall
  • Creates a consistent brand experience
  • Increases credibility and trust
  • Connects on an emotional level
  • Builds loyalty
  • Creates brand equity

A quick brand messaging quiz

Put your brand recognition skills to the test and name these brands (answers are at the end of the blog):

  1. We get our hands on the tastiest fruit and veg we can find, stick it in a bottle and never add
    any nonsense like sugar or concentrates.
  2. Simple and affordable ideas that can make a difference in your everyday life.
  3. The beers our die-hard beer geek fans come back to time and time again.

Some brands are so recognisable they don’t need to use words, just a logo is sufficient, and what about sounds? Brand consistency is all encompassing and should consider design, sound, language, tone and call to action. It is never just about a logo, colours or imagery. It’s about living and breathing a brand consistently through the customer’s journey to purchase, and anywhere that a brand is visible to customers.

When we say be consistent anywhere, we really mean everywhere…

Website 

Over the phone

Instore

Landing pages

Social media 

Paid social ads

Print ads

Events

PPC

Blogs

TV

Radio

Packaging

Label descriptions

Billboard ads

Signage in store

Emails

Any marketing collateral
(brochures etc.)

Staff uniform

Webinars

What does the head of a global brand think about being consistent? 

“Everything we do has to be true to what the brand stands for. It has to be consistent with the brand equity, consistent with our brand tone of voice, and must build on the great work that many people before me have done” Gareth Turner, Head of Brand. Weetabix. Source: Marketing Week, June 2021.

But how do we ensure consistency?

Remember a strong brand should always be concerned with the prospects, not the products. The principles of brand messaging haven’t changed. Speak to a specific audience, identify their preferences, problems, quirks, needs, behaviour. Discover all you can about them and make sure you write for them.

Do: Speak with one voice, wherever it is heard. Think about Ikea. It is about evoking a consistent emotive response from the audience that makes the messaging memorable wherever they see it, to take them closer to purchase.

Don’t: Copy and paste across channels. Remember that an online audience is connected, informed and at ease. We are on their turf and the way we speak to them needs to reflect that.

We must first understand behaviour, if we want to influence it.

Brand messaging means choosing your words wisely. Consider the brand strategy, ethos, values, proposition, positioning and customers. Always refer to the brand guidelines. 

Tailor the message to specific audiences but avoid stereotyping. Right now, messaging should be less about age, gender, marital status, salary or preferences and more about how the audience will think, feel and what they say, because it is the emotional connections that make brands great.

WHO – the existing and potential audience is.

WHEN – they buy, browse and engage.

WHERE – they buy. What platforms and websites do they use?

WHAT – their needs, wants, habits and frustrations are.

HOW – they speak, interact, use the internet.

WHY – they might engage, buy or want something.

Ultimately, this is the art of successful communication. Think about how you want an audience to feel and how will you evoke those emotions through:

  • Consistent messaging and content
  • Consistent visual language

Do not neglect to consider the power of internal brand marketing.

The most successful brands have got their brand’s voice covered inside and out. Think about McDonald’s, Apple, BBC, Disney. If employees understand and embrace the brand they represent, then they can clearly communicate it to everyone they interact with, building powerful and memorable brand connections with customers in person.

Tone of voice – In essence how does a brand speak?

“One essential – yet often-overlooked – brand dimension is tone of voice” Mailchimp

A distinctive brand tone of voice deployed consistently is an important aspect of a brand that helps build a connection with consumers. Tone of voice is how you convey a personality within all communications, and it should remain constant. It is usually to be found in brand guidelines. Everyone should understand what it is and ensure that it is constantly checked across all communications. A great article about tone of voice can be found on the Semrush website, so we won’t reinvent the wheel here. 

Could you hazard a guess at Uber’s tone of voice? The answer is at the end of the blog. 

Grammar – It may not matter in WhatsApp, but it still matters in business.
Brands should determine a set of rules to live by that will protect the representation of the brand through the written word. Pitfalls to watch out for include the capitalisation of certain brand services or products, forced capitalisation or other nuances. Other grammatical consistencies should be monitored and rationalised such as the use of bullet points and full stops.  Always consider the marketing channel and the audience. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you read it?

Did you know?

‘Generation Z, have grown up with smart phones, sending short messages without full stops. A study from Binghamton University in New York suggested that people who finish messages with full stops are perceived by Gen Z as insincere. Whereas messages ending in an exclamation mark are deemed heartfelt or more profound.’ Source: BBC News, August 2019

Appearing at the end, and sometimes higher up the page, what is the call to action or CTA?

If we don’t have one, then what exactly are we asking the prospect to do next? If we don’t consistently tell them what to do next, we confuse them and then we lose them. Always guide them into taking that next step with a clear and well explained, brand aligned CTA. Make sure you have it on every piece of communication you create and make it matter; a traceable customer journey through to purchase is extremely valuable in terms of evaluating success.

Brand messaging quiz answers:

  • Innocent drinks
  • Ikea
  • BrewDog

Uber’s tone of voice: Considerate, simple, direct and consistent.

This blog is a summary of our recent Tuesday Wrap event. If you want to talk to us about how we can help you with your brand messaging or tone of voice, get in touch.

Want to know more?

We love what we do. If you would like to talk to us about your brand, contact us at [email protected] to have a chat with our friendly team about your requirements.

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