Part 2 – How
In Part 1, we looked at why keeping your brand consistent could boost your turnover by a third. Let’s take a look at how that works in practice – and why data helps you swerve the stereotypes.
It’s true: your customers are buffeted by more distractions, messages, ads, pings, jingles, offers and dancing baboons than ever before. But that doesn’t change the first rule of brand messaging: it’s about the prospects, not the products.
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling: your job is to speak to a specific audience and discover what they want, need, like and do. Get under their skin and tailor your messages to them.
Brand messaging means choosing your words wisely. Think about your strategy, ethos, values, proposition, positioning and ideal customers. Got brand guidelines? Use them. They’re there for a reason.
We must first understand behaviour, if we want to influence it.
Building a great brand relies on making an emotional connection with your audiences. Back in the old days, marketers relied on fairly lame stereotyping to push out their messages. The delightfully sexist phrase “two tarts in a kitchen” was coined to describe the endless stream of ads where two women chatted about the merits of a product. You know the type.
Today, we should have enough sense – and access to data – to avoid such lazy stereotyping. Focus less on your customers’ age, gender, marital status or salary and drill down into what they’ll think, feel, say and do as a result of seeing your message.
Before you can talk to them meaningfully, you need to get to know them. And that starts by discovering the answers to these key questions:
- WHO are your existing and potential audiences?
- WHEN do they buy, browse and engage?
- WHERE do they buy? What platforms and websites do they use?
- WHAT are their needs, wants, habits and frustrations?
- HOW do they speak, interact and use the internet?
- WHY might they engage, buy or want something?
Define your approach – but flex it
Being consistent across channels means you speak with one voice, wherever it is heard.
Think about Ikea. Its simple, often humorous, easy-to-recognise ads evoke a consistent emotive response from its audience. Consistent emotion makes the messaging memorable wherever it’s seen. And remembering a brand is a step closer to purchase. That’s the journey your audiences go on.
But it’s not about copying and pasting across channels. Particularly online, we’re on the audience’s turf and the way we speak to them needs to reflect that. What works on one platform doesn’t necessarily work on another. Harness the strengths of each.
Market your brand internally
The most successful brands keep their voice consistent inside and out. Businesses such as McDonald’s, Apple, BBC and Disney value their brand whether they’re talking to employees or customers. It’s a smart move. Only when your colleagues understand and embrace the brand they represent, can they clearly communicate it to everyone they interact with. And the best ambassadors for your brand are your people, who are out there building powerful and memorable brand connections with customers in person.
In part 3, we’ll take a look at how to establish your brand’s tone of voice – how it sounds.
Did you get the answers to the brand messaging quiz in Part 1?