RETHINKING YOUR BRAND’S TONE OF VOICE
The importance of verbal as well as visual in a brand, holistically cannot be underestimated. Every industry has a lot, I mean a lot of competition. Consumers are exposed to hundreds if not thousands of marketing messages a day. So where do you start when redefining your brand’s tone of voice?
Where does your brand live?
I’m sorry to tell you this but your brand is not a symbol, an icon, or a stylised font. Also, it is not a brand identity system. Colour, font choice, imagery and brand manuals do not equal a brand identity. Your brand lives in the mind of your customer. It’s a gut feeling they create about you. Visuals and tone of voice can help to create this feeling. But it is intangible, and it is in everything you do. That needs repeating it is in absolutely everything you do as a company. Your brand is what your customer says it is. Not what you say it is.
Do you need to redefine the fundamentals of your brand?
Perhaps you have lost sight of your brand’s defining statements and what you should stand for. If so you should start with five simple statements.
- Who we are
- What we do
- Why this matters
- Why we are different
- What is our personality
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples. Apple say:
To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.Steve Jobs
Innocent Smoothies say:
We make natural, delicious drinks that help people live well and die old.
This sets out Apple’s purpose in a strong, hard-hitting way. It also gives a yardstick against which all products and company behaviour can be measured. Innocent takes the approach of looking after their customer’s well-being throughout the whole of their life. Both companies care about you.
We must also keep in mind that markets and product offerings change and your company may need to redefine its fundamentals several times during its lifespan. The timescale for this will depend on your market.
How do today’s consumers think?
Selling features and benefits is no longer a valid way to sell a brand. Unique selling propositions are also starting to lose their shine. The unique part is important but today with social media in everybody’s lives there’s a climate change taking place.
Your customer’s tribe is now important. What your product does is becoming less important. What it says about your customer is becoming more important. As an example take a look at Doc Martens. If you wear a pair they say I’m a rebel, an outlier, I’m different. They have built a good company around this philosophy. But it also relies on the quality of the product. One without the other won’t work. Apple wouldn’t be as successful as they are if this were not true.
Why you need to keep it simple, stupid?
Keep it simple stupid (KISS). Is a well know phrase that all communicators use to remind themselves not to overcomplicate their offering. I recently painted a room white in my house. I went to the paint store and was gobsmacked. They had two whole aisles of white paint all with different uses, colour variations, finishes and names. This is marketing gone mad.
If you have a lot of products or services and some of them are rarely used or sold. Think about simplifying your offering to make your customers’ lives easier. This simplification should be in everything you do. Especially in your written communication and even your tone of voice. Always keep it simple and to the point if you can inject some wit and personality into it all the better. People remember when they have had a good time and when they have found something useful and interesting.
This goes back to my earlier statement that everyone is on social media and the internet. Today we are used to finding what we want instantly. The more clutter you add to your messaging and the more confusion the higher the likelihood you will lose your customer to the competition.
Why you should not give a man a fish
As the saying goes:
Give a man a fish, and he will be hungry again tomorrow; teach him to catch a fish, and he will be richer all his life.Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, founder of Taoism
This also applies to your customers. If you sell something to them, you may turn them into a customer today. But if you help them and make their lives easier you’ll have a customer for life. Everything you do should be centred around making their lives easier. I hope you have found this article interesting and informative. If Breathe Creative can help you in any way with a design or marketing project please do not hesitate to contact me. Thanks for your time.