Brand, like fine wine, is described as having character, essence, personality or persona. Well there’s a new adjective in Marketing Vocabulary in terms of describing a Brand. It’s called Brand Voice. With the explosion of Social Media, Engagement Brand not only has to have a “personality” it must also have a Voice. In the frenzy of not being left out and joining the social conversation, many Brands have quite literally “jumped” in the social arena. So is any voice better than no voice at all?
Marketers Beware! Pioneering the great frontier of social media does not mean leaving brand principles behind. Au contraire… Brand Voice does not negate Brand Position (PDF). No not at all. Brand Position: what sets Brand apart from the myriad of all the other “me toos” out there, has never been more important and more relevant in establishing Brand Voice and setting course to top of mind awareness and market consideration.
There are true and tried methods in establishing Brand Voice, regardless of its “newness”. Make sure that before you embark on this exciting social media journey, you’re equipped to handle the good, the bad and the phenomenal!
Here’s a quick checklist in achieving that.
1) Your Brand’s Position: Yes, it’s a motherhood statement, however, nothing replaces a solid positioning, even on Facebook or Twitter. Regardless of the ever-changing communications dynamic, suffice to say, without a clear positioning, there is little point in proceeding to obtain a brand voice.
2) Single Focused Mindedness: Let’s not be all things to all people. Have a clear understanding of the Brand’s Position; Brand’s Vision and Brand Culture is key in maintaining a voice that speaks in the same way, all the time. No matter if you tweet 5 times a day, write status reports, guest blog or engage in discussions, what you say needs to be different and the same.
3) Determine your Objectives and Strategy: Really, what Marketing initiative can be called marketing without them? A Brand needs to have a Social Media Strategy. Before you start, define what is your vision of success? Who do you want to have follow you? How are you going to achieve that? What are the timeline measurement points?
4) Guidelines for Speaking to Your Target… consistently: Marketers have always been clear in evaluating Character and Style against print ads, TV or Radio ads and their packaging. Social Engagement and Brand Voice are no different. The need for a consistent voice with a consistent approach style and message is key. And lets not forget Tone. It’s important to set the tone for all Brand communications. Like everything else that makes a good Brand into a great Brand… Consistency is King.
5) Establish an Editorial Calendar: Brand Voice is about engagement and even entertainment. It’s much more complex in doing so than a 30 second commercial. Brand now has to make friends and have people follow. It has to resonate with its core following and contribute to the conversation with meaningful content. It must allow for a loss of control in order to gain it. It’s a dynamic approach to Brand Marketing. It is fantastic, exhilarating and the best thing for brand since broadcast ads hit the airway. Brand who dialogue with their followers (no, not customers) are in a place where they can play the role of influencing behaviour like never before. Brands need to understand how to engage without selling. It has to deliver in less than 150 characters its positioning, its reason and its promise.
6) Be Authentic: Deliver on Brand Promise. Deliver on Brand Character. Deliver on Brand Experience. Listen and respond. Speak and engage. Needless to say a Brand that is not authentic has really no hope in achieving excellence in any Marketing channel. Brand must always deliver.
Brand Voice is an increasingly important element of the total Brand Experience. As such, the Social Media channel has taken its rightful place along side print, broadcast and digital media in the strategy to market Brand holistically, effectively… and successfully. How vocal is your brand?