Published on Marketing Pilgrim
It’s certainly not a revelation that a brand with a strong personality, or voice, stands out more to customers and makes a bigger impact on their choosing the brand when it comes time to open their wallets. And many brands have gotten really savvy at establishing and delivering a consistent brand voice in the brick and mortar world. If we each put our consumer hat on we can easily recall a specific shopping experience and certain things about it that demonstrate a clear brand voice – the store atmosphere, logos and colors within the store, interactions with employees, and so on. But what happens when a brand becomes digital and tries to deliver that same voice or personality in the online world? Does it roar or whimper? Does your brand suffer from a case of laryngitis online? If your brand lives in the digital world it’s time to ask that question because the brand with the loudest and clearest voice will cut through the noise in the digital marketplace and get heard by customers. But how do you ensure that your brand’s voice gets customers’ attention in the online world? Start by examining all of your brand’s physical customer touch points, or those places where your customer comes into contact with your brand. This audit will give you clues about the unique voice of your brand. Take a look at elements including, but not limited to:
Your physical store or office and its décor and atmosphere
Any signage used throughout your store or office
Employee attire or uniforms
How employees interact with customers
Any physical brand collateral such as brochures, flyers, business cards and promotional items
Your product packaging and design
Any special vernacular or lingo that is used in your company
As you’re examining these physical brand touch points look for elements that define your brand’s personality. For example, does the copy in your brochure have a serious tone or a humorous one? What colors are used in your logo and in collateral materials and what do they convey to your customers? What about the colors and décor of your store? Are they casual and laid back or more formal and buttoned up? Do your employees wear uniforms, suits and ties, khakis and polo shirts? All of these things send specific messages to your customers about your brand’s unique personality – how it feels and what it sounds like. With a solid understanding of how your brand “speaks” in the brick and mortar world, you can ensure its voice gets heard in the online world, too. And that brings us to the next step in this effort to get heard in the online world.
Bringing your brick and mortar voice to the digital environment isn’t rocket science, but there are some nuances to making sure your brand does not become a digital wallflower. To simplify this effort, think of these four Cs of establishing a solid digital brand voice.
Communication – In the online world your words, videos and images are the only things you have at your disposal to establish a connection between your brand and your customer. There are no face-to-face interactions with employees to ensure that your brand comes across as human and caring. So as you build your online content, whether it’s for your website, social media pages, blogs, or any other channels, consider how the communication of your message is coming across. Be real, transparent and specific in all communication so that your brand really speaks to your customers.
Consistency - In order to maintain the human connection you’ve built with your customers offline, it’s important for them to have a similar experience with your brand online. When the brand experience differs from offline to online, you risk confusing your customers by not delivering what they’ve come to expect. And inconsistent experiences can break the trust you’ve worked so hard to establish. Review all online brand touch points for consistency with the brand voice you’ve already established offline and make sure your brand’s online elements speak with the same tone and personality as those that are offline.
Clarity – With transparent and consistent communications established, it’s important to strive for clarity in how you deliver your brand’s voice to your customers. Don’t make your customers guess at what you are trying to say by using overly flowery or superfluous writing that only serves to muffle your brand’s voice. Strive for clarity of meaning first so that your customers don’t get confused, become frustrated and then abandon your page. Less is truly more when it comes to your brand’s online communications.
Connection – Brands that connect with customers on a human level make it easier for customers to choose them over competitors. And, because brands, like people, have distinct personalities, we, as customers, form connections with them. When a brand’s voice comes through consistently and clearly online, we recognize it almost as an old friend to whom we are somehow connected and bonded. It just feels right.
In today’s virtual marketplace there’s an enormous amount of competition for your customer’s attention and wallet. By making your brand’s voice heard above the noise you’ll ensure a stronger connection with your customers and a greater chance to be their clear choice when they purchase.