Identifying The Right Brand Message For The Communication Tool

In today’s ever changing, increasingly discerning marketplace, brand owners have a constant challenge on their hands to keep pace with their customers’ needs in order to stay relevant.

When we refer to needs, we don’t just mean the functional needs of the product or service you are offering. More critical than ever before is understand how your consumers’ need to be conversed with.

Why is this? It’s no surprise that the vast, rich and instant media world in which consumers engage with brands today means that brand owners have far less control over what consumers are saying about their brand. Compared this to the old days of only really having packaging, TV and printed media as the main channels through which to deliver your brand’s messages.

The way the Internet and social media has now embedded itself in to all of our daily lives makes it more critical than ever before to get the brand messages spot on. One slip-up can cause a backlash against your brand within seconds, and could tarnish, and at worse destroy your reputation for good. Consumers have more power than ever before to help determine the destiny of your brand.

No doubt, we aren’t telling you anything you aren’t well aware of. However, in our experience, many companies are getting caught up in reaching their consumers through every possible touchpoint. Instead of stopping to think about what is the most engaging and impactful message and which communication tools would be the most effective or relevant, they prioritise having a presence everywhere and anywhere.

The old thought process of ‘messaging should always be consistent’ is being challenged. The type of messages consumers are willing to engage with vary according to the communication tool. There are also nuances in how the messages should be delivered depending on where and when it is being received. Context really is everything. For example, the message on a brand’s Facebook page might be better suited to a more casual tone of voice, compared to one on the back of the packaging which should be more factual and reassuring. And it is not just tone of voice but the environmental context of receiving.

Ultimately, it is the commissioned comms. agency’s job to get this right, but in order to do this, they need a deep understanding of the consumer, their media consumption world, what messages are relevant and resonate, where consumers expect or want to receive them, and finally, whether the tone of voice should change accordingly.

This ensures that your brand doesn’t end up putting messages out in to the ether which may patronise, be irreverent, irrelevant and quite simply, just get consumers’ backs up, so they feel compelled to voice their negative thoughts and feelings towards your brand to other people.

On the positive side, the rewards of pitching the right messages, in the right tone, in the right places are very sweet indeed. When consumers enthuse about your brand, they become brand advocates, and often adorers. This makes them powerful marketing vehicles as individuals, and the beauty is that you don’t even have to pay them to do it!

Good old fashioned word of mouth, providing it’s positive, is so very powerful.  You have much more control over the fact that it will be positive, if you spend time deeply understanding the structure and style of the core message, and it’s appropriateness for each customer touchpoint.

So that your brand messages are well received, we would recommend having this level of insight before briefing any comms. work:

  • Have a deep understanding of what messages engage your consumers positively, and ideally, compel them to become advocates of your brand
  • Understand the consumer “journey” so you choose the touchpoints that are relevant, and don’t alienate them in an environment that isn’t appropriate for your brand to be in
  • Be clear about essential differences in articulation of the core brand/ product or service message depending on the channel i.e. tone of voice, language, length etc.

Published 28th March 2013 by Natalie Reed @ the Strategy Distillery