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Showing posts from tagged with: brand voice

5 Tasks to Build Brand Credibility

Posted by Liz Papagni in Brand Strategy | 0 comments

brand credibility Your brand credibility is more perilous than you might think. It takes years to craft a solid reputation, and only a split second to destroy it all. With the enormous reach of social media, one gaffe could reach millions of people in minutes. That’s why it’s so important to constantly monitor your reputation and work hard to continuously build brand credibility. These steps are so easy that many tend to set them and forget them. If you’re working now to build your brand’s reputation or clamoring to recover from a PR disaster, start work right away. If you’re coasting along on a great reputation, don’t leave these tasks until it’s too late.

Examine Your Brand

You should always keep your brand in mind, every second of every day. Training for staff should include your brand’s mission, vision, voice, and message. If you’re still not sure what your brand’s purpose is, then you haven’t yet spent enough time building your brand. The message you send to your customers solidifies this brand. If your words, actions, and images don’t fit the brand you’re crafting, then you’ll lose credibility. All it takes is one slip on social media to but your brand in peril. Bigger faux pas, such as the ones plaguing United Airlines in the news lately, could knock you all the way back to the beginning.

Exercise Your Voice

When a vocalist doesn’t use her instrument, it gets rusty from disuse. The next time she sings, she may sound different—and that can be confusing to listeners. Always pay attention to your brand voice. Learn what you sound like to your buyers and work hard to maintain that voice. It’s important to constantly analyze your buyer personas, too. Maybe you’re using the wrong voice to reach them. A hip, trendy brand voice might get attention, but it won’t impress your buyers if it doesn’t match the services or products that you offer.

Build a Better Blog

Buyers want to learn about your services or products before buying. By creating content that establishes you, the company owner, as a thought leader, you build enormous credibility for your brand. Share tips, tricks, and tutorials. Spread good news about your company with press posts. Dig into deeper thoughts and share your opinions about your industry. Every word will work to boost your brand credibility.

Check Your Website

Is your website up to date? An old, clunky, slow website speaks volumes to new visitors. Your brand screams, “We don’t know what we’re doing!” so loudly that nothing you say can drown it out. Make sure your pages load quickly and that the site functions as it should. And, of course, you must be mobile responsive now. Not only will a non-mobile site turn off your buyers, but it also will perform poorly in search engine results.

Pay Attention to Reviews

Now, how will you know that your brand resonates with your buyers? How do you know you’ve built credibility you can count on? By listening to your customers. Read reviews. Take them to heart. Sure, some can be ignored—specifically those left by users hoping to stir controversy. The real reviews, however, should be used to help you build your brand credibility. When reviews are bad, examine the claim, determine where you went wrong, and address the problem immediately. When reviews are good, use the feedback to bolster the credibility you’re building. And remember: these reviews aren’t always a formal affair, left on third-party sites or your own website. Monitor social media to keep an ear tuned to what buyers are saying about you. As you can see, these tasks must be performed over and over and over again. It’s important to always have your brand credibility in mind. If you’re working to build your brand or to recover from an incident that has put your brand in jeopardy, give us a call. Building solid brands is what we do.

Maintaining Your Brand’s Humanity with Automated Marketing

Posted by Liz Papagni in Brand Strategy | 0 comments

  brand humanity Digital marketing allows so many ways to automate processes, from the collection of leads through your website to the scheduling of social media posts. Automated marketing has, understandably, opened up time in your schedule so you can focus on things you may not have previously had time for. Now, you have time for customer service, expanding your product lines, and building your brand, right? The problem many discover after automating as much of their tasks as possible is that they start to lose the humanity in their brand. Instead of appearing genuine and approachable, the brand instead begins to sound like it’s run by robots. You may have already begun to notice a disconnect between your brand and your buyers as they drift away in favor of more authentic businesses. So, how can you enjoy the automation of your marketing processes and all the benefits provided without turning into a machine? Here are some helpful hints.

Keep It Personal

One of the first indicators of automated marketing is a generic greeting. Addressing buyers “Dear Customer” strips them of their identities and lets them know you don’t care enough to call them by name anymore. From the moment you learn the names of your customers and clients, you should always endeavor to personalize any and all of your communication. The more you learn about your customers through the automated process you have in place, the more you should provide information, products, and service that meets their exact needs. You can also keep things personal even when automating your social media posts. The key is to monitor your accounts and be sure to respond to customers seeking support. Even better, lift up those who have praised your brand or products so that other fans can see how grateful—and responsive—you are.

Pay Attention

Newsletters, coupon offers, product updates, holiday sales—these things can clog a buyer’s email inbox and inspire frustration. To make that frustration bubble over, try sending everything at once. Many brands make the mistake of scheduling every email to go out within a few days of each other, simply because it allows them to mark one more thing off the to-do list. Instead, pay attention to your customers’ wishes when segmenting your contact lists. Send only the email updates that apply, using what you know about your customers. If you’ve recently sent a newsletter, reschedule that discount deal or, better yet, include it in the newsletter to cut down on the number of emails you send. Nothing screams “automated” louder than multiple emails at once. And in a world where buyers are looking for authentic and transparent, your automation just won’t fly. The same goes for your social media presence. If your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts all post the same exact update at the same time, your audience will know you’re cutting corners with automation. Learn which of your buyers are more likely to use each particular platform, tailor your message on those platforms to the demographics most likely to see it, and then schedule your posts to update at different times throughout the day.

Examine Your Voice

Even after using the tips listed above, your emails, social media posts, and blogs could still take on a robot’s tone. Whether you realize it or not, you will change your brand’s voice, even if a little, when crafting your automated messaging. It’s human nature to sound like a machine when you’re cranking out updates all at one time. Simply check all your messages before they post to make sure they still have a fresh feel to them. As a bonus, this can also help you avoid accidental faux pas that have nearly destroyed brands in the past. There is no reason not to use all the automated marketing tools available to you. They are there to make your job easier. Just be sure to follow these tips so that your brand always keeps its human side.

What Does Your Brand Voice Sound Like to Customers?

Posted by Liz Papagni in Brand Management | 0 comments

brand voice For just a moment, think about those horrifying American Idol auditions the network once gleefully aired. You know the ones—where the singer could walk through the door with swagger, brag for a few minutes about how amazing he was, and then proceed to screech the house down in a ten-second audition, because that’s the longest the judges could listen without wanting to cover their ears. What does this have to do with branding, you ask? Well, when developing your brand, your voice has a big part to play. How you communicate your values, your mission, your unique value—all of this relies on what you sound like to your customers.

What Buyers Hear

You can tell your buyers what your brand is until you’re blue in the face, but that doesn’t matter one bit. Like that poor guy who auditioned for American Idol, you could believe your brand is the best out there, while your judging audience hears something very different. It’s not what you say you are; it’s what your audience says you are. Is your audience ready to cut your performance short?

Analyzing Your Brand Voice

Vocal artists often break down the characteristics of the voice in several categories. Believe it or not, some of these same categories could be applied to your brand voice. To help you follow along, here are a few of the characteristics a vocal judge might listen for:
  • Tone
  • Clarity
  • Focus
  • Authenticity
You may be starting to see the correlation, but we’ll break it down a little more so you can really hone your craft.

Tone

Some of the most successful brands have a tight grasp on their tone, and they never let it slip. Your tone will convey many things: personality, values, convictions. No two brands will have the same tone, and if they do, one probably needs to examine point number four: authenticity. But we’ll get there. Your brand’s tone will be evident through your messaging. Witty and engaging. Direct and no-nonsense. Snooty and discriminating. Warm and welcoming. Comforting and supportive. Fresh and fun. Maybe, just maybe, you take a chance on your audience understanding your singular sense of humor and try both snooty and fun. That one worked for Old Spice’s major rebrand, right?

Clarity

A muddled and confused brand voice does nothing but confuse your buyers. Once you know who you are, what you stand for, and what your unique selling proposition is, you should be very clear in your messaging. Let’s consider Target’s brand voice. This company has been around for decades, surviving the giant that is Walmart only after a complete rebrand. It was during that rebrand that Target really found its voice: trendy, helpful, and often humorous. The tone is wonderful and draws the company’s exact buyer personas to the stores, but it’s the clarity of the message that drives the sales. Remember Target’s “Around for Good” campaign from a few years ago? This string of marketing messages wasn’t focused on selling any particular products; it wasn’t focused on selling anything at all, really. Target very clearly stated that they wanted to give back to the community in various ways—through donations to education and environmental causes. The Chief Marketing Officer, Jeff Jones, said, “We want our guests to see and feel that when they shop at Target, they’re part of something bigger than a transaction.” You can’t get clearer than that.

Focus

Upon first glance, clarity and focus may seem similar, but they’re actually very different. Clarity describes the message. Focus is directed to the audience. If you’re not fully aware of your buyer personas as you craft your brand voice, then you’ll sound like screeches and warbles to the people who hear you. Okay, so it may not be that bad, but your potential buyers won’t be interested in listening through the whole song. Online retailer ModCloth has some of the most focused messaging I’ve seen. The audience is clear upon first visit to the website, with language and tone directly focused on young women with trendy, quirky style. Through images, engaging copy, and unique offers, the company directly appeals to their intended audience. Their focus on unique fashion tells women of all shapes, sizes, and styles that anything goes, and everyone is beautiful. They never muddle that message with abrasive or critical opinion pieces, or fashions for men or boys. The focus is immediately clear.

Authenticity

If you’ve ever heard an impressionist attempting to sound like Christina Aguilera, then you have some idea how painful an inauthentic brand voice can be. Sure, a talented few might manage to sound spot-on, but at the end of the day, they’re still no Christina. Your audience will know if your voice isn’t authentic. They’ll hear the wobbles and flubs as you struggle to sound like something you’re not. Your best bet is to use your real brand voice, the one you find through deep searches of your brand identity, your target customers, your unique value, and your company’s mission. When your audience hears your true voice, they will respond. Learn more about how your brand voice fits into the marketing journey with my forthcoming book, Your Marketing Roadmap, now available for pre-order on Amazon.   A version of this blog appeared in two parts on https://www.nawbo-oc.org.

The Power of Compelling Content and Your Brand

Posted by Liz Papagni in Content Marketing | 0 comments

content directs traffic

Source

 Are you even aware how important content is to your brand? And not just the content on your website, though that’s probably the most important. Any message you release to the world has an impact on your brand. To control your brand story, you must have complete control of your content. Still not sure how powerful your content is? Let’s examine some truths.

Your Content Conveys Your Brand

If you’re not regularly sharing content with your followers, there is a very good chance they’ll make up their own message regarding your brand. A stagnant content strategy removes your branding power because you’re not taking the opportunity to share your brand’s voice and vision every chance you get. By creating and publishing content on a regular basis, you control the message your buyers hear. As long as your content maintains your brand voice, informs your customer base, solves your buyers’ pain points, and remains relevant at all times, your content could be the number-one, most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.

Your Content Speaks in Your Voice

As a brand, you’ve worked hard to create and maintain a specific voice. How do you think your followers, leads, and buyers hear that voice if you’re not providing quality content? Your blog, website copy, videos, social media posts, and graphic design all work together to convey your brand’s image, vision, and, yes, your voice. That’s why particular attention to each word or image you publish is so important. Whether you’re crafting blogs or updating the material on your website, keep your buyer personas in mind. How will they interpret your content? Will that interpretation support the brand image you’ve worked so hard to cultivate? That is the true power of compelling content and how it affects your voice.

Your Content Says You’re an Expert

Your potential customers want someone with specialized knowledge in your field. The more you know about your products and services—and the more you share that knowledge with your followers—the more powerful your content will be. With every word you publish or video you share, you have the opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Beat your competition by proving yourself the true expert in your field. To do this, you must create and publish truly compelling content. There is no room for social media posts that don’t continue to inform and entertain or blogs that are filled with fluff to meet a particular word count. Create thoughtful posts that consider your buyer personas and their every pain point. You’ll be the go-to guy in no time.

Your Content Directs Your Traffic

Without adequate content, your site could suffer at the hands of search engines. Every word and image you publish should work toward driving more traffic to your site. That means you have a responsibility to your company and to your target to publish only the highest quality, most relevant content possible. Understanding your brand and sharing your knowledge are both huge requirements for creating content that will boost your SEO results. Without first concentrating on your brand strategy, you can’t possibly create content your buyers personas will find. Without knowledgeable content, Google may deem your content irrelevant or of poor quality. And we all know what happens to content Google doesn’t like. Creating a content strategy that takes all of these points into account isn’t an easy task. Start first with a solid, unwavering understanding of your brand, and the rest will follow. We’re always here to help if you need a bit of guidance.