Building a strong brand is demanding work.
Brand teams are tasked with growing businesses with limited staff and small budgets.
In a world of multichannel communication and multichannel points of purchase, creating and maintaining a consistent brand experience can be challenging.
Building and maintaining a strong brand can be even harder when there are many people involved in brand communication. Think about 5 or 10 different people reporting on the news story for different news media. They will all tell the story a little differently. When it comes to brand communication, the more people you have writing copy or posting on social media, the risk of creating different versions of your brand message increases. Each consumer touch point becomes an opportunity for brand building…or brand confusion.
From just observing the brand communications of many leading brands, you can tell when there are too many authors speaking for a brand without good control over the brand message. I have also observed brands with poor control over their iconography with up to six different versions of their brand logo in the market across packaging and marketing materials.
Many of the most effective brands have simple, consistent messages that are delivered across all mediums.
Consumers trust brands that consistently deliver against their brand promise. Part of the strength of brand building is keeping your brand promise and messaging consistent. It becomes harder to connect with a brand that has a different voice in different consumer touch points.
When there is not good control over your brand voice, your brand may suffer from one of these symptoms:
Multiple Personality Disorder
- Your brand communication has several distinctive different messages and/or author styles in the market. While each author works to add their own individual value-added touch, they inject a different spin into the messaging. This split personality can sometimes be seen in the brand communication prepared by your agency vs. your brand team.
Committee Speak/Designed by Committee
- It has been said that ”a camel is a horse designed by a committee.” You can recognize brand communication that had too many inputs and crams too many different message points into an ad – the final result often does not match the creative brief.
Brand Communication of the Week/Weak
- Some brand leaders just lack the discipline to define and remain loyal to their chosen brand communication platform. Their messaging is constantly changing, making it difficult to know and connect with the brand value proposition.
Brand Communication by the Novice
- Some brand work is delegated to younger members of the brand team and is not reviewed before going to market. This group is less likely to be trained in the brand character and brand standards and may communicate in a less formal way that does not fit the brand. This is often observed on Facebook and other social media. Brand leaders that give their intern responsibility for Facebook communication because they actively use social media, can risk introducing a new, very casual voice to their brand.
The addition of social media to the marketing mix can often lead to multiple voice brand communication.
Not having a clear strategy and a limited group that is trained to speak for the brand may negatively effect your brand communication.
If your team has multiple people creating multiple messages, consider:
- Setting guidelines such as a brand standards manual and communications platform for how to communicate imagery and message points for the brand.
- Limiting the number of people creating communication on your behalf.
- Having one person who reviews and approves all brand communication.
When your marketing plan includes a multichannel media approach, the need for consistent, integrated brand communication increases. Review your current communications and identify the steps needed to have the same message, imagery, and branding in market at the same time. This includes:
- Product packaging
- Point of purchase communication
- B2B sales collateral
- Social media
- Event banners and more.
Often with a tight budget, it is tempting to continue use of some materials while new brand communication is introduced in different channels. This may be cheaper, but it is much more effective to achieve the impact and alignment of integrated brand marketing by introducing a new campaign across all touch points. The big challenge is to avoid having remnants of several campaigns as you launch new ones. A regular audit to identify and update out of date materials can help you stay current and aligned.
In the time pressured world of trying to do more with smaller budgets and fewer people, it can be easy to let brand consistency slip as communication is rushed to market.
Don’t let your brand become the victim of rushing work to market without the appropriate brand review.
It is better to have fewer points of communication that are consistently on brand than a mass of content that speaks with many voices. While this can appear to add work at first, over time your entire team will be more aligned and your brand communication will be more effective in the marketplace.