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Multiple Channels, One Brand Voice

The Challenge of Content Management and Brand Identity

Your current and potential customers interact with your brand on a daily basis. They do this through advertisements, social media, blog posts, emails, videos, and website content—among other things. With so many varied communication channels, it’s not enough to create compelling content and publish regularly. You also need to make sure that you have a consistent brand voice.

Take a look at your brand messaging. Is all of your content consistent with your brand identity? Or are you confusing your customers and prospects?

It’s All About Relationships

Every successful businessperson would agree that there is nothing more important in business than relationships. In days long gone, these relationships were cultivated and maintained in person or on the phone. Now, most relationships are nurtured online, via email, in print, on the radio, or on TV.

According to the book The Human Brand (highly recommended reading), we are in the era of “Relationship Renaissance.” In contrast to the Mad Men era of mass messaging, customers today want to connect with your company on a personal level, as though they are talking to an actual human. Failing to make that human connection can mean a loss in the marketplace.

Since most of your communication is twice-removed from a face-to-face meeting, it is critical to control the way you are coming across while engaging with your customers, prospects, and referral sources.

Who is Touching Your Content?

In any given month, a lot of different people may influence the content creation in your business, including:

  • Sales/business development managers and/or staff
  • Vendors
  • Merchants
  • CEOs and other executives
  • Front line staff
  • Web developers
  • SEO specialists
  • Social media writers
  • Consultants
  • Interns

If your organization doesn’t have a formal style guide that gives direction on what to say, how to say it, in what tone, when, where, and how often, your writers will inevitably proceed to write it in the only voice they have—their own.

This can result in:                       

  • Inconsistent brand experience
  • Inefficient information flow
  • Decreased revenue           
  • Poor customer experience
  • High cost of production  
  • Confusion among your staff
  • Confusion of customers, prospects and referral sources
  • Loss of customers
  • Coming across as disingenuous
  • Embarrassment

So how do you manage your content and avoid the perils of muddled communications? Start with a clear understanding of your brand, your brand voice, and a strategy of communicating to your customers. Once you have all that established, you will need a process to ensure that everyone who touches the content stays consistent.

How to Establish and Capture Brand Voice

Does the voice and tone used in your email campaigns sound like it’s coming from the same company as your blogs and print ads?

Your company needs to use a singular, recognizable brand voice in every aspect of content writing. To capture that voice, it’s imperative to create a style guide (MailChimp has a great one to check for inspiration).

The style guide should include:

  • Voice and tone
  • Grammar and style
  • Key vocabulary and other keywords
  • Stylistic preferences
  • Key service/product descriptions
  • Legal disclaimers

Everyone who works for your company should have access to your style guide, and every individual who touches your content should be required to follow your guidelines.

How to Bring Your Team Together

1. Identify your writers

  • Make a list of everyone who writes for your company. This should include the each of following content types, as relevant to your company:
  • Social media
  • Phone directory
  • Customer service scripts
  • Ads
  • Press releases
  • Blog posts
  • White papers
  • Marketing collateral
  • Sales collateral
  • Website content
  • Circular content
  • Radio content
  • Video content
  • Graphic content
  • Internal content
  • In-store radio content
  • Banners
  • Company apparel

2. Assess knowledge

What does your team know about your brand and your message? Keep everyone on the same page:

  • Create training materials to help “onboard” employees to the company brand
  • Create a company avatar (a representative personification of your brand)
  • Schedule staff training sessions

Once your employees have been educated, schedule some fun activities to test their knowledge. A fun way to get people involved is to have a “Company Trivia” event. You can even take it a step further and have people dress up as your company avatar and award a prize to the costume that’s voted the closest to your actual brand.

3. Make sure to include all content contributors 

Are there people responsible for your brand that aren’t in-office? This may include consultants, agencies, vendors, and anyone else who works for the company that is not an in-house employee. Give these people the same training you give your in-house staff.

4. Establish a gatekeeper

Your company should appoint someone to be responsible for ensuring consistent messaging, whether through direct review or by establishing clear guidelines and systems.

We call this person the “Gatekeeper.”

This Gatekeeper advocates for telling the story of your company in ways that extend beyond products and services. The Gatekeeper will uphold the voice of your brand by monitoring all company communication channels. The Gatekeeper will also watch to make sure that all content is relevant, adds value, and is true to your brand before it goes public.

Boost Your Bottom Line

Without a solid content management strategy, you risk losing customers and prospects to your more coherent competition. By establishing a brand voice, creating a clear style guide, training all your content creators, and appointing a Gatekeeper to oversee communications, you can create consistent communication that resonates with your audience and propels your brand forward. Take the time to follow our content management process. Your content creators will thank you, and so will your customers — as reflected in your bottom line.