Boost Customer Loyalty With a Unified Brand Voice
Your brand has a distinct personality, something unique that separates you from other competitors in the same space.
This distinction comes across in your brand voice.
It's the first thing customers come in contact with and is undoubtedly one of the most crucial branding elements to get right.
As a brand with multiple locations, your brand voice expanded as your business grew. In some cases it began to distort as distinct local elements came into play. What was just one voice has now broken into many smaller ones, each slightly different from your brand's true voice.
If you want your brand to be unforgettable, all of these voices need to be unified under one clear and consistent style.
It all begins with getting your teams on the same page. They need to know the importance of having a consistent brand voice and how to execute accordingly.
Only then will you create a voice that harmonizes across every location.
Losing Customers with a Clumsy Brand Voice
The way you speak to your audience appears everywhere you do: on your website, ads, social media profiles, packaging, newsletters and more. Thats a lot of different voices speaking at once.
When all these voices are on the right page, it will make you memorable, build trust, and win you more customers.
But if you're not mindful in coordinating these voices, it will make your brand look clumsy, and inherently forgetful. It could lose you business.
The Sprout Social Q3 2016 Index discovered that 71% of customers have unfollowed a brand on social media because they were embarrassed by it.
Once they've unfollowed you, you lose the ability to consistently reach them with your offers and promotions.
Is your brand voice putting people off before they even enter your door?
"When you write like everyone else, you're saying, 'Our products are like everyone else's. Would you go to a dinner party and repeat what the person to the right of you is saying all night long? Would that be interesting to anybody? Why are so many businesses saying the same things at the biggest party on the planet - the marketplace?"
People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it.
Components of Brand Voice
What You Say (Company Values)
In one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time, Simon Sinek tells us "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it". He explains it's for this reason people are more than happy to buy a watch, a tablet, or a phone from Apple and not from Dell.
The reason for this is because people have bought into Apple's brand voice.
People identify with
- why Apple does the things they do (thinking differently, challenging the status quo)
- how they do the things they do (making beautiful products which are simple yet powerful to use)
- which is why they're willing to buy what they do (a range of technology products).
Why, How, What
When people buy into your why, they buy into your company's values and listen to what you have to say.
You must internalize why your company does what it does before you can know what to say.
Unifying the multiple voices of your business comes down to having a deep understanding company values and applying it. Any team member who will have their hands near social media needs to eat, sleep, and breathe these values daily.
It's once we know what to say that we can start thinking about how to say it.
How You Say It (Personality)
The question is, what kind of personality would your audience respond to? To answer this, we need to identify who your True Fans are.
A true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you produce. These diehard fans will drive 200 miles to see you sing; they will buy the hardback and paperback and audible versions of your book; they will purchase your next figurine sight unseen; they will pay for the "best-of" DVD version of your free youtube channel; they will come to your chef's table once a month. - Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine
For your business, define in as much detail as possible who your True Fan is to narrow down who your target profile is. Then stay disciplined and cater your message towards them and only them.
There's a difference between 'target audience' and 'target profile'. An audience represents a group of people who seem to have something in common. The 'target profile' is just one person. A real person, with a real name, with a real address, and real phone number. And with real problems. - Sean D'Souza, author of The Brain Audit
This second part of your brand voice insures you won't sound like any of your competitors when addressing customers online. This is also where store managers can add in some local authenticity while still keeping the integrity of the one main voice.
Develop Your Brand Voice
The brand voices which customers hear the most may be the ones with the biggest marketing budgets. But the voices which customers respond to are the ones which appeal to their emotions.
People don't want to buy products or services - they want to pay you to solve their problems or fulfill a need.
If you don't isolate a problem/need (choosing only one your True Fan has) then 'all roads' look the same to the customer and they won't pay attention to your product or service.
Starbucks understands who their True Fans are (tech savvy millennials), where they are (on Instagram) and what problem they want solved (an afternoon boost at work).
It's crucial to think about your brand from the True Fan's perspective and then use expressive storytelling language to appeal to their desires. Starbucks (See above), TOMS, Holstee, and Dove are great examples of this.
If told well, a story will be more likely to resonate on an emotional level, embody your brand voice, and be memorable and entertaining for your audience.
How to get multiple voices to speak as one
When you've established your brand voice, the next, most crucial step, is to ensure its consistency across all your locations. You can then start to position yourself as a familiar and identifiable authority in your industry.
The one guide to rule them all
To maintain this consistency in your brand voice, the first step is creating a style guide.
It will become a crucial document for current team members to refer to and will also help bring new employees up to speed more quickly.
As each store begins referring to this document and consistently adopts your brand voice on all their social pages, customer trust and loyalty will grow alongside it.
In constructing this guide you should include your company's values (what you say), who you say it to (your True Fan defined), and your company's personality (how you say it).
Style guides must also include examples of:
1. Copy used in different contexts (Facebook, YouTube, customer service messages, blog posts etc.)
2. Lists of words and phrase to use versus ones not to use
3. Screenshots of how copy might look on a website page, email newsletter or flyer (length, headings, images etc.)
4. Tone of voice (casual/professional, serious/nonchalant, authoritative/funny etc.)
5. A color palette, showing appropriate colors to use in visual media. Pictures speak a thousand words.
Keep in mind that a style guide is not a set-it-once-and-forget-it tool.
As your company grows or new competitors come into your market, your brand voice may have to adapt.
Content Database Ensure Consistency
One way of assuring that voice is never compromised is through having your own database of pre-approved content.
Not every local manager is a master of Instagram filters.
Many would love to have on-brand posts ready to go when that new special or seasonal deal campaign is starting.
Take the time to find and create a variety of content types. From in-house visuals to customer-created content. You can even revive old ad campaigns and repurpose them. After gathering this content, run it through the style guide one more time just to make sure it's perfect.
A content database saves everyone time and energy. It allows local managers to easily maintain social presence without compromising other work duties. And it saves you from having to thoroughly review every single post from your company's many locations.
If this seems like a daunting task, you're in luck as there are tools available to assist you.
MomentFeed's platform provides a content library that offers your local managers/franchisees a collection of brand approved content (templates and images). Additionally, we provide corporate marketing teams the ability to have oversight and final approval on all posts being published across all locations.
Granting you the ability to establish a strong, consistent voice, everywhere.
Boost Loyalty with a Consistent Brand Voice
Your customers view your brand as one entity. They have the same expectations of your business whether they visit a location in Ohio or Los Angeles. This trust is what keeps customers coming back. But without a strong brand voice across all your locations, that trust can be weakened, or even broken.
Maintaining a consistent and engaging voice creates brand loyalty that's worth more than any paid ad. You'll be able to extend customer lifecycles as trust grows and engage return customers in in-depth conversations resulting in insights greater than any survey could produce.
Ready to take control of your brand's voice? MomentFeed's Social Media Manager allows you to easily manage your social presence across many locations.
Monitor your brand's social interactions everywhere; all without disrupting local authenticity.
Contact us today to learn more.