At some time or another, your business will reach a turning point and need to adjust your brand’s message. Whether it is caused by outside forces, mergers/acquisitions, or personal agendas, it is important to know how to maintain your brand voice as you make adjustments. At the end of Q2 in 2020, we are experiencing a devastating pandemic, potential economic recession, and civil unrest. All companies are adjusting their marketing message to address new concerns and further connect with their customers.
If you have reached the point where you need to adjust your marketing message, read this comprehensive guide on how to maintain your brand voice:
Simply because you are changing what message you are portraying does not mean you need to change your voice, tone, or style.
Businesses of all sizes have a brand voice. Even if you haven’t taken the time to sit down and detail what your voice is, you have one that naturally appears in every post. If you already have a brand guide, read through it and see what you can find. If you haven’t taken the time to create your brand guide, put that on the back burner for now and focus on reading through old emails, blogs, and social media posts.
You will be surprised at the number of constituencies you find over the past few months and years. Take note of them and keep those details in a safe space. It’s important to know your voice before you adjust messages in order to retain the image your audience has come to love, know, and respect.
Comments and praise on your brand voice may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of what followers and customers have mentioned to you either in person or online. However, you have had at least a few comments or reviews come through that are specific to your brand voice. Some examples include:
Each of these responses and the other comments that have come your way say something about your brand voice as much as it does your customer service, product/service offering, and customer service. You may need to read between the lines in some instances, but your positive feedback can tell you quite a bit about how others perceive your voice and marketing message.
Once you understand more about your brand voice, you can begin to adjust your marketing message. You need to determine the most appropriate way to communicate your new message to your loyal customers. Regardless of how delicate you are with shifting your message, you are likely to lose some individuals along the way. However, the more tactful you are with adjusting your message allows you to retain a higher number of followers.
As the pandemic continues to unfold, it’s important to keep your marketing message updated and current. You do not want incorrect information distributed throughout your local community because you may lose sales. In addition, you do to ensure your customers know you are complying with local ordinances.
Let your mask policy be known. If a mask is required to do business with you, make sure it is clear. You can create graphics with masks, use pictures of your staff serving customers, and have messages posted around your business. If you do not require masks, let customers know that social distancing is still enforced.
Wherever you stand with masks, be prepared for backlash from both sides. Have responses prepared that are written with your brand voice in mind and train your staff in how to appropriately handle the situation.
With more than 46 million Americans unemployed, worries of a potential economic recession continue to loom. You have a choice in how you handle the situation: bring words of hope or say nothing.
If you are not sure how to bring hope to your local community, see if you can gain inspiration from other businesses. If you want to be the source of hope, make sure you have an incredibly positive message that aligns with your brand’s voice and mission. If you are able to supplement your message with action - do so.
You could opt to say something negative, but that will likely not align with your brand voice or help you retain customers. Try to stick to positivity as much as possible, even on your personal accounts. Your personal accounts can be linked back to your business, which could impact how customers see your brand.
What you do in your personal time is a direct reflection of your business. So long as you are firm in your conviction, this should not raise any concerns. Simply ensure your brand voice is maintained while you are making your are adjusting your marketing message.
Aim for positivity and encouragement rather than focusing on belittling others. Ensure your message aligns with your brand. You can do this easily by creating a short, simple message. If you want to do more, make special offers that directly align with your business.
However, if you do not feel the need for your business to be directly associated with civil issues, then do not make any comments (positive or negative) via your business accounts. You should not adjust your marketing message in any way if this is how you feel. Keep your personal comments separate from your business.
Anyone who is incredibly close to your business should be high on your list when it comes to gaining opinions on your adjusted marketing message. However, they should not be the only ones you seek out. They are invested nearly as much as you are into this business, so be sure to seek outside opinions.
Speak with your professional connections in your network and those in your social circle you trust. Be sure they will not spread the initial draft of your message as this could cause adverse effects. Ask them if this sounds like your normal brand voice or if you are going way off track. The honest comments may make you feel one thing or another, but they will be beneficial in the long run.
Ultimately, your new message and what you support is your decision. However, it is in your best interest to understand how it will be interrupted.
Once you are sure you have maintained your brand voice, it’s time to make your new marketing message known. Be sure you are spreading the message through every digital marketing strategy you have available.
This includes (but is not limited to):
Now that you have adjusted your marketing message, you need to ensure all future content aligns with your new message. While you have maintained your brand voice, you may have changed your stance, altered customers of your beliefs, or ended partnerships with some brands.
If your marketing and advertising calendar for the month is already filled and ready to be released, take a moment to understand what needs to be moved around. You can typically move content back a week or two without any issues, depending on the time sensitivity. Consider looking into the next few months if you are that far ahead to ensure you will not contraindicate yourself down the road.
Throughout the business world, the main aspect that differentiates you from your competitors is your brand and its voice. You may offer the same products/services, but you retain your customers because of what makes you different. Your brand voice defines your brand image, and that image is what comes to mind when your customers think of you. Make sure you maintain the brand voice you have worked so hard to cultivate and maintain.
Your marketing message can always be adjusted, but your brand voice will continue to follow you. If it takes three, five, 15, or even 30 tries to adjust your new message, take all of the time and drafts you need to create the right message that captures your voice.