The other day I saw a Facebook post for a candy company that caught my attention. It gave an interesting bit of trivia about the history of rock candy, and ended with a soft call to action. The company’s intentions proved fruitful, because I clicked through to the website. And that’s when everything went wrong.
The website was dull, completely void of the fun, hip style that I’d found in the Facebook post. The inconsistency of voice left a sour taste (and not the good Warheads candy kind) in my mouth. I had the feeling I’d been duped.
Whether intentional or not, this bait-and-switch tactic can do wonders for defiling your brand. However, there are three simple tips to help keep your brand’s consistency of voice in check, and avoid such a mistake.
1. The Friend-of-a-Friend Test
This simple test if based off a scenario that occurs all too often—your friend has hyped you up about meeting a friend of theirs, but when you meet the friend of your friend you find that the stories don’t seem to match the person. In others words: the marketing misconstrued the product.
To conduct the Friend-of-a-Friend test, tell someone unfamiliar with your brand the story of your brand’s voice. Then provide them with your marketing materials (examples of facebook and twitter posts, direct mail pieces, website, videos, the whole shebang).
Once they’ve gone through the materials, ask if the brand story you told was consistent with the materials provided. You’d be surprised at how such a simple test can shed light on faults in the brand’s voice consistency, giving you a glimpse into the mind of a potential customer.
2. Beware the “Lennon”
Like John Lennon said, he’s not the only dreamer out there. Hence, we’ve deemed ideas that, while great in their own respect, exist in a dream-like vacuum of creativity separate from the brand’s voice, a “Lennon.”
While a catchy facebook post, video or blog can seem like a brilliant idea at the time, make sure to remember the importance of brand analysis in relation to your new idea. Brilliant as it may be, evaluating its message and how it aligns with your brand will help your idea from becoming the next “Lennon.”
3. Be You
Sounds like common sense, but ask yourself: “What is my brand’s voice?”
If you can’t answer immediately with one or two simple sentences, then you may be facing the inconsistency of voice that can plague a brand. Trying to cover multiple bases in order to reach the widest possible audience could mean trouble. Missed sales, confused customers and negative word of mouth are but a few side effects of not being able to answer the simple question: “What is my brand’s voice?”
Don’t try to be a brand you’re not. And the first step to your brand being itself is figuring out what exactly your brand's voice is.
Brand voice consistency can be tricky. The heat of competition and the pressure of bringing in new customers can cause companies to veer from their brand's voice in hopes of garnering attention. But remember: just as the quality of your product should provide end-to-end accountability, so should your brand’s voice.