Four easy steps to help you mind your brand language
You know there’s scope for improvement in the consistency and quality of your customer communications.
So, how do you go about it?
Here are four simple steps to get you started:
- Be distinctive
Look at the tone of voice used by competitors in your sector. If you’re to stand out from the crowd, you need to be different. And consistent in how you apply it. Maybe your competitors are professional, but rather dry and detached. You can still opt to be professional, but friendly and engaging with a more direct and personal approach. But you probably don’t want to be overly familiar.
- Find your authentic personality
To be clear and consistent, give your brand a defined personality. Think about it as a person. What would she say and do in specific situations? How would she dress? What would she read? What music would she listen to? Is she loud and assertive? Subtle yet persuasive? Cheeky? Chatty? Charming? Create a mood board of pictures to bring to life the sort of person your brand is and how she behaves. Then apply those insights to everything you say and do.
- Get specific
Identify the specific words, expressions and messages you’ll use in routine, everyday situations. When you answer the phone, should you say hi, hello or good morning? How will you address readers of your letters and emails? Dear Mr Smith or Morning Dave? The way you sign off needs to mirror the style of your greeting – Morning Dave followed by Yours Sincerely looks odd. And what will you say to convince prospects that your business is different and special?
- But don’t stifle people’s natural personality
Make sure you retain some flexibility. If you’re too rigid in your approach, your people will feel constrained and uncomfortable. Successful brands define their desired brand personality. They provide clear examples and guidelines to their staff. They tell them what they must avoid and what they should aim for. And then they let them get on with it. They don’t tie them up in a straitjacket.
The behaviour and attitude of your staff should be the most powerful example of your brand in action. They need to own and live the brand as much as you do. And they need to feel able to express it in a way that works for them, within the parameters you’ve agreed.
Sorting your brand language needn’t be difficult. It does need discipline.
Just do it.
What are your brand language challenges and how have you dealt with them?