Many of you might claim that you are NOT “brand conscious”, or that you do not make too much fuss about the brands you buy. You might even go so far as to say that you are not influenced by brand messaging.
But the truth is, that right from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, you are being bombarded by many subtle and some not so subtle brand messages. This in effect plays a part in influencing your preference towards a particular brand. For example, the very fact that you use a toothpaste with a red cap or a green cap, is a subtle brand message that made you decide to buy that particular toothpaste brand. It takes in-depth research, meticulous planning, and exhaustive execution, to ensure that a brand is communicating its core message in every interaction with the consumer/user.
Brand communication essentially consists of three main elements that get further nuanced and diversified. But, for anyone looking to create a communication strategy for their brand, these three elements are a good start – Core Brand Messages, Content Tonality, and, Visual language.
Think about the one thing that you want someone to know about your brand when they come in contact with it, this is your core message. You may extend this to up to three (not more) messages. It also includes how you want your customers to feel when they come in contact with your brand.
What it is:
What it is not:
Coca-Cola says – We are the ultimate thirst quencher Salesforce says – We bring companies and customers together
Starbucks says – We inspire and nurture the human spirit
If we look at the Starbucks example, they follow through with it across all their brand interactions, right from the barista who welcomes you, to the free wifi, to the regularly updated menu, and great locations to spend quality time.
Remember, in a world with short attention spans, keeping your core message as the guiding light of all your communication will help. The core message(s) comes together through all the “touch-point” or interactions a consumer has with your brand.
With so many tools and channels available for brands to communicate, maintaining consistency becomes important. The tone of what you say is just as important as the message you are giving the consumer. But how does one define tonality of voice for a brand?
The Nielson Norman Group had identified these four dimensions for tonality to be used for website content – humour, formality, respectfulness, and enthusiasm. Each dimension can be thought of as a 3-point scale, with a neutral midpoint. They can be used to create comparable tone profiles for content. Tones could fall at either extreme of each dimension, or somewhere in between:
Going back to the Starbucks example, their tone of voice is informal and the language used is friendly and this is consistent across all platforms, from their website to their social media accounts, and the baristas working in their stores. This in turn aligns with their core message of being a human-centric brand that inspires and nourishes.
Remember, your tone of voice should be consistent with your target audience, as well as with the truth of who you are and what the brand represents. Consistency is key here.
Visual language for your brand is the combination of various design elements – such as shape, colour, materials, finish, typography and composition. They directly and subliminally communicate you brand’s values and personality. A well defined visual language will translate in to compelling imagery and design style.
Every element is carefully chosen to communicate a clear brand message. It may start with a creative logo, but extends beyond in to every brand interaction.
Everything in the Starbucks visual language, creates a sense of timelessness, warmth and intrigue. The two-tailed mermaid, green and neutral tones, and earthy material used in-store are all meant to evoke these feelings in anyone who enters.
Remember, visual language helps bring your brand message alive. Every element needs to be looked at individually, as well as how it comes together as a whole.
Brand communication takes time, planning and consistency. It need not be an expensive proposition. You should start working on it from the time you dream up a new idea and want to take it to the world.
Get in touch with us if you want to have a chat about how you can create a clear and compelling brand communication strategy.
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