In an era when shorter is better -and- less is more, how does a brand effectively articulate its intentions?
The answer to effective brand communication lies within its building blocks.
What does this mean?
Think about your home, for instance.
If you were to list your home with a real estate agent the first thing you’d want to share is information on your neighborhood. This contextualizes where the home is located (we call this positioning).
Then you would describe the year of construction, lot size, potential annual revenues, and city evaluation (we call these attributes).
Next, you’ll want to talk about its proximity to the schools and public transportation, parks and stores. How’s the walking score? (we call this value-added).
You certainly want to give your potential buyer a good idea about what makes the home extra special – maybe that extension you built last summer, that custom-designed in-ground pool, or that beautiful deck that makes your neighbors envious (we call these differentiators).
But that wouldn’t be quite enough to sell the home, would it? The next thing to do is open your doors and allow people to experience the interior – the environment. Is it well-lit? Renovated? Laid-out efficiently? Do the original wooden floors squeak at just the right place? Are the crown moldings original? The sum of how one feels inside the house gives its biggest appeal (we call this personality).
So, ask yourself why we struggle to open the doors when it comes to our brand identities?
The very thing that makes brand communication strong is the inner world that most people don’t see.
The stronger we listen, the smarter we share.
Brand communication by definition, is a strategic process used to convey a brand’s message, values, and identity to its target audience. It encompasses all of the important aspects you would consider when buying a home – specifically the personality (or the inside of the dwelling) that is easy to distinguish, but at times difficult to describe.
What matters most when brand communication is at stake?
Lots – but here are 5 things (scratch that) 7 things you should do:
- Define your personality: this is one of the most misunderstood and overlooked aspects of branding. It is ambiguous, intangible and cannot be easily measured. But understanding your personality in branding is foundational to creating a distinct communication style. The global reference we prefer is a methodology that uses Archetypes. These industry-tested, universal characters help people understand themselves and the world around them. When used in branding, Archetypes set the tone and narrative of a brand identity that is easily recognized. More on Archetypes here.
- Determine your brand trifecta: this is a useful exercise that will help you position your brand. It considers skillset, passion, and uniqueness – your differentiator is at the intersection of all three. The term USP or Unique Selling Proposition is often derived from this reflection.
- Know your customer: not in a high-level, demographics kind-of-way (though this is useful as well). Knowing your customer means having a deep understanding of what keeps them up at night, what they fear, what they aspire to achieve, what their biggest goals are, and the skeletons in their closets – or as many shadows as you can identify. This will serve as a basis for the Value Proposition.
- Craft a message, beyond words: the art of articulating a brand’s core values, promise, and positioning in a compelling and consistent manner is where most people get stuck. This is not because copywriters are hard to find or because AI hasn’t made it easier, it is because the art of messaging is how well you communicate the feeling of being inside the house (remember that analogy?) Ensuring that the tone, manner and approach is coherent with your brand personality is always what creates impact and authenticity.
- Tell a story, not a thesis: less is more, except when it comes to storytelling. Think of your favorite book or movie. The very scenes you remember are the ones you can describe to a T. This proves that we, as humans, relate to stories and have the ability to retell even the most detailed stories – if they’re captivating! This doesn’t mean your brand story has to be long, but the elements you include make it real (and impactful) to the external world. Storytelling can be a powerful tool. Begin by crafting key moments in the story that allow your audience to connect emotionally with it. Understand the key lessons that came from the struggles. Writer’s block? Ask about how our Brand Script Formula framework can help you craft an outline!
- Communicate through experiences: people may recall portions of what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Every interaction they have with your brand is a communication touchpoint – and providing a positive and consistent customer experience helps reinforce your message and build trust. Think about the space (virtual or physical) – how you run discovery sessions – even what happens between meetings is all part of the experience.
- Choose the right cadence: how often you communicate is a variable that most people struggle with. What frequency should you use? The short answer – it depends. Communication frequency with an existing customer would likely be much higher than with a cold lead or prospect. Speaking to their interest will allow for more opportunities to connect, but the rule of thumb is – keep it consistent. If you send a newsletter monthly, keep that up. Don’t vary from 3 touch points per week, to nothing for the next 6 months. When most people get upwards of 10,000 marketing messages a day, it’s important to stay on course.
And when in doubt, think about the interior of the home! Effective brand communication always lies within its building blocks, so don’t be afraid to open your doors and invite people to the Open House ; )
It won’t feel like ‘home’ to everybody, but those who like it, will surely want to stay.