The things you say to the world when you start a company and want to build a brand can be crucial to your success or failure. Today the access to information is easier than ever. You can fast publish your content to the world. Most of us can speak and write, and so we all feel that the communication part is easily done. You think you can do it with your eyes closed or it falls to the intern to write blogs and post on social media channels.
But clear communication which your audience will understand comes with years of practice, experience and behavioural knowledge. You shouldn’t be asking what it will cost you to hire an expert and use paid tools that can help you, but what it will cost you if you choose not to do it.
In a world full of information, clarity wins
People don’t buy the best products. They buy those they understand the fastest. If you don’t know how you are communicating, it can cost you your business. Before you press publish on your company page or your blog, take time to clarify your brand’s message. Make sure you have one story about your brand and one on your product. Both should be clear and easy to understand by a laic. Brands sometimes communicate 32 things, and as a result, get nowhere.
Practical tips on brand message, not just a lecture
I will share with you a few of the questions I cover when I work with my clients to clean up their online communication. I simplified the top level questions so that you can do this exercise yourself.
QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU CLARIFY BRAND MESSAGE
- What is it that you do?
- What makes you different and how do you do your business?
- Why are you brilliant at what you do?
- Why do you do what you do? Why does it matter?
- Is there anything you would change about how people see your business?
- Who are your customers?
Different types of content for achieving different goals
Not all content is equal when it comes to achieving your company branding objectives.
- Transparency is the way to attract customers. Share your beliefs and lifestyle so that your ideal customer can relate to you, trust you, and eventually become your brand advocate.
- For growth, you should also be authentic and share your opinions. Polarising values can help you grow because it will attract like-minded people. So don’t try to please everyone, have an opinion but let others have theirs, too.
- Once you build a crowd that can build your brand you want to create the content which shows your authority. When you are trying to sell your product, you must talk about the results, not features.
The importance of a clear message and consistency for growth and sales
You must understand that it will take a long time before your customers truly understand your brand and learn why they should be doing business with you. It might even feel uncomfortable to repeat the message over and over again. But storytelling has proven to work miracles for big companies so make sure you coin your story at an early stage, too.
That’s why you should develop a single message. You and your team must memorise it. Then you should communicate the same story on every opportunity for as long as it takes to teach, attract and educate your crowd about your brand and product. Consistency is key. Now, you are putting all the effort to ensure clear communication you want to make sure that you’re understood.
Don’t walk blindfolded in the world of big data
Since you’ve stuck with me up until now, you must be serious about making sure your brand’s communication sticks. You see, it’s not enough to put content out there and wish for success. You need to be checking if your potential customers understand you correctly. Use this information to adjust your message if they misunderstood you.
You want to know what are people genuinely saying about your products or services. More, you want to know who is taking and where those discussions are taking place. Social media like Instagram offer many tools to engage with your customers, but alone won’t show you the bigger picture. That’s where social listening tools come into place. From Business Intelligence to PR, you can quickly learn what people are saying about your business and products and this information is cheaper than ever. Use tools like SentiOne, which I often recommend to my clients, to gather the data. Next, adjust your messages where you detect discrepancies between what you have been saying and what the internet is repeating.
Communication and crisis management
Clear communication plays a crucial role in crisis management because it lets you change how you communicate to address the needs of your audience. With such affordable tools at our disposal, I’m shocked brands don’t take advantage of automated online data analytics more. Instead, they make the same communication and marketing mistakes they have committed before. An excellent example of a recent fail was Marks and Spencer’s breast cancer campaign. I believe every business at any stage should be using social listening tools. It gives you the power to know how you’re understood, so you don’t have to guess anymore.
Create a clear communication strategy using in-depth market analysis to make sure your brand reputation is safe and sound. Follow data-driven insights, keep your ear to the ground by tracking your brand mentions, and be prepared when the potential crisis is about to spread. If you react instantly, it might save you not only authority as a brand, but also revenue.