Your company voice is the soul of your brand. It’s what makes you stand out in a crowded marketplace and connect to your clients. It’s the very heart of your brand’s personality and you wouldn’t (and shouldn’t!) change it for the world.
But sometimes, things happen that might render your established brand voice inappropriate or tone-deaf. After all, there are times when you should sound fun and happy and others when you should be all business. We all know that already, but knowing it and putting it into practice are two different things.
For example, if your company voice is serious, stoic, and educational and you are trying to celebrate a new employee or attract young buyers with a new product, you’re going to have to lighten it up a little in order to connect. Similarly, if you are a traditionally fun, lighthearted brand and you are facing a natural disaster or tragedy — such as, perhaps, COVID-19 — you’re going to need to opt for something more somber.
That seems obvious, of course, but how do you actually put it into practice? How do you change your company voice for the times you live in without losing your brand identity?
Stay True To Your Brand
It’s a fine line to walk, but it is possible to stay true to your brand while altering your tone and voice slightly. Think about it this way, no human you know responds exactly the same way to every circumstance. It’s the variety that makes us interesting and engaging.
Your brand needs to have that same livelihood and personality. Your company should not be one tone constantly, even during normal times. Mixing it up while remaining true to the brand is an art, but it’s fairly easy when you think about your brand as a personality. And it’s even easier when you consider your buyer personas.
Ask yourself this: if I were networking with my clients in person, what would they want to hear from me right now? What would my buyer think is the relevant response to this situation? If you are the stoic, informative firm mentioned above and you’ve brought on a new employee, you can announce something like: “We’re excited to announce the addition of Kathryn Janeway to our incredible team! Say hi to Kathryn and welcome her on board!” Whereas the other firm, the fun one, may post something like: “It’s official, our Knoxville, Tenn. office has been invaded by a Florida Gator — but don’t worry, she promises she’s friendly. Just test her for yourself!” See? That’s some good fun while still staying true to the brands.
Another great example of a brand that stays true to themselves while keeping up with the circumstances is the Rosepepper Cantina in Nashville, Tenn. Known throughout the state as a fun, lighthearted brand famous for the clever sayings on their outdoor sign, Rosepepper Cantina is never short of a witty phrase. For example, this goody:
But as the COVID-19 pandemic forces restaurants to alter their processes, Rosepepper has managed to keep the humor, keep their voice, and still be timely, topical, and witty:
Of course, everything is more challenging when you are faced with the opposite scenario, like trying to market during a disaster or crisis. I’m sure you’ve seen brands all over the globe adapting their digital ads to the COVID pandemic. And you’ve probably seen some brands that haven’t adapted as well. I’m sure that you noticed those sticking out, looking tone-deaf and callous — we know we have — and you don’t want your brand to be seen the same way.
It’s vital that, as a content marketer, advertiser, or company selling goods and services, you keep up with what is happening in the world around you and adjust your voice to match. Does that ad of your product sitting on a poolside table while multitudes of people party in the background still make sense during COVID-19? It probably doesn’t and if you scheduled it a while ago it might be easy to overlook.
Review your content calendar often and make sure that you are on-brand while still being sensitive to the situation around you. This is even more important during times when regional tragedies might be occurring. For example, would you have wanted to be the callous company still advertising a New Orleans Mardi Gras trip right after Hurricane Katrina? No, we didn’t think so.
Keep An Eye On Competitors/Partners
One of the best ways to make sure that you are staying on track and keeping your brand appropriate is to watch what your competitors and partners are doing. Have they suspended all social media posting? Are they targeting only certain areas and demographics?
You don’t want to copy their strategy completely. After all, you are your own brand. But comparing notes with the leaders in your industry, your biggest competitors, and your partners is a good way to make sure you are on the right path moving forward.
Brainstorm Your Brand Voice
Creating a strong brand voice is hard and staying true to that voice during times of disaster or excitement is even harder. Are you comfortable with how you are communicating with your clients and prospects? Do you need help adjusting your voice to meet the expectations around you? VIEO can help. We are offering free consultations right now to help support our fellow business owners. We know how important company messaging is, especially right now. Schedule your free brainstorming session now to see how we can help you weather this storm and come out stronger.