I have this phrase that springs to mind every time I have to undertake something new, it was drummed into me at an early age you see, and I have never forgotten it – ‘proper preparation prevents poor performance’ – thanks Dad, I’ve twisted my tongue a few times saying that one! And this is something that can be can be said for many tasks, whether you are applying for a job, launching a new product or setting up a business, you are sure to do better if you put in the research.
Nowadays there are so many ways to make yourself seen and heard that you cannot afford to hit and hope; with so many media channels and outlets, from tweeting to blogging, tv to radio, billboards to flyers, websites to email, and beer mats to exhibition stands; how do you ensure that all content maintains a consistent message and brand identity?
In order to ensure a consistent and thorough message throughout your content, your marketing and your brand need a consistent tone of voice and brand guideline. If both tone of voice and brand guidelines are then created and followed in a meticulous manner, you will achieve a harmonised message across all channels and platform.
Creating a tone of voice document is the most important part of this process as it is the lynchpin by which all content and communications will be determined. This is where your preparation comes in, and in order to create a tone of voice and brand guidelines you need to research and determine the following:
Who are you talking to?
What “language” do they speak?
What platforms do your customers prefer?
What are their expectations of you
Demographic information on target audiences can be gathered from various sources and market research platforms but you will get some of your best stats by analysing your own database which will give you the best indicator of who your audience is.
For example, take a brand like Apple, they know they are talking to younger, technology craving, trend setting/following and early adopting consumers. They have identified the language that their audience speak as modern and trendy and they know their main platforms are online, mobile and tech platforms, and that their customers’ expectations are for cutting edge technology with a modern design.
These premises shape their whole tone of voice, communication and marketing content across all their channels. No matter what channel and what platform, all their messages follow this tone and guideline and therefore all Apple content marketing is consistent and clearly Apple.
So now you know what you want in order to keep content consistent, but how can you monitor and check if you are doing this right in reality?
In terms of researching the effectiveness and consistency of your message and content, this can be done in many ways. Customer surveys and questionnaires can give a good indication about the various marketing communications your participants have seen and what values and messages they took from each one.
A more wide scale way to measure consistency of content and its effectiveness could be through something like focus groups. These give you the opportunity to ask a broad mix of people lots of questions about their perception of your business and marketing based on content and brand messaging you have exposed them to. You should include a mix of customers and non-customers to get as rounded a set of results as possible.
Another effective way to ensure consistency through research would be for an external company to carry out an audit. Début Marketing can analyse and carry out a full audit of your marketing content and check for consistency, giving you a detailed report and advice upon completion.
And last but not least, ensure all those with an input and influence over your marketing content are “singing from the same hymn sheet”. By researching if they know your objectives, tone of voice and brand guidelines, this will give you confidence that everyone is consistent in their ideas and will ensure a closer harmony across all channels.
OK, so next week we will talk about tips for creating content that people will want to consume.