Yep, you read that right. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’re already aware of today’s “holiday.” It’s a day to celebrate the tiny cartoon images on our devices that most of us use every day! Emojis have been in our lives for a long time. Beginning as components of chatroom conversations in the ’90s as emoticons, emojis have reshaped the way we communicate.
“Yes, they are cute and fun and kind of addictive, but they also improve our capacity to make our intended meaning known.” ~ Psychology Today
Whether or not you’re a fan of these little digital icons, there’s no denying that more and more successful brands are jumping on board with emoji marketing. And the brands that are doing it right present their emojis in ways that are both impressive and memorable.
Hilarious + Creative = Genius! Capturing the attention of fans, three simple emojis were used to spell out “Deadpool” to promote the new movie. This marketing campaign reportedly played a role in Deadpoolbreaking box office records for an R-rated movie. An emoji that appears to be smiling poo is not something you see on a billboard every day. This campaign is proof that doing the unexpected can totally pay off!
WWF’s #EndangeredEmoji Twitter Campaign
In 2015, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) developed the #EndangeredEmoji campaign with the goal to save animals from extinction. Targeting Millennials by using a social media platform and alternative communication methods proved to be a great idea. A fresh audience flocked to this emoji campaign, leading to 559,000 mentions and 59,000 sign-ups during the first month of the launch.
McDonald’s “Good Times” Emoji Marketing Campaign
McDonald’s produced a simple and lighthearted campaign to tell a short story using only emojis. They start by acknowledging a potentially bad day and showing empathy. They follow up with humor and the suggestion that visiting their business will turn your bad day around.
However, for every successful emoji marketing campaign, there have been other, less-than-successful attempts made. So, before you decide to incorporate emojis into your marketing campaigns, make sure they flow with your overall marketing strategy.
Creating a solid online presence across various social media outlets is an effective way to reach your target audience, engage with them in the best way, and reduce marketing costs.
Maybe you’ve already created a few social profiles to showcase your brand. However, what truly matters is what additional strategies you choose to attract your potential customers in hopes that they’ll spread awareness on their online network.
To help you out, we’re sharing five social media strategies that you can practice to improve your presence and achieve your goals!
1) Produce Multimedia-Based Content
Interactive videos and attention-grabbing pictures are more likely to get shared and liked than written content alone. Think about what you’d be drawn to as you aimlessly scroll through your news feed.
Campaigns and contests that promise rewards for the winners are always helpful if you’re looking to expand your customer base and appeal to a larger number of people. I mean, who doesn’t love a good freebie?
4) Set Up Your Brand
Take pride in your social media appearance! Creating a complete profile that includes a bio and a logo for your company on all your social profiles creates a well-functioning brand identity for your company. This increases credibility and gives you a consistent online identity.
5) Respond Promptly
If you want to create a loyal user base, it is so important that you take their comments and messages seriously. Your customers and potential customers are looking to you for solutions, so be ready to provide them with one in a timely manner.
Using the suggested tips above and applying your creativity to your campaign strategy will get you ready to brighten up your business! If you’re not sure where to start, or social media just isn’t your thing, hit us up! We live, sleep, and breathe all things social!
Social media marketing. Search engine optimization. Branding. Copywriting. When people find out the type of work that I do, they will undoubtedly ask all the questions about what it actually entails. Look – as a digital marketer, I could take you down the rabbit hole at any given time trying to explain what goes into it, but it would take hours… days… YEARS! Maybe not years, but you catch my drift. My goal for this blog as a whole is to help you get your feet wet and inform you of the importance of digital marketing, little by little, without totally overwhelming you.
Well, I’m delighted you asked! Like most digital marketing terms, branding means more than just one thing, and typically, it means different things to different people. Some see branding as good public relations, and some believe it to be a simple logo or slogan. Branding can include both of these things and so much more. For me, your brand represents your business’s identity, enhances your culture, and extends your value proposition. Your brand is your personality, your story – a story that cultivates your vision, influencing your mission. The strongest, most successful brands use a distinct direction and a powerful message to guide the creative and visual aspects of their brand.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” ~ Seth Godin
Mr. Godin is totally onto something here. You must communicate your story clearly so that your audience can pick up what you’re putting down. The goal is for your audience to develop a positive feeling and a grasped concept regarding your brand. Your brand is your foundation. It is the fundamental ground that upholds your values, message, mindset, and more.
When Evaluating Your Brand, Keep These Tips in Mind:
Invest in Discovery: Conducting a brand audit is the only way to review where your company’s brand stands today. Check out your brand’s past history. What’s working and what’s not?
Be Confident in Your Direction: Ensure that your employees (especially those with leadership roles) have a firm grasp on the vision and mission for the company. This may not be fully mapped out before you begin a branding process, but having some sort of concept in mind is beneficial.
Keep an Open Mind: Let go of your preconceived notions and restrictions, as they may be holding you back from brand growth and direction. Immerse yourself in any and all ideas, even if in the end, the reins are pulled back. Being open-minded will allow you to reach and exceed your creative potential.
Work with a ThirdParty: Branding or rebranding is difficult for any company. Sometimes you’re just too close to your own brand, and an outsider’s perspective can give you the fresh insight you didn’t even realize you needed.
Enjoy Yourself: Branding is important stuff, and falling into a state of constant stress and worry is easy to do during this process. But if you have fun with it and work with a proven agency or consultant to guide you through the madness, your journey will be all the more positive and exciting!
So, are your wheels turning yet? Do you know what your brand stands for? How well are you communicating your story? Is your brand strategy aligned with your marketing plan? If you’re unable to answer these questions, or you think it may be time to revisit your strategy, we’re here for you!
How To Develop & Maintain a Consistent Brand Voice
When you think about branding, probably the first thing that comes to mind is a logo. A close second would likely be a specific color scheme that you closely identify with the brand. But any properly developed brand must also have a distinct style of writing and speaking. This is commonly referred to as its brand voice.
Having a strong, cohesive brand voice is one of the most important components in building a successful business. Research has shown that consumers prefer brands with unique personalities. When asked which factors help a brand stand out in the crowded social media space, 40% of consumers surveyed cited memorable content, 33% noted a distinct brand personality, and 32% stated that compelling storytelling was key. And what do memorable content, distinct personality, and compelling storytelling have in common? You guessed it: brand voice.
Every time you send an email, answer a customer support call or speak to someone face-to-face, you’re exercising your brand voice – whether you realize it or not. With each of these interactions, people are building up an impression in their minds about your brand. If this impression is to be a true reflection of your brand to followers, readers, listeners, prospects, and customers, you must be intentional about how you use your brand voice.
Identifying your brand voice isn’t easy. It demands a great deal of introspection as well as an intimate understanding of who you are as a brand. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into what brand voice is, why it’s important, and learn how to develop and refine your own brand voice.
Brand Voice vs. Brand Tone: What’s the Difference?
You may have heard of brand voice before, but what about brand tone? Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, but there are a few distinct differences.
Brand voice is how you express the personality of your brand through your chosen communication channels and to your target audience. It helps potential customers recognize and relate to your brand, get a feel for your mission and core values, and ensure that your message cuts through the noise.
While a different tone may be called for in specific situations, your tone should always feel consistent with your brand voice. If your tone is off in some way, your audience may end up feeling insulted or angry. Whereas if your tone strikes the right chord, the audience may be convinced to stay and listen.
WHY IS BRAND VOICE IMPORTANT?
A Strong Brand Voice Creates a Favorable First Impression
According to Forbes, it only takes 7 seconds for your target audience to form an initial opinion about your brand. Whether this first impression is positive or negative relies heavily on your brand voice.
If you can craft a brand voice that effectively communicates what your company stands for and “who” it is, you’ll have a much easier time converting web visitors into loyal customers.
A Consistent Brand Voice Enhances Brand Recognition
Time for a bit of self-analysis. If your company logo didn’t appear alongside your content, could your audience easily identify the content as coming from you? Would someone viewing your content on different channels be able to recognize that it all originated from the same brand? If the answer to either of those questions is “no,” you probably have some work to do when it comes to brand voice.
Frequent or dramatic shifts in brand voice may cause confusion about your brand identity. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up with a random assortment of voices and tones in the content you produce, which doesn’t provide potential customers with a consistent picture of who your brand is.
Maintaining a consistent voice across all your media channels delivers a cohesive feel to your brand. Brands with strong voices will “sound” the same on social media, in email communications, and in blog posts – even if three different individuals or teams create content for these channels. Ultimately, potential customers should be able to subconsciously associate certain words, phrases, ideas, or emotions with your brand.
A Cohesive Brand Voice Helps Build Trust with Your Audience
People prefer to support brands that they trust. In fact, a recent survey found that more than 80% of consumers want to feel like they can trust a brand before they’ll consider buying from them.
A well-crafted brand voice offers a unique opportunity to humanize your brand and demonstrate to your customers that you’re sincere and trustworthy in each interaction you have with them. If consistently applied, your brand voice can help establish enduring relationships with your existing followers as well as attract new prospects.
Think of your brand’s voice as a character. Stay “in character” and your audience will come to view your brand as a friend or a trusted expert. “Break character” and you’ll confuse your audience and risk breaking their trust. By being transparent, personal, helpful, and knowing your products and services better than anybody else, you can not only build trust with your customers but maintain it for the long haul as well.
A Compelling Brand Voice Helps Increase Brand Loyalty
Consumers are becoming increasingly selective about which brands they prefer to regularly support and align themselves with. When people solidly connect to the way your brand communicates online, a relationship begins to form in their minds.Ift these consumers need to purchase a product or service that you offer, they are much more likely to become your customers and remain loyal to your brand if they perceive this emotional connection.
When your brand voice changes constantly, you may be forfeiting the opportunity to demonstrate to consumers that they can trust your brand to understand their “pain points” and dependably deliver solutions. A consistent brand voice assures consumers that the brand is carrying out the company’s mission and fulfilling its promises to the customer.
A Powerful Brand Voice Positions Your Business As an Authority in the Field
Whether you sell a product, offer a service, or both, you have specific expertise that could be valuable both to customers as well as to other businesses. By communicating consistently in the brand voice you’ve created, you can help position yourself as an easily identified and authoritative source for your area of expertise.
One of the primary reasons that customers side with certain brands is not necessarily the quality of the products, but rather the quality of the content they produce. By providing useful tips on various topics related to your niche or products, you’re not only demonstrating your expertise but also increasing awareness for your brand.
When your business is regarded as an authority in the field, people will come to you to solve their problems. And that means business!
A Distinctive Brand Voice Helps You Stand Out from the Crowd
In the digital age, brands are faced with growing competition for consumer attention, interaction, and loyalty. You can only stand out so much on the strength of your visual content, logo, or product features.
The most enduring companies have a strong personality and a clear sense of purpose. The distinct voice they’ve created is used to consistently convey their message everywhere the brand has a presence.
This is where the rubber meets the road. As we’ve seen thus far, a consistent brand voice can help you better relate to your customers, establish your company as a reliable solution provider, achieve your company’s mission by following through on promises, and build your audience’s trust in you.
All of this ultimately adds up to more closed deals and higher revenue. In fact, research has proven that brands that invest in developing and exercising a cohesive brand voice will see their revenue increase by an average of 23%! Simply put, when consumers feel like your brand voice connects well with them, they’re much more likely to buy from your business.
HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR OWN BRAND VOICE
Companies that have developed a strong brand voice haven’t approached the process lightly or haphazardly. They’ve taken active steps to define what and how they want to communicate their message and documented it in detail so that every point of contact with their customers is positive, on-brand, and consistent.
This is extremely important since how you deliver your message to customers and prospects truly matters. In fact, it’s one of the key factors that can make or break a deal.
A good place to start in developing your brand voice is to take a hard look at your company’s purpose, vision, mission, and values.
Who are you? Why do you exist? How do your clients benefit from what you have to offer?
What kind of future do you want to create? What goals do you want to achieve? Do you aim to make a difference in your community or the world at large? What sets your company apart from the competition?
What do you plan to do to create the future you’ve envisioned? What are you trying to accomplish as a company? What do you want your audience to say and think about you?
If you’re still struggling to pin down the particulars of your brand identity, imagine your brand as a person and try to describe its personality. How do your brand’s personality traits differ from those of your competitors?
This is an exercise you can get creative and have some fun with. Determining what type of person your company would be if it were a human being can help you gather valuable insights into the people who are most likely to connect with your brand.
What does this “person” look like? What kind of language do they use? Are they energetic or more laid-back? What does their ideal day look like?
That’s where completing a “We’re ______, but we’re not ______” exercise can come in handy. Fill in the blanks of the sentence and duplicate the process several times until you’ve settled upon three or four sentences that best describe your brand. Once you’ve determined what your brand is not, then you can begin outlining what your brand actually is and how to
When you’ve gained a better understanding of your brand’s DNA, you can begin to consider how you will express it through your brand voice.
Research your target audience’s characteristics, habits, and behavioral patterns. Collect as much info as you can about their demographics, age range, education, job title, income level, likes/dislikes, and buying motivation.
As most of your customer interactions will transpire online, the words you use will leave a lasting impression in the minds of your target audience. The more you can align your voice with the language your audience uses, the easier it will be for potential customers to identify with you.
In addition, it’s critical to determine your target audience’s preferred method of communication. Not all demographics communicate the same way – some may prefer to be contacted on social media, while others may prefer email. Knowing how your audience prefers to engage with brands allows you to home in on the most appropriate marketing channels to create your brand voice.
What might make them care about your company, product, or service?
Does what they care about align with what your brand stands for?
AUDIT YOUR CURRENT CONTENT
Every piece of content you publish makes a statement about your brand, whether you’re purposefully crafting a voice or not. If the voice your readers are already hearing from you isn’t in keeping with your brand’s values and purpose, you may need to make adjustments to align your content with your brand.
Your audience will be the ultimate measure of whether you’ve created a successful brand voice. If your voice doesn’t resonate with your audience, then it probably isn’t the right voice.
To gain greater insight into how your brand voice currently sounds, conduct an audit of your existing content across all marketing platforms, including webpages, blog posts, social media posts, videos, e-books, print collateral, in-store signage, etc.
Extrapolate the key characteristics of the voice used in these pieces. Take note of which aspects you feel can, and should, be reproduced across your brand as a whole.
Which of these examples could have originated from one of your competitors? Set those aside. Narrow down your examples to only those that embody the brand voice that you want to represent.
DECIDE ON YOUR BRAND’S TONE OF VOICE
Once you’ve decided what your voice is, it’s time to focus on the tone of your brand. Think about what your product or service does for people. How does it solve their problems or enhance their lives? Your tone of voice should reflect and reinforce that.
When people interact with your brand, how do you want them to feel? If you want to make your audience laugh, then your tone might be whimsical, engaging, and accessible. Whereas if you want to raise awareness for a specific issue, your tone might be more compassionate, inspirational, and heartfelt.
Knowing the answers to these big-picture questions can help you pinpoint the emotional brand experience you’re attempting to deliver. Cultivating your brand tone of voice is an effective way to accomplish this.
Remember, brand voice is what you say and brand tone is how you say it. As your tone may vary across different audiences or platforms, it’s a good idea to document in your brand style guide – which we’ll talk about shortly – how content creators should utilize certain tones in specific situations.
DON’T COPY THE COMPETITION
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery; but about branding, it won’t do your business any favors. Sure, it’s worthwhile to analyze how your competitors craft a certain tone and engage with their customers, but you shouldn’t try to imitate their style.
Attempting to emulate your rivals’ success may attract people’s attention – but not in a good way. Branding decisions that too closely resemble those of your competitors will make you look like a wannabe or a blatant ripoff.
When developing a brand, businesses often create a style guide that defines standards for copywriting, graphics, colors, fonts, images, and all other branding details. This guide serves as a framework for all members of the team to follow when developing content.
Much like your brand style guide, your brand voice also needs documentation. Creating a brand voice document will help keep your social media posts and marketing copy in check and consistent – especially if you have more than one content creator on your team.
By creating a brand voice chart, you can organize and further elaborate on the brand attributes you’ve defined so far. Try to come up with three to four words (typically adjectives) that best represent your brand and complete a chart consisting of four columns – “Characteristics,” “Description,” “Do’s,” and “Don’ts” – explaining how each trait should and shouldn’t be represented in your marketing.
Your brand voice chart is a great starting point for creating a larger brand voice document – a crucial reference guide that helps your content creators understand what does and doesn’t align with your defined brand voice.
Your formal brand voice document should begin with your company’s core values and mission statement; but it should also include other key components of your brand, such as personality traits, common vocabulary and phrases, as well as your desired tone of voice. Additionally, you should include examples of content that “hit the mark” as well as pieces that aren’t necessarily reflective of the brand voice you’ve defined.
Establishing well-defined brand voice guidelines helps make sure that brand standards are upheld, and that every customer-facing asset your company creates sounds like one cohesive brand – even if you have several different people creating content and writing copy.
Make it a point to meet with your key content creators and communicators at designated times – whether every quarter, during major brand makeovers, or during large-scale events that could significantly alter your company’s marketing strategy – to reevaluate your brand voice.
Identify any voice attributes that haven’t performed well or, for whatever reason, are better in theory than in practice. Without regular reviews of your brand voice, you risk sounding outdated or out of touch with current events.
You want to ensure that everyone who may have a hand in creating communications from your company is on the same wavelength about what both the brand’s voice and tone should sound like.
Your brand voice is the first impression you leave with consumers, as well as the cornerstone of developing relationships with them as customers. It’s a critical step toward becoming a company with dedicated clients and a long-standing place in the market.
Much like a writer develops a character, your brand voice also demands careful development. Successfully keeping your brand “in character” calls for meticulous attention to detail, but it will prove profitable for your business.
While brand voice consistency is essential, flexibility is equally important. Be prepared to modulate your brand voice as customer priorities – and the market – change over time.
How will you know when you’ve found the right voice? It’s pretty simple, actually. When you publish a piece of content or launch a new marketing campaign and a reader recognizes that it’s your company before they even click, you’ll know you’ve found your voice.
How to Differentiate Your Products & Services in a Saturated Market
The fact of the matter is, in some areas, the market is simply oversaturated. In certain spaces, trying to differentiate your products and services so that your brand stands out can be really difficult.
Whether by lowering your prices, boosting the quality of your products, or making the buying experience simple and convenient, you have to find ways to establish your brand as superior to the competition within the same space.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider these five strategies to help differentiate your business in a crowded market:
Know Your Competition
All those search results you came up with aren’t necessarily cause for concern for your business. As a matter of fact, you can put those results to good use by clicking on the top hits to see what you’re up against. After all, they are your competition.
Examine their features, price points, and return policies. Pay attention to their branding and messaging. Try to locate info on their suppliers as well as their purchasing strategies. Browse through their social media pages, paying special attention to one-star and five-star reviews.
Anything consumers dislike about your competitors is an opportunity for you to do more successfully. Something at which your competitors excel should be a foundational area of focus in regard to your products or services.
Find Your Niche
Within any market, there are an endless number of niches. Some landscaping companies specialize in lawn care. Within lawn care, some providers concentrate on either residential or commercial services.
In an oversaturated space, it may seem as though every niche has already been spoken for. If that’s the case, don’t try to directly compete with others; rather, create your own niche.
If your product or service has already been launched, you may be forced to pivot. Before committing to redevelopment, do some research.
Is the niche you’ve chosen large enough to support your company? What are consumers’ specific areas of concern?
Before jumping in headfirst, make sure you’re capable of addressing these pain points profitably.
Streamline Your Channel
How do you distribute your products? In certain markets, complicated supply chains cause products to pass through half a dozen hands before making it to the end user.
Cutting out some of the intermediaries will not only help you price your products more cost-effectively, but it will also allow you to create tighter feedback loops with your customers. Perform a comprehensive supply chain audit to identify any steps you could eliminate from the chain.
Develop Your Street (or Online) Cred
In a crowded market, credibility is key. Consumers frankly don’t want to bother with researching a thousand different brands, so they pick the one they know and trust.
Establishing a trustworthy brand is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep tabs on your social media pages to see what customers are saying about your products and services. Read every rating and review you receive. Be mindful of what customers like and dislike about your products, customer service, and delivery.
Don’t respond in anger when you encounter negative reviews. Instead, strive to make changes that speak to those concerns and emphasize your best features. Being quick to react will cultivate consumer trust and translate into positive buzz around your brand.
Don’t Simply Make Sales – Build Relationships
There’s another good reason why branding takes time. It’s because building rewarding relationships with customers doesn’t happen immediately.
Making genuine connections with customers is akin to cooking an authentic dish: The proper ingredients – exemplary customer service, a dynamite product, and a pinch of personalization, to name a few – must be blended properly and simmered steadily.
Regardless of the density of your market, it’s no easy task to differentiate your business from your competitors. If you want to inspire loyalty from old customers and sway new ones to choose you, you’ll have to do your homework.
If you need help distinguishing your brand in a crowded market, digital marketing can be a great solution. The friendly folks at HighClick Media are experts at all aspects of digital media, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing. Give us a call at 252.814.2150 to see how we can help you elevate your brand!