Sometimes a game is a pleasant way to spend time and sometimes it’s something else. The game Whispers is an example of the latter.
You might have played it or heard its story. It goes like this: Players form a circle. The first player is given a message and whispers in the ear of the second player. The second player whispers the message to the third person and so on. The last player shares what she or he heard out loud, and then the first player shares the original message.
Most every time, the two messages are different, sometimes laughably so. Players mishear or change words along the way and the changes add up. The end result often is something very different than what was intended.
The Whispers game is great fun to watch. The fun meter dips, however, when you consider this: The same outcome might be happening in your brand, sales and marketing campaigns. Too often, marketing impact is diminished or lost over time when slight or not-so-slight changes occur in value messaging. Multiple, confusing, watered-down and inconsistent value messages hinder sales effectiveness and the growth of mindshare (consumer awareness of your product or service) and brand recall (likelihood of remembering your product and its advantage).
The pace and volume of marketing communication today makes the likelihood of damage greater. Competing in digital spaces (web, social media, email marketing, etc.) demands a steady stream of content. The more content produced (typically rapid-fire succession), the more risk of getting off benefit or diluting key differentiators.
The goal for marketers, of course, is to make every conversation as impactful as possible and to grow the momentum of past conversations. Having a well-defined, ownable difference (USP or value proposition) is a must to start. Getting your team to “sing the same song” across all its touchpoints is the next step. Discipline (resisting the inevitable temptation to add one thing and another) comes next. Message auditing (reviewing messages across all channels to make sure they are consistent) is another important but often overlooked piece of the puzzle.
Keep your eyes and ears open is the final piece of advice. If your brand isn’t speaking to your value consistently, it may be time for a game changer. A Smith Kroeger brand-discovery process can assist with the difficult first task of finding an ownable difference. We can help you zero in on the benefits that distinguish you and help you get that message out to audiences in meaningful, compelling and consistent ways.
Smith Kroeger is a full-service advertising agency grounded in business. We offer proven, imaginative, ROI-driven brand strategy services to clients big and small in a variety of industries.