Many companies won’t want to admit it, but the way they think their brands are represented to the public is not actually aligned with public perception. If you find this thought unsettling, have no fear – here are some ways to mitigate the situation. You may even recognize a few themes from my previous blog, Five Steps for Developing Your Brand Voice. Check it out if you’re seeking more in-depth solutions for building your brand.
Q: Why do you think there is a disconnect between the way a brand views itself versus what the public perceives?
A: A mentor of mine is fond of saying, “It’s difficult to read the label from inside the bottle.” The perceptions of brand representatives are often clouded by what their beliefs and aspirations are for the brand, whereas customers deal with the reality of it from an end-user point of view. It takes a lot of research and analysis to align the two.
Q: How can brands authentically evoke emotion in marketing communications while not giving off the wrong message?
A: Each situation is different, but the trap we fall into is often set by faulty information. When data is thin, it’s easy to rely on cliches to fill in the blanks. If you find yourself here, research is the best way out. Invest in getting a more complete picture of your customers and their preferences. Learn how and where they like to receive information. Look internally to reevaluate brand mission, values and strategy. When you put all of the pieces together, a more honest and effective brand voice will emerge. It’s a process that everyone has to commit to, but it’s worth the time taken to let your audience know you really are listening to them.
Q: How can companies use brand voice to really connect with customers?
A: Before the age of digital everything, brand perception was difficult to measure. Now companies and agencies like Smith Kroeger rely on research to provide a comprehensive consumer profile, personalize content and drive results. A great example of this is our email newsletter program, developed for a range of clients and featuring customized news that’s timely and relevant for each industry.
After newsletter distribution, we measure and analyze consumer engagement, sifting it down to an individual level and targeting interested parties for further engagement. Using a combination of Google Analytics, marketing automation and our email platform, we A/B test specific content – such as subject lines and imagery – and use the results to hone each client’s brand voice and determine future content strategy. The end goal is always to boost ROI for the companies Smith Kroeger represents.
Ultimately, when it comes to aligning the way you see your brand with the way customers view it, my advice is to use your research to reveal unique and personalized ways to provide value. When executed strategically, you should see a lift in consumer perception and ROI.