11 Apr Future Entrepreneurs: Brand POV
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” ~Harper Lee
(author, Pulitzer Prize winner)
Brands love to talk about “brand voice and tone”, yet many of them end up sounding the same. Your brand is also evolving, so it’s important to take a look and make sure you’ll still on track. As a brand expert, I’ll help you take a closer look at ways to recalibrate your brand on your journey as an entrepreneur.
Many brands want to serve the customer and be conversational—which is fine. These aren’t bad things. These are no longer ways to stand out and be distinctive. If you feel stuck when talking about brand voice or trends http://thewishwall.org/desideri/future-entrepreneurs-brand-trends you can avoid arguing about tone and POV by playing a few brainstorming games.
The key to brainstorming well? As Harvard Business Review pointed out in 2017, it’s important to carry out brainstorming exercises independently, before involving a team.
Where do you start? Working with a brand consultant is around $50,000, so you may want to try these exercises first. I sue some of these games with teams on a consultation, so we’ll share them with out Future Entrepreneurs readers.
1. Explore the opposite of your brand
Do you have an established strategy? Sometimes it’s too easy to get comfortable describing your brand voice with the same bucket of adjectives. One way to sidestep this creative stall is to think about what your brand is not.
Take Gap for instance. Gap is playful, but not cheesy. The Venmo brand may be seen as the opposite of Goldman and Sachs.
2. Choose a celebrity spokesperson
Write down three ideal celebrity spokespeople for the brand. Feel free to lean into your brand or be playful with it. You should still be able to glean something about your brand based on the final decision. Capital One is selling to moms who shop, so they went with effervescent and savvy Jennifer Garner, someone women can relate to.
AirBnB might choose a 30-something celebrity who anyone would be excited to sit next to on a plane: Scarlett Johansson or Gina Rodriguez. Apple might lean into its music and multimedia capabilities, hiring Jonas Brothers or Janelle Monae.
This gets easier as you jump from brand to brand, and you can always try out a few before taking on your own. Jeep buyers are adventurous, but not destructive. Wells Fargo is bouncing back from a corporate scandal and trying to earn trust. You get the idea.
3. Go to a hypothetical dinner party
Ah, the classic game. If your brand could come to life as a person at a dinner party, who would you be? (If your brand targets a consumer base that’s younger than typical attendees at a dinner party, you can always substitute a college party, a house party, or a high school cafeteria, and the central question remains the same.)
Who would they want to sit next to at dinner or in a limo?
Consumers do this marketing exercise for companies all the time, so you might as well give it a try on at this phase.
4. Read your posts out loud
As a novelists I was told to read my tweets before my first book came out. Playwrights, screenwriters and fiction writers who want to make sure their dialogue sizzles do this too. If a person who doesn’t work as a writer feels odd reading a character’s dialogue aloud, that tells the writer the copy may need work.
Not all your social media copy needs to translate perfectly to the ear, but certain things will become obvious if you take turns reading tweets, LinkedIn posts, and Facebook updates out loud. Your messaging might sound too robotic, or you’ll begin to notice that you’ve peppered into too many exclamation points.
5. Study your audience from a new POV
You want your audience to pay attention and engage, so it’s a good idea to watch what they are currently doing before jumping in. Take a look at their POV (point of view). Social media mavens are eager to talk to their audience and build a sense of community. But they can also benefit a lot by just reading without commenting or interrupting.
Before you start creating content, find out how your demographic interacts on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Do they use a lot of emojis? Do they quote-tweet each other with commentary instead of simply retweeting? If they’re sharing inspirational, positive quote cards, that’s a move you can follow.
If they share stories about a hot news topic, set up some Google alerts and post on-brand articles about relevant aspects of your audience’s lives on your feed.
Pay attention to what you say and how you say it
There’s no definitive way to do this exercise. You do need to decide how you want your brand to sound to your target demo. Some consumers might enjoy being addressed by brands who see them as equals, especially if you’re in the food and beverage industry, but many others follow brands in a more aspirational sense that warrants authority and professionalism.
Is your brand a friend to your consumers where they are today? Or do you sell the goods they hope to buy frivolously in 5 years? Your brand’s voice has to make that clear.
ICYMI, here’s another POV on brand competition:
Enjoy the exercises and thanks for reading!
Akasha Garnier for #TheWishwall
Author, Brand Expert, Filmmaker