Runners waiting for the start of the half marathon

The brand of a business has a large role to play, often communicating a lot, while saying very little. Content can expand the message of a brand, but only when it represents its values and tone-of-voice. It’s important to listen to the brand and let it guide content.

I ran a half-marathon on the weekend (#humblebrag) in the goldfields near Bendigo. It appeared that the event was sponsored by two different mining companies who appeared happy to share the spotlight. It turned out that it was one mining company with two brands.

I can’t remember either of them.

A marketing expert told me last week that we can recall a brand that has been exposed to us once for just 78 seconds. Gone are the days when a great ad could stay in our minds for a week or more. These days we are pummelled with marketing messages and brands from the moment we stumble bleary eyed out of bed, until we collapse back into it at the end of another long day.

The internet is littered with articles about how to get people to remember your brand, but none about how long we can recall a brand we’ve just been introduced to. Given my experience on the weekend, I’m not surprised that the fond memories of a new brand fade in less than two minutes. One of the mining company brands was on a marker for every one of the 21 kilometres along the run, but my lap time was around 5’30” (#stillbragging) so I didn’t stand a chance of remembering the brand.

Maintain focus with your brand

My question is – why have two brands? I understand that one might be public facing and the other may be B2B. One may be for a particular mineral, or market, or anything. There are reasons to have multiple brands in a business. But why jam them both into one sponsorship opportunity.

The same goes for content. Content can support your brand, expand on its promise and help with awareness. However, it can only do this if you create the content with the brand in mind, rather than trying to apply the brand, or several brands to the content.

A brand is usually signified by a logo and a tagline. They serve many purposes – much more than just recall and recognition. Satisfied consumers often identify with the logo and others who have the same logo. Why else would people pay twice as much for a polo shirt with a little green alligator on it.

A logo can give people the power to achieve more than they thought they could. The Nike ‘Swoosh’ or the Adidas three stripes can encourage people to get out of bed in the dark and run into the rain. They can propel tired feet closer to the finish line.

The tagline gives the consumer permission and validation. You want to buy those expensive shoes? ‘Just do it’. You should buy this expensive makeup ‘Because you’re worth it’.

Boost your brand with content

On their way to reaching instantly recognisable status, content can help your brand, logo and tagline with their communication mission. In return, all three of them will help shape your content and customers will love you because consumers expect consistency across all touch points.

When planning your content strategy, simply ask yourself these three questions about every element of content:

  1. Does it accurately represent my brand?
  2. Could my logo sit comfortably in this content?
  3. Is this the tone-of-voice of my tagline?

Does this content accurately represent my brand?

Brands are rarely delivered fully formed. They grow and develop with the business. If you’re a founder of a startup – chances are your brand is you, which makes things a bit easier. For larger, older organisations, your brand incorporates corporate activity, organisational culture and years of marketing decisions.

It’s a good idea to give your brand a persona. Similar to the personas that marketers create to represent different customer groups. Give your brand a name, age, gender and some personality. The more clearly you and the rest of your team can see your brand, the easier they can share it with others and the easier it is to represent in content. And be real – customers value authenticity higher than product utility and social prominence.

As a fledgling business, the Written & Recorded brand is us – Serpil and James. We are journalists for hire who ask a lot of questions and spend a lot of time checking facts – in short, we have an insatiable desire to understand and then share that understanding. As you might have noticed.

Our content is built around our passion to understand content. It’s also designed to share our passion with you and other prospective clients. Most of all, it’s deeply rooted in our desire to provide enlightening entertainment, which should be the goal of all good content.

Our brand persona is that friendly, bubbly girl in the office who seems to know all the staff and all the managers. Her Twitter feed is filled with extraordinary news from around the world as well as the funniest gifs. She knows how to use all of the proprietary software in the business and has access to the best stationery cupboard. We call her Wandr (pronounced Wanda) and she’s always happy to help and share.

Could my logo sit comfortably in this content?

As the representative of our brand, our logo would sit happy in this very piece of content. In fact, Wandr’s already mapping out the next paragraph with our nifty pencil/microphone.

Returning to the run, the mining company didn’t look out of place at the run. It was a gold mining company and we were all gunning for a gold medal performance, so it fitted right in. All the marketing team had to do was clarify which brand was most important and stick with that one.

Another way they could have leveraged the opportunity would be to highlight the brand that had the most to do with gold. That would have given them some room to play with the words around the sponsorship. Which would have helped to aid memory recall in the long run.

When you’re thinking about content, ask yourself if your logo fits into it, particularly if it’s video or imagery. Do the pictures enhance your logo’s message? Or do they look like they have nothing to do with your logo?

There’s also different advantages in creating content in text and audio.

Does the content convey the tone of voice of your tagline?

Not all brands have, or need, a tagline. At Written & Recorded, we haven’t settled on our tagline yet, but we’re working with ‘humans creating content for humans’. It reminds us that our end purpose is the entertain, inform and satisfy humans like us. And we apply that to Wandr as well.

To more clearly demonstrate this, it’s fun to take other people’s taglines out of context. What if a real estate agent, financial adviser or casino took Nike’s tagline – just do it! They wouldn’t have the same tone of voice. While Nike is encouraging and supportive, the others become a little domineering.

This is why it’s important to create content specifically for your business, rather than reposting, sharing, or copying the content of others. Let your brand guide your content and use every piece of content to expand the message of your brand.

Written & Recorded create content that reflects your brand so it can be heard above the noise. Call James on 0425 819 662 to find out how we can speak in your tone-of-voice.

 

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