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FOX Brand & Culture Field Guide
September 12th, 2017

The Brand Field Guide. Your Compass to One Corporate Voice.

There are many tools you can use to increase brand awareness. Websites, blogs, social media, direct mail, trade shows, print, TV, and online advertising are just a sampling. The degree to which a brand effectively leverages each of these tools can impact its success. So it’s important to make sure you’re doing the right things to build brand awareness.

But just as important is to ensure that the message you’re broadcasting is an accurate and consistent reflection of your brand. Not only do you want your audience to hear your message, but you also want them to hear it consistently at every touchpoint.

One important way to make sure your efforts are successful is to define and then align your message across all marketing efforts. Key to this is attention to your verbal brand communication, because the way your brand uses language can make or break the message you send, and how your audience receives it.

First, you need to establish your Brand Foundation using the 5 Ps of Brand. From there, you can build out the aspects of your brand language that reflect those foundational elements by defining your Verbal Brand Standards.

The next step is crucial. You’ve got to get everyone who speaks for your brand reading from the same script.

Communication is going on all the time. As Accounts Manager, I’m constantly in conversations with client teams via Slack and email. The writing team sends out monthly thought leadership pieces to subscribers. Designers have phone conversations with print vendors. We post on social and talk over coffee in the morning.

Every employee in your company—from C-suite to sales to customer service–can make or break your brand message. Every touch impacts a customer’s impression of your brand—it is an experience that either supports or detracts from your brand.

Teach people to represent your brand and you empower them to protect its integrity.

Are your employees in alignment with your brand? How do they talk about the brand? Asking these questions may reveal a need for an internal consensus. Every time a customer interacts with one of your employees, they are having an experience with your brand. From answering the phone to closing the big deals. So it’s crucial that everyone is on the same page with regard to your brand strategy. All employees can (and should) be ambassadors for your brand.

How We Do It

One way BOLTGROUP helps clients achieve a unified voice is by creating a Brand Field Guide. It’s one of the most valuable tools we offer—a go-to resource for how to say anything and everything about your brand, both internally and externally. Everyone who represents the brand gets their own copy to keep close by.

The purpose of the Brand Field Guide is to teach everyone how to speak about your brand—to promote it, to celebrate it, and to appropriately influence every experience related to it. The guide expresses the Brand Foundation and tells how to use its Verbal Standards. It may also include key foundational elements, brand pillars, the purpose, vision, and mission statements, and associated definitions, messaging platform, messaging goals for each audience, key quotes, a glossary of terms, etc.

If your foundation document is your toolkit, the Field Guide is the tool belt that keeps that information handy. It’s created as a pocket manual that’s easy to reach for as often as needed. From the way customers are greeted in the lobby to the wording on your invoices—no aspect of communication is too insignificant to consider and align. The Field Guide enables everyone—not just key stakeholders or the marketing team—to become very familiar with the underlying threads that should connect every facet of the brand’s expression.

When you and your team have your brand foundation voice and tone at front of mind, it will come through authentically in whatever you’re communicating. Every email sent, every blog written, and every phone call answered. Using this process and coming from the brand’s point of view helps you frame it up correctly every time.

Live and breathe your brand. If you do, you’ll succeed in building a Brand Ecosystem from the inside out. Before you know it, you’ll all be speaking the same brand language, to one another and to the outside world.

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