In writing, there’s the crucial maxim, know your audience. Anticipating who will be reading what you’ve written is key to effective writing. To include the right content, you think about who you want the readers to be, why they are likely to read your writing, and what they want to get out of their reading. So before you start the communication, you identify the audience and tailor your style to suit.
Typically we write to a primary audience, with perhaps a secondary one to consider. When communicating your brand message, it’s essentially the same process. But in this age of digital communication and rapid response, the world is consuming information—your message included—lightning fast, and across numerous channels. So how do you ensure your brand remains authentic, and stays true to its identity in an ever-changing digitally focused world?
You want to make sure that what your audience finds describes the compelling truths of your brand. If you can take the lead and dictate the customer journey, you can help create a memorable encounter. You have plenty to say about your product, your service, and your brand—and you should say it—but with the right balance, in the appropriate arenas.
When we talk about delivering a brand message throughout the digital space, we’re referring to the total brand presence, which exists on the company website and extends across all online channels. Communicating your brand message in the digital space has never been more important. Year after year, more consumers browse and buy online. They are learning about, and engaging with, your brand in more ways and spaces than ever. With so many touch points, it may seem challenging to deliver a resonating message in every circumstance. But by knowing your audiences and calibrating the message for each interaction, you can ensure you stay true to your brand identity and communicate effectively.
At BOLTGROUP, we are creators of brands, products, and experiences that people love. In a recent blog, our Director of Brand Experience, Jamey Boiter, referenced three truths, which are the pillars of our brand. We define the brand pillars as the compelling truths of the brand that describe the core beliefs, values, and culture of the brand. They are intrinsic elements that we strive to own in the marketplace and be known for. The truths express the lifeblood that drives us, the hallmarks that define us, and the compass that guides everything we do.
BOLT truth #1 : Design Excellence
BOLT truth #2 : Strategic Innovation
BOLT truth #3 : Thoughtful Leadership
With these pillars well defined, we extend our brand presence by facilitating every interaction that adds up to brand—whether those interactions are with customers, vendors, partners, or employees. We prioritize and emphasize attributes differently across different spaces. By weighting the pillars, we develop value propositions that convey the specific benefits our audiences can expect, to explain why they should choose us over others.
In 2016, BOLTGROUP launched a new web presence. As we developed our site, we took into account the primary purpose—to help outbound marketing. Therefore, it’s not just a pretty portfolio site. Rather than focusing singularly on design, we aim for the right balance in how and what we want to communicate. We are weighted toward attracting new clients, so providing the proof that we can do what we say we’re going to is key. Visitors to the site experience design excellence and strategic innovation, as evidenced through featured case studies. They can read our insights, where we share thoughtful leadership via empathetic and intelligent writing.
In the social media arena, our pillars are weighted differently. On Instagram, design excellence takes the primary position so that through our posts, potential clients or prospective employees feel the design excellence that the culture exudes in everything we do. On LinkedIn, the emphasis is on thought leadership, which we distribute in our white papers and blog posts.
In the same way that your brand ecosystem should be agile, your digital brand presence needs to be dynamic, adjusting, and dialing in appropriately in each space, based on to whom you’re talking. Patrick Dodd, President, Growth Markets for Nielsen, has stressed the growing importance of engagement: “retailers must move from a linear marketing approach to a value exchange model in which customers receive a tangible, personally relevant benefit for their time and attention.”
So as you think strategically about your message, consider not just what you’re saying, but to whom and where. If you haven’t identified your brand pillars, consider doing so, and weighting them for your various audiences. Take full advantage of the short attention span you’ll have from your audiences to deliver the most important truths, with the correct emphasis, in each instance. Once calibrated, your message will be distributed with intention and received with clarity.