Readers of The Works! understand that one’s brand identity is, in essence, a promise. “Look at us. Consider these positive attributes every time you think of us.”
These feelings and attributions grow over time, because the brand lives up to the promise. With all the care that goes into building a brand, it’s possible to be undermined by social media, which for all its benefit, can be a real-time rogue element in a communications strategy. We tweet in our cars, we blog from the train and the plane. And we post. We post words and we post images.
Just as we employ a visual style guide to ensure graphic harmony, marketing directors must consider creating an editorial equivalent for the use of social media. The style guide, a companion to building and protecting one’s brand identity can not be dictated. It may need to be accompanied by some degree of training or in-house discussion. Before we blithely say “Speak in our voice” there needs to be agreement as to what that voice or that messaging really is. Just go around your office and ask your colleagues to say what it is that your company claims to do, or do best. More likely than not, the answers will vary. Consistency in messaging requires consensus.
We like to say, “Everyone needs an editor.” When employing a social media strategy, consider the checks and balances that can be put into place to see that there is consistency in your messaging and imaging before the blog is posted. Spend time to establish what voice & tone mean for your organization, and continually build agreement around the elements that speak to the tangible and intangible attributes that define your brand.