Brand Communication Strategy – Is poor brand communication impacting your business growth?
When it comes to brand communication there are typically two key characteristics or traits that we see especially in founders or executives when talking about their brand.
Example 1: ‘Too much information’: The person who literally wants to tell you everything! And we really mean everything!
Example 2: ‘The Joker’: They really can’t find the words to clearly communicate the brand offering and so often makes little jokes and quips like ‘‘I’ll try and explain but I don’t think you’ll understand!’’ or things like “there’s not many people that understand what we do, but that’s why we’re able to charge so much for it!” Said with a wry smile on their face.
Don’t be fooled this is the world’s worst cover up for work simply not carried out to really understand and define their own brand.
In this post we’re going to look deeper into brand communication and help you to understand what it is, how it works and importantly the benefits of getting it right. We will also provide some insights based on our own brand strategy and brand design experience so you can create your own brand communication strategy.
What is brand communication?
Brand communication is a critical part of brand design that is often misunderstood and sometimes overlooked. As businesses we have many ways to communicate with new and returning customers. This can be in person or online. Through your interior spaces, website, your products or services, via social media channels like LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and facebook. This also includes other brand assets such as brochures, exhibition stands, packaging and advertising campaigns the list is really endless.
In every case and with every brand touchpoint consideration should be given to how your brand communicates with the customer. To build a cohesive brand all brand communication needs to be consistent in its tone of voice and align with things like your brand values and wider brand strategy.
A holistic brand approach should be implemented to ensure that the brand communication and customer experience is consistent. Brands that are consistent with their identity, look and feel and brand communication typically build much stronger relationships with their customers. Relationships that are built on trust can have a significant impact on the growth of a business because that trust is typically rewarded with brand loyalty.
What is a brand communication strategy?
Having a brand communication strategy will help a business understand the most effective way for the brand to communicate with their ideal customer.
Actually taking the time to create a brand communication strategy makes you delve deeper into understanding who your customers are, how will you connect with them and how will you communicate to them in a meaningful and compelling way.
Creating a brand communication strategy should provide the insight and the brand clarity required to understand who your customers are, where they are and what is the most effective way to communicate with them.
To create a brand communication strategy you have to be able to answer any if not all of the following questions;
- Who is our ideal customer?
- Where can we find them?
- Can we position our brand in a meaningful way, to create engaging brand messages and tell compelling stories that will resonate with our customers
- How can we listen to our customers’ needs?
- Does our brand communicate in a way that our customers feel like we listen to their needs and challenges?
- How do we ensure our brand is communicated consistently across all channels?
- Why will anyone care?
- How will we monitor and measure success?
As business owners and brand builders we often fall into the trap of making assumptions of what we think the customer wants as opposed to really understanding their needs and wants. Brand Communication can’t just be one way, so you must find ways of connecting and communicating with your actual customers.
When a piece of brand communication has been perfectly crafted the customer should feel like the brand is talking directly to them. They feel understood and that they’ve found a brand that really understands their challenges and needs. This can often create an emotional response and that’s when you know you’ve really nailed it.
One of the key things to note is that if you’re struggling to create a brand communication strategy it’s probably because you’re missing a few vital key ingredients.
Much of what we have explored so far is reliant on you knowing who your ideal customers are and having a very clear understanding of your brand. A brand consultancy like Grey Coffee can help you to gain the clarity required to build a successful brand which in turn will enable you to create a more focussed and successful brand communication strategy.
Brand workshops are a great way to align your team and provide you the opportunity to explore the brand fully and ensure that everyone within the business agrees on the brand fundamentals and how they should be communicated.
Why is brand communication important?
At Grey Coffee we often talk about the gap that exists between a business and its customers. We like to call this the ‘Grey Area’. If you have products or a service to sell you need to find effective ways to bridge that gap and we believe the best way to do this is by building a cohesive brand. By implementing an effective brand communication strategy you can connect with more of your ideal customers.
Building a successful brand enables you to close the gap that exists between your business and your customers. Brand communication can certainly help to bridge this gap and position your brand in the minds of your customers.
In doing so you start to future proof your business for long term success. Consistently communicating your brand across multiple channels and customer touchpoints helps build things like brand awareness, credibility and brand loyalty with your customers.
Most businesses we speak to have the desire to build and design a cohesive brand but many actually fail to achieve this consistently across all of their touchpoints.
Why is brand communication a challenge for so many?
The reality is that these days there are so many channels that you need to be able to effectively communicate your brand across.
Let’s look at some of the most common channels and customer touchpoints that brands need to consider:
- Interiors & Commercial Spaces
- Social Media (LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest)
- Products & Services
- Staff interactions
- Brochures & Books
- Exhibition Stands
- Public Speaking / Events
When you start looking at each brand asset/touchpoint and the pace at which things move these days it’s understandable why things can become disconnected.
A holistic approach should be considered in order for all of the above to come together consistently. Internal teams need to be aligned in order to effectively communicate the brand consistently. Not only this, all team members new and old need to ensure they have clarity as to what the brand stands for now and where it hopes to be in the future. If the brand vision is unclear or there are confusing narratives or differing views or brand values from within the company then this will certainly impact the quality of the external brand communication.
As businesses we get fixated on targets, profit, new products, new services, the next big social media platform and marketing, which are all important attributes to build a successful brand and business. The thing is when teams are left to work on their own devices with little brand direction it’s no wonder that the brand communication is inconsistent.
The truth is brand should really come way before marketing but the two must work together.
Everyone should be aligned not only in terms of the ‘what’ but also the how and the why. Anyone familiar with Simon Sinek’s start with ‘Why’ will know the brands that have experienced exponential growth over the last couple of decades are brands that start with why and not the other way around.
Can poor brand communication really impact business growth?
The simple answer is yes, most definitely and here’s why.
Firstly if you are the founder, MD or part of the executive team the quality of your brand communication will impact how well others (internally and externally) interpret, understand and communicate the brand. Your team needs to be able to successfully implement and communicate your brand across every customer touchpoint. The quality of their output will only ever be as good as the information they are being given.
Take example 1: ‘Too much information’ (which we mentioned earlier) – this can be confusing not only for staff but for customers too. The brand communication starts to become diluted, unclear and with so much information its difficult to know how to prioritise all the different ideas.
In example 2: ‘The Joker’ if the business is in a position whereby they’re unable to clearly communicate ideas surrounding the brand then what chance do the team or customers have in understanding the brand positioning. There will certainly be no meaningful differentiation and in cases like this we often come across multiple different narratives and brand concepts that are all a bit mismatched. It becomes really disconnected and many of the teams continue to work in isolation moving further away from this idea of building a holistic and cohesive brand.
What are the benefits of overcoming these brand communication challenges?
For those businesses that decide they want to build a cohesive brand and be typically be more consistent with the brand communication some of the key benefits are as follows:
- They position the brand more clearly in the minds of their intended audience
- The quality of brand communications created internally are significantly better
- The business as a whole is more aligned people share the same vision and goals
- Building a more cohesive brand impacts things like customer loyalty and trust
- Every customer touch point provides a much more consistent brand experience
- By building a better brand you don’t have to compete on things like price/product or service – you future proof your brand for long term success.
How to improve brand communication?
To improve your brand communication you need to start by looking at all your current brand assets and actually try and experience them with your customers in mind.
For example if people find your business through your website, try and forget everything you know about your brand and then experience it for yourself.
Think about it from a new customers point of view;
What are they looking for?
What does the user journey look like? Do you have any data that might help you to understand this better?
How well do you present your brand?
Is the communication clear?
Does it reflect your values, tone of voice and personality?
When did you last update the copy on the website? Is it up to date etc
Brand Imagery or videos – does it reflect your brand? Does it help tell your story?
If you have commercial spaces then you can do exactly the same thing. Try to imagine what it would be like to interact with the space for the very first time.
Does the interior design align with the brand strategy and design?
Do the interiors help tell your brand story?
What do the material choices within the space communicate about your brands character or personality?
How do the staff impact the brand, are they informed? Can they communicate your brand story when asked?
Once you have assessed any existing assets and your current brand communication only then can you start to make changes and work towards building a successful brand communication strategy.
One of the best things you can do is stop thinking about your brand as a business and start thinking about it as a person. Could you imagine or describe your brand as a person? The old adage that people buy into people is totally true and building a brand is no different. Thinking about how you utilise your team and the people within your brand to help build awareness and tell compelling stories is a great way to improve your brand communication.
Just like with any task that needs to be completed within a business there has to be clear goals and priorities and a means of measuring success. If you implement a new brand communication strategy it is important to have identified beforehand how you will determine if it is working or not. Once you have identified any brand communication that is performing particularly well then you can simply adjust your brand communication strategy and continue to evolve and implement throughout your brand.
Don’t forget your brand communication is only ever going to be as good as the input of information coming in. You really have to take the time to invest in your brand and have complete clarity in the brand you wish to build. In order to grow a loyal customer base you have to be authentic in your approach and ensure that your brand communication aligns with your personality, vision and values.
If you are unclear how your brand is positioned compared to competitors within your sector it will almost certainly be impossible to create brand communication that is meaningful and memorable for your ideal customer.
How do you create a brand communication strategy?
As we’ve mentioned throughout this blog post there are a few key things that need to be in place before you’re able to create a successful brand communication strategy.
First things first if you are unable to answer some of the big brand questions (see below) then you’ve really got to spend some time to gain the clarity required to truly understand and define your brand properly in the first instance.
If you need help with this then you can work with a Brand Consultancy like Grey Coffee who can support you by carrying out brand workshops or help you with the actual implementation of brand strategy and design. If you’ve not yet come across our Free Brand Strategy template this will really help you answer some of your brands biggest questions.
Download: Free Brand Strategy Template
Your Brands Biggest Questions (or at least some of them)
Why does your brand exist?
What’s your vision?
What, how and why do you do what you do?
What do you value most?
Who will care about your brand?
How do you describe your personality or character?
How will you tell your brand story?
If everything with your brand is in order then to create a brand communication strategy you need to consider some of the following key points.
Audience | Who are they, where can you find them, what are their pain points?
Brand Positioning | How well is your brand positioned for your ideal customer?
Brand Narrative | How will you use story or narrative to create a compelling brand proposition, one that sparks an emotional response?
Channels | What channels will you use to reach your ideal customers?
Analysis | How will you measure the success of your brand communication?
Remember creating a successful brand communication strategy isn’t about everything being the same, in fact it’s far from it. It’s more about creating brand communication which is consistent with your wider brand vision and brand values.
Hopefully you have found this blog on brand communication and brand communication strategy helpful. You may want to consider having a look through some of our other brand insights (below).
- Best Branding Books & Brand Authors: A comprehensive Guide For Entrepreneurs, Creatives & Strategists
- Brand Values: A guide to help B2B and B2C businesses define their brand values
- Does brand strategy and design influence the choices we make as consumers?
- What is brand strategy and connected brand experience?
- Build a Brand Strategy – Free Brand Strategy Template