Interaction with each brand is a unique experience that leaves a special impression. Of course, we all have assumptions and expectations about how communication should develop in this or that industry, around this or that product. Any category has its own rules and restrictions, but on the other hand, those brands and products that are revealed in communication in some way unexpected for us are more memorable and attract attention. What associations appear first when we imagine a bottle of kvass? Traditions, history, ears of corn, village, a man with a moustache in a hat.
In the Dark Side kvass case, we decided to be bolder and demonstrate that kvass can be a trendy modern drink at the intersection of categories. We focused on a youth audience, so we chose a rebellious style of communication. The main characters on behalf of whom the communication was conducted were Leonardo Dark Vinci, Jeanne Darkside and Lord DarkSider. It was an unexpected move for the brand in the kvass category, but it was thanks to this that the product was able to stand out from the competition.
In this article, we will dwell on how to determine the nature of the brand. The methods proposed by us can also be used to develop communication strategies for individual products. It should also be taken into account that there should be a relationship between the nature of the brand and the approach to communication when covering the product.
Why do we strive to create a recognizable brand character?
- The brand becomes more visible.
- The brand hits the target audience precisely because the style of communication shows who’s the brand’s targeted group.
- Brand messages are better perceived by the audience.
Let’s look at the definitions: what is the character, the voice of the brand and the tone of communication:
The character of the brand describes the features of the “behaviour” of the brand. How the brand communicates with the audience. Character sets the boundaries of communication: it indicates appropriate ways to communicate with the audience.
The character and the voice of the brand are usually similar things. Sometimes these concepts are separated, saying that the character of the brand is fixed in the brand book, and the voice of the brand is delivered directly in communication messages. In other words, the voice is the transmitter of the brand character. In this article, we will use brand voice and brand character definitions as synonyms.
The chosen character/voice of the brand should be traceable at all points of contact with the audience.
To do this, we need the tone of communication (tone of voice). It is this that allows you to adapt to each communication channel in such a way as to sound appropriate in it while maintaining the character characteristic of the brand. With the help of the tone of communication, it is possible to regulate, for example, the degree of emotional colouring of the message.
How to choose the character of the brand?
To simplify the definition and description of the nature of the brand, you can refer to the wheel of archetypes.
Archetypes help define what role your brand plays for your audience.
The archetype is a well-known and understandable image, the manner of behaviour and specificity of communication of which is easily recognizable.
Let’s say caring, and we immediately represent brands that help mothers take care of their children. Let’s say “lover” – we see a hedonistic brand seeking to enjoy life, as in an ice cream or perfume advertisement. The ruler archetype, focused on achieving success, and gaining status, refers us to premium brands.
When developing positioning for brands or their products, we often mix several archetypes. This allows you to enhance the character of the brand and make it more unique.
Let’s take a look at Coinspaid’s communication. We know this brand as a major expert in the cryptocurrency field. In its messages, both visual and verbal, the features of a modern, bright, energetic, self-confident brand are read. This is typical of the hero archetype. At the same time, as a “glorious small” brand, it is open with its customers: it is always ready to help sort out all the difficult moments in an accessible language.
Common Brand Mistakes
- Oversaturation of character with details.
It is important that the chosen style of communication does not complicate, but improves the perception of the text. When the style of communication goes to the detriment of meaning, it makes it difficult for the audience to perceive messages.
- Loss of a recognizable communication style.
When too many details are added, the character of the brand is blurred and it ceases to be recognizable. The archetype system allows you to maintain uniformity in communication. If you are developing a brand character internally within a company, we recommend choosing one archetype and adding a second archetype to it over time, which will add the necessary shades to the brand.
- Neutral or overly expressive communication.
Some brands do not add distinctive details to their communication, preferring a more neutral tone that they consider safe. Depending on the situation, this may be the best option, but it leaves brands with an additional way to set themselves apart from the competition.
The other extreme is an excessive desire to stand out. Let’s take an example of when a brand tries to use an unusual manner of communication with its audience. The hypocrisy in communication is quickly read and causes irritation clients may even decide they are being parodied and taken lightly. This reduces the level of trust. There is a fine line where creativity turns into a cringe.
An analysis of the factors that can influence it will help you find the communication behaviour that is natural for your brand. After all, each of them sets its own limitations or points to opportunities.
Forming a brand voice in 4 steps
The first step is to review the scope. At this stage, it is important to define the conditional rules in the category. This will allow you to understand what kind of communication is generally characteristic of the sphere and whether there are any nuances. So, the brand will be able to integrate into the communication field.
The second step is to analyze the communication of competitors. Our task is to determine the style of their communication, to mark for ourselves potentially free niches that can be occupied. Why is this needed? If a brand speaks like everyone else, then its voice will be lost among others.
The third step is to highlight the features of your brand. Let’s dive into the essence. Let’s see how the values, benefits and other unique features of the company can be conveyed even brighter with the help of tone of voice.
The fourth step is to study the preferences of the audience. The audience chooses to solve their problems in a company that seems clear and familiar to them, similar in character and value system. This effect is achieved because the brand understands its target audience well. It will be possible to speak with customers on the same wavelength only if the features familiar to the audience are also in the brand.
The character/voice of the brand, which will be built at the intersection of these factors, will help the brand to open. It is important to find a balance between being organic within the field of activity, at the same time being able to stand out. Strive to communicate with the audience in a language close to it, but at the same time does not lose what is inherent in your brand.
Should you follow the trends?
Trends should not be taken as a direct guide to action. Trends constantly replace each other, and the character of the brand is shaped with a long-term focus.
But it is possible and even necessary to be inspired by trends in terms of the tone of communication. It is enough to look at how companies communicate in foreign markets. Perhaps it is their cases that will prompt fresh ideas and help you find some “chips” that could be used in the tone of voice of individual communication channels to set yourself apart from competitors. The main thing is that they are organic in the context of the nature of your brand.
Today, we see the desire of companies to take a more individual, personalized approach to customers, so the formal style of communication is increasingly giving way to a friendly one. According to statistics, companies with friendly informal communication have 20% higher loyalty and 11% more revenue compared to competitors.
There are no insignificant elements in positioning and communication strategy. A well-developed character can say a lot more about your brand than you think. Our team will be happy to help you reveal the unique features of your brand, and choose the right archetype and approach to communication that will make your product recognizable and higly in demand.