Brand Voice in Choppy Water

Social media as an earned platform for brand voice has become as ubiquitous as billboards on the highway. There is something comforting about a steady drumbeat of messaging that is wholly disconnected from the day to day grind of politics and social commentary on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Brand voice managers know that it isn’t always appropriate to be promoting your brand – so listening to your audience and the general gist of the news of the day before presenting a statement, or any content, is an important skill to master. Is there anything worse than a brand that attempts to earn props by being the first one out of the gate to adopt a trend? Yes: the brand voice that has lost direction in its messaging in an effort to be the first out of the gate to adopt a trend.

Organizations with a clear directive will rarely stray off course. In my experience the non-profit affixed on a social justice theme, for example, rarely uses its resources to further a cause that does not align with that mission. A non-profit leader recently commented, for example, that there was no point in connecting with the current administration in D.C. as this administration (these people) are never going to be interested in (fill in the blank) message. An honest and healthy perspective.

Some non-profits attempt to play to the middle. And some non-profits, pretending that politics do not exist, blithely state that they “have made their information known to the incoming administration” as if they had even a snowball’s chance. This is not an honest assessment nor a helpful position from a communications standpoint – it signals indifference to reality and jettisons the legitimacy of any historical progress the non-profit might have had for no real gain and an embarrassing public posture.

Some simple rules:

  1. Speak with an authentic voice.
  2. Be transparent. As with most effective communications efforts – being upfront and honest usually wins the race.
  3. Show your passion. If you have a cause you believe in, understand well and can support you can let your knowledge flow to help influence change for the greater good.

Coming up: some strategic and tactical shifts to consider in the near term.