Building a clear and effective business brand is critical in today's world.
People are bombarded by a continuous stream of information that saps attention and crowds out any individual communication with ceaseless noise. The increase in advertising messaging exemplifies this idea. The New York Times reports that, in the 1980s, people were exposed to 2,000 ad messages a day. By 2007, it was 5,000 a day. Today, it may be even greater.
The result is sheer information overload that makes it harder for communications – including sales and marketing, informational or educational, and even informal and interpersonal – to stand out and grab attention.
That's the value of branding. By cultivating a specific impression of your organization (or yourself, if building a personal brand), you can foster loyalty, extend your reach, and – most importantly – cultivate an audience that will reliably consume your brand’s communications.
However, there’s a problem: nearly half (42%) of consumers distrust brands.
Why? Remember, a brand isn't a tangible product you can create and manufacture. It's an impression you cultivate in the minds of your target audience, and you are constantly building it...or eroding it…with every interaction.
Consequently, the way you communicate your brand is critical to successful brand-building.
For example, 45% of consumers will unfollow a brand whose communications focus too much on self-promotion. And according to IBM, 50% of consumers consider most brand communication to be irrelevant to their needs or interests.
Here’s what you need to know about the relationship between effective communication and brand-building.
Communication is foundational.
The truth is, you're always communicating. The real question is whether you're communicating effectively. The good news is that when you communicate frequently and effectively, you'll see good results. Companies with branded blogs, for example, produce 67% more leads per month than those without a blog.
Communications must be well done.
Any and all brand-related communications must meet all the hallmarks of good communication. This is a multi-layered endeavor.
- One layer is mechanical: ensuring your communications are technically correct and meet basic standards of good grammar and style.
- Another layer is effectiveness. Confusing, disorganized communications will weaken any brand efforts, whereas qualities like clarity, consistency, and conciseness will strengthen them.
- Perhaps the most important layer is strategic: making sure you understand what and how to communicate to satisfy the interests of your target audience.
Communication skills must be multimedia, multichannel, and multilayered.
Brand-related communication isn't tied to any one specific channel or situation. You'll be communicating via written word, spoken word, visuals, and sometimes even implicitly by the way you behave. Any person or organization concerned with building a strong brand must strengthen and maximize all communication efforts, not just an isolated one. That means boosting communication skills in a variety of areas, including written and verbal.
Communications across different channels and media formats must align.
Last, but not least, if your brand is the aggregated impression of your business in the customer's mind as formed by every interaction they have, that means communications through different formats must all align in messaging, voice, and style. Otherwise, your communications will end up being inconsistent and perhaps even incoherent.
The good news: when your branding is supported by strong communications, your value increases.
Communication is fundamental to brand building, and flawed communication will yield flawed branding. That's because brands depend on developing and effectively conveying core messages about you or your business. When you're successful in this effort, you gain value.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett even quantifies that value. In 2014, Buffett told a class of business students that he would pay any of them $100,000 for 10% of their future earnings. But if they were good communicators? According to Forbes, he would raise his bid by 50% because effective communicators "would make his 'investment' more valuable."
That’s the value of good communication and the kind of impact it can have on your brand.
About Hurley Write, Inc.
Hurley Write, Inc., a certified women-owned small business (WBENC and WOSB), Historically Underutilized (HUB), and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), has been designing and teaching customized onsite and online technical, business, and scientific writing courses for over 25 years. We also develop and teach specialty courses, such as how to write proposals and standard operating procedures (SOPs) and deviation and investigation reports, and how to prepare and give great presentations.