My father was a city journalist back in the days when Fleet Street in London was the center of the UK newspaper industry. He once said to me that great writing was based on a combination of clarity and authenticity. It is a simple notion; your audience needs to quickly and clearly understand the purpose whilst at the same time believing what you are conveying.
This is something that has stayed with me throughout my entire career and I think it has as much relevance now for brand marketing as it does for newspaper journalism.
Every brand comprises a brand promise which is the all enveloping commitment that an organization makes to its audience and it identifies what that audience should expect through the sum of all interactions they have with the people, products, services and company they are engaging.
With the fragmentation of media and proliferation of different communication channels, where there is more noise than ever before, brands have to find a way to break through and differentiate. They need to convey a clarity of purpose that is distinct, appealing and empathetic in terms of shared values. This purpose I believe needs to be more than just a good product or service at a good price, consumers now expect some form of loftier goal. They want brands that care, care about communities, environment, human rights, fair trade and humanity.
In addition, brands need to be believable. We have gone from a society where we would blindly buy into a brand promise to one where brand reputation is far more important. Brands are now defined on how they act rather than what they say. Consumers now heavily influence brand perception by conveying and communicating the experiences they have had through word of mouth, social, communities etc. and this sheer weight of voice is more authentic and influential than what a brand can possibly communicate.
I heard a great quote the other day that reinforces this: “Don’t let your marketing get ahead of your customer experience delivery”. I believe this is one of the greatest challenges we face.