It might seem pernickety to find fault in the small things – but as you know, the devil is in the detail. Making sure your branding is consistent from brochure to customer service is as important as the product or service itself.
You can spend so much time, effort and money into researching and delivering your product or service. But have you spent time with your teams to make sure they know just how to approach their roles?
Semantic segregation – use language to your advantage
Every team across a company will have a specific set of roles and their own specific vocabulary. For example, sales teams will tell people about what you can do for them, while customer service teams ask customers how they can help.
While these differences seem obvious, the grammatical variations – from objective sales to subjective customer service – can change how a customer feels about your offerings. The small difference in language should be noted and used where relevant – but the overall brand tone should be consistent across the board.
This includes ensuring your teams understand what level of formality they are able to use when dealing with customers or clients.
What does this mean?
Remember: your branding should come from the company’s core – not be an afterthought. Look at how you have pitched your brochure, advertisements, and other marketing pitches. Are they casual, or formal? Do they address the customer like a friend, or like a business partner?
A general rule is that B2C communications can have some level of informality, to find a level with the prospective customer that doesn’t patronise them. Too chatty, however, and you risk switching them off altogether. A classic example is the friendly packaging on Innocent Drinks, which uses an assumed sense of humour to find a ‘human’ connection with the customer. Their jovial tone is even reflected by the lack of capital letters at the start of a sentence. While some may see this as quirky, others may find it annoying – they have pitched every word at a very specific audience.
If your literature is chatty, so should your teams be. But if you are in a B2B industry, professionalism can still count. If your promotional material matches a professional service – then a chatty tone probably isn’t for you. The consistency needs to be applied across all departments – so anyone talking with customers or potential clients should be made aware of the language they are using.
Speech versus print
When your staff talk to prospective or current customers, are they reflecting the language you use in your branding? Do they address customers by their title (Mr, Mrs etc), or immediately switch to first names? If your customer service teams have scripts, is the language reflecting that of the brand – do they use jargon or technical language? If so, how is this explained in plain English?
The human connection that marketers strive for is best placed in exactly that scenario – with your people, not your literature. Building rapport with prospective sales leads is one thing, but ensuring the same connection reflects your business is a finer art altogether. You don’t want to get the speech police onto every team member whenever they say ‘yeah’ instead of ‘yes’, as that’s not only impossible but we’re fairly sure borders on some form of human right infringement…
But you can ensure your staff understand how to interact with your prospective and current customers, by making sure they know exactly what the product is they are selling, and to whom. This can be done with a simple staff induction for new starters, or a periodic refresher course.
Small pitch alert
Your people are your strongest marketing tool, so use them effectively. Allow them to have their own personality, as this is of course what customers connect to. But whenever they are discussing your product or service, make sure everyone is on the same page (literally, if using scripts), and encourage the same tone across all conversations to make sure customers have a solid sense of who you are as a business and what your product represents.