Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Original Soundtrack Or Badly-Dubbed Voice?

When railing against the marketing myopia of US cellphones networks, I promised that I’d return to the alleged relevance of consistency of voice in marketing.

It is often said that such consistency is crucial to brand building – you need a tone, regardless of media, that speaks through all your communications and touch-points, and that is readily identifiable as, and attributable to, the source brand. The trouble with that theory is that not only is it difficult to maintain one voice across internal events such as management changes and the advertising roundabout to which I’ve already alluded, but it is also threatened by external factors such as competitive activity which might co-opt your voice or, more likely, seek to make it appear irrelevant to an increasingly fickle consumer base.

This quest uses up far too much management time and runs the real risk of defaulting to a mundane position like that of the US cellphone networks where similar voices merely emphasise their commodification and will get lost in the anonymous babble of that marketplace.

When predicated on marketing activities (in the general promotional sense), consistency of voice speaks to me of overly earnest meetings and calculations which basically ask “How do we make our offering sexy?” It inevitably runs the risk of inflating expectations that won’t be matched by the customers’ experience.

No. The causality must flow the other way. Forget about offerings. Focus on being essential. Then, having created something remarkable to which a significant group of consumers will react passionately, build an organisation of evangelisers who feel similarly passionate about fulfilling that dream/desire. This generates an organic inner-voice reflected in everything your business does and can be translated into any promotional activities you choose to undertake.

That way you’re not struggling to create the consistent voice, you’re speaking it fluently.


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