Balancing Consistency With Customization in Your Content

December 10, 2010 | Branding, Business, Social Media

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I spend a lot of time preaching the benefits of a consistent, unified brand identity. Rather than mixing your message and diluting your identity, the repetition of key visuals, text and graphic elements can all strengthen your brand’s position.

But, there are times when people get consistent to a fault. You need to remember to tailor your message based on your audience and your medium.

Put your message into your reader’s context

How engaged are our your readers? How you explain your business proposition to a prospect who has requested an estimate should be different than how you describe your business at your family reunion. This is also true when considering what type of information you share with an interested prospect ready to make a purchase, compared to a distracted web surfer.

How much time or space do you have? Twitter’s 140 characters is probably the most restrictive place you communicate in, but other environments may have their own biases. Are there limitations based on time, or functionality of the medium?

What is the context? Explaining your work as part of a case study on your web site allows you to go into a lot detail and show a lot of examples. If you are reaching out to connect for the first time with a prospect (whether it’s in person, by email or by phone) that level of detail becomes overkill and potentially confusing or off-putting.

What is the mindset of your readers? With the popularity of Facebook company pages, more and more people are connecting with companies and brands. But most of us view Facebook time as personal time, a time to spend with friends. Seeing ads pushed out as Facebook content is a huge turn off.

The Social Media Challenge

One place that many B2B companies are struggling is transforming their brand’s message to the more informal social media channels. When an organization gives away formal printed marketing materials, there is a level of craft that is expected. The writing is well-edited, the design should be highly professional, and the printing high quality as well.

Social media has a speed that makes much of that irrelevant or impossible. There is no time for such carefully honed masterpieces. But you should work to keep your message true to your brand.

For example, you can’t just take the content from one source (say an ad) and plop it up on your Facebok wall and expect people to care. You need to think about the concept and strategy that went into the ad at the start and figure out how to tease that into an interesting status update.

The balancing act

There are ways to keep your brand unified in the vastly different media that we all communicate with, and still sound human.

  • Have some boilerplate copy that can be used to fill out company profiles and biographies. But write other content in a style that makes sense for the media and audience.
  • Have a plan for what types of content you want to share and what topics you will engage with. Not all of it has to be completely business related. But figure out how you’ll draw the line.
  • Maintain brand standards when possible by using a company logo or a professionally photographed head shot. Keep company colors, typography and other visual elements.

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