Brand! Brand! Brand! Everywhere you go someone is starting a "brand". But, probably only 20% of them, would actually be able to develop & execute brand communication.
But, what is brand communication? It is bleh bleh bleh & bleh is very bleh for your brand. Everywhere you'll see this type of advice for brand communication. Don't fall for it.
But, let's get serious for a second. When people purchase anything, they fundamentally buy what they understand & what they need. And, if your product or service would not be able to convey that, then it might cause problems in the long run. It's that simple. Brand communication is responsible for imparting what your brand has to offer to the respective potential customers.
Now, it's totally up to you how you want to execute that. It can be done via business cards, in-person interactions, billboards, TV ads, social media content & the list goes on.
But what if you developed the brand communication & it wasn't right?
You will spend a lot of time, energy, and money thinking about your business & executing brand communication. But, a company can only benefit if you have defined your target audience. And, the only way to attract the "right" customers is to get noticed by delivering the right message to them.
If you are a brand that celebrates all ethnicities; then you want this message to be out to the public to gain that traction. But what happens when you are not careful while communicating it? You can easily be seen as a racist, and many people would take offence to that. Because, let’s face it, no one wants to be associated with a racist now, do they?
Well, this has already happened, and not just with a local brand, but an international one: Dove. Remember in 2017, when the new Dove ad came out, in it, they showed four frames; in the first three frames, an African American woman is removing her t-shirt while in the fourth frame, all of a sudden, she turns into a white woman. Well, as per Unilever, the ad was meant to show “the diversity of real beauty.” But instead, it became known for racism. The ad showed up in Google search results as a “Dove Racist ad.”
But this was not the first time; Dove had a marketing blunder that year. Earlier in the same year, the "the body positivity packaging campaign" was launched. In this, they had their body wash in six differently shaped bottles as a limited edition. These shapes were supposed to be equivalent to the different body types in women. It was supposed to say that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, a very noble thought to put out.
But it backfired tremendously. The reason was that; it created an even further divide amongst the women, and; made them even more conscious and insecure about their bodies. They had created different shapes, thinking that there is no perfect shape and all are beautiful. But technically, the hourglass-shaped bottle was most ergonomically functional because it can fit in one hand easily if you hold it at the waist. But the same cannot be said for the pear-shaped bottle. So, instead of the message “that no one shape is perfect,” an exact opposite message was being communicated.
These all led to a complete failure of the campaign, though their heart was in the right place. That is why just having the right thoughts or having the right vision is not enough. You need to be able to explain it to your audience in a clear fashion and not try to go for just fancy words or methods.
The value of a brand rises and falls with its communication. Even the most popular brands have to keep this line of communication open between them and their customers to continue to maintain their level of influence. For example, everyone knows Facebook, right? I mean anyone who has any amount of presence on the internet is aware of this social media platform. And yet from time to time, you’ll see the advertisements explaining how Facebook can help you find a community amongst strangers. This increased even further during the pandemic, as people were locked inside their homes and need help or just someone to chat with. So if such a big brand keeps working on its brand communication, there must be some benefits from it, right? Well, let me break them down for you:
We as humans tend to be people pleasers. We are taught from an early age that we should be polite and include everyone. But trust me when I say this, it is the exact opposite when it comes to your business. You cannot include anyone and everyone. Your target audience cannot be every living being out there in the world. There is a reason why the word “target” is present in “target audience”. There has to be a specific group of people that you think are more likely to benefit from your brand. And you have to identify this group and approach only them. Now this group can be as small or as large as you make it.
It can include all mothers in the world or it can include just the new mothers or mothers-to-be. This depends entirely on your business plan. Remember, you can always expand your services and target more people. But with each launch or each communication, be specific about the audience. Because, if you sell dog food and you are running a sponsored ad campaign, that lands the ad on my feed page, I as a person who is afraid of dogs would not even entertain the idea of looking at the entire post. And that means that you may be losing money without any useful leads. So be very sure about whom you want to target.
A very well-known name in the Indian household is “Lux.” They sell beauty soaps by using one of the best Indian actresses as their brand ambassador. This works mainly because they have researched their target audience in full detail. They know that the beauty soap is mainly used by women who all want to look like the actresses shown on television. This is exactly the point that they as a brand are using to show that you can also look like the glorified version of yourself with nothing more than a soap. This implies that you must be very clear on who your audience is and how to connect with them.
Another known brand is “Glow and Lovely.” I know almost every woman ranging from as young as 15 to as old as 70 was using this cream at a time. The reason was simple. They were playing on the viewpoint of women needing fairer skin. They did this by showing changes by shade or two with a simple dab. Though they have changed their narrative over time, with banishing the “having light skin is important” thought and moving forward towards glowing skin. This shows that you must always be ready to re-evaluate your stance and change the narrative as and when required.
Now that you have narrowed down your target audience and what you want to communicate with them, you need to work on the method of delivering your message. Meaning, if you are using fancy terms without actually explaining the said terms, there are higher chances that all of your audience may not understand what you are trying to say. And this is just not beneficial to anyone.