Brand voice – how to find it in times of crisis
Kevin Claypoole-McCloskeyManaging Director
If you thought your market was competitive in normal times, it’s even more so when the going gets tough. But while some of your competitors scramble to protect their share of voice and others retreat into their corporate shells, you have the chance to create an opportunity out of the chaos. A unique voice coupled with an authentic point of view – that content sweet spot – can make you stand out.
With the dust still settling on the country’s decision to leave the EU, uncertainty – political and economic – is the new watchword. Financial brands are showing a reluctance to dip a toe in the uncharted Brexit waters, while their customers crave some kind of clarity.
With no sign of the invocation of Article 50 on the horizon, nobody really knows how the resulting EU negotiations will go and what the various outcomes will be. Because of this, we’re already seeing many FS marketers retreating into their shells and failing to provide an authentic and unique voice through their content marketing strategies.
Any hint of the volume being turned down in a competitive sector represents a huge opportunity. Brexit, and its aftermath, is the perfect example.
What do you want to achieve?
Increasing customer engagement through content has always been a challenge for FS marketers. In an ideal world your brand voice would already be:
It’s easy to strive for all these qualities, but when your competitors are promoting similar products and services, it can be difficult to stand out.
Finding your content sweet spot
At the heart of every successful content marketing strategy lies the content sweet spot. This can be found at the intersection of customer need, brand proposition and competitor activity. This is a model we’ve used successfully to identify an authentic content proposition with many of our FS clients.
1) Customer need
There’s a world of difference between creating content that you think your customers will engage with and producing informed content your research is telling you they want to digest.
The best way to find out what your customers really need is to ask them – then use the results to increase engagement levels. Creating run-of-the-mill content around your products and services is a safe strategy, but it’s a path already well-trodden by your competitors.
In our experience, the following three questions are a good starting point for creating content that matters to your customers:
i. What keeps your customers awake at night?
ii. How can you make their lives easier?
iii. What values attracted them to your brand in the first place and what do they expect in the future?
In the current context, why not ask your customers what Brexit means to them? People always want to be listened to in times of difficulty. Your customers are no different.
2) Competitor content
Your content strategy should be built around the fundamental principle of “Don’t imitate, innovate”. Consumers are overwhelmed by marketing messages, so the last thing you want to do is adopt a ‘me too’ approach by producing similar content around similar products and services.
One of our areas of expertise is finding the gaps in competitor content. Through a combination of manual research and online tools, we can identify what is and isn’t working for your competitors in order to shape an effective strategy for your organisation.
With so many FS brands waiting to understand the full implications of the EU referendum vote, there are plenty of opportunities to exploit.
3) Telling the story
When it comes to the narrative, Ann Handley, CCO of Marketing Profs has some sage advice for telling the story. She describes this as being ‘Bigger, Braver, Bolder’.
It’s about aiming high with your content and looking to become the ultimate resource around your chosen topic. And you need to use your competitor content audit to think bolder. For example, is everyone approaching a topic from the same angle? What is it about that subject that really matters to your customers?
Being brave in a content marketing sense means stepping away from your comfort zone and saying something which provokes a discussion. With so many organisations playing it safe, now is the time to step out of the shadows through telling stories that resonate in an uncluttered space.
FS brands that embrace change now and engage their customers in preparation for the unknowns of Brexit will be better prepared as the full implications of the historic vote begin to become clearer in the months and years ahead.
We are here to help
Interested in getting to grips with building loyalty and supporting customers? If you want support with content that can improve customer loyalty and financial wellbeing, get in touch today.