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Is Your Brand Tone Deaf?

Brand Tone is also the personality of your brand. Take a moment to think of the Apple/PC ads. Apple’s personality is that of a youthful, creative person with a distinctive image. If you also happen to own a Mac, but were also once a PC owner the set-up in the commercial will resonate with you. You get it. Exclusively Mac owners also get it because they always “got it” ( a bit of snob appeal). But the reality of the situation is the accurate portrail of Mac’s personality or tone.

What tone does your brand send out? Are you even consciously doing this in your marketing? Just like every company has a brand whether they want one or not, brands are also exhibiting a personality/tone whether they are aware or not. The tone many companies sent out is a that of a selfish person where the message is all about them. A big picture of their location and flashy offices, how successful they are, that you should be dealing with someone so influential. NOTHING about how they will address your company’s pain points and deliver on a solutions based promise.

This is how many advertising messages go down – and let’s not forget the flashy graphic to round out the creativity by rubbing the ego of the person who signs the cheque.

Your tone should epitomize your brand promise and compliment your customer’s brand experience. Like Apple, I know I will not have to deal with viruses and it’s going to be very easy to use AND look pretty darn cool as well!

Think about your brand’s tone. It will make your marketing resonate more powerfully with your target customers.

7 Responses to Is Your Brand Tone Deaf?

  1. Andrew Weir Reply

    November 2, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I agree. So often brands do not deliver a brand experience in sync with what they promise. The best, like Apple, not only get it right but go even further and deliver an experience that delights.

  2. ED ROACH Reply

    November 3, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Andrew, what do you think contributes to this short-coming? Myself I see it as a result of short-term thinking. Many businesses simply can’t see beyond immediate benefit in every aspect of building their brand.

    • andrew weir Reply

      November 3, 2009 at 5:02 pm

      Sure, that is part of it. There is also the issue of silo operations. Marketing not working closely with sales, NPD, customer service, etc.

    • Meheer Thakare Reply

      November 3, 2009 at 11:55 pm

      I agree with you Ed. Businesses especially small businesses are so occupied in acheiving their yearly financial targets that they eventually (and some times uknowingly) ignore their brand’s tone/personality. This impacts the consumer in more than one way resulting in a deduction of overall Brand Value.

      @Andrew, You’ve got a great point there briefed in a sentence. The capabilities and committment of the marketing dept to work in close integration with the Sales and Customer Service Dept in equally important. The recent rise of outsourcing customer services dont really help maintaining a consistent brand image, does it?

  3. Harry Reply

    November 4, 2009 at 7:07 am

    Andrew, Youve caught my nerve. I run a small Newspaper agency in Vancouver where I faced a similar situation with my brand’s personality. Turns out, after a deep meeting, the problem was the communication gap between the internal departments. You guys are amazing.

    :-) Wish I had been exposed to this site an year ago when I faced the bug. I’ve grown to fascination with this blog, its absolutely perfectly positioned to my entrepreneurial needs.

    Thanks to the developers.

  4. ED ROACH Reply

    November 4, 2009 at 8:43 am


    Exactly – a lot of islands with their own agendas. It’s so important to get all stakeholders together to get a consensus on the brand. Everyone should be singing from the same song sheet.

    The same goes for your positioning strategy. Everyone should know what you do. If you were to go up to the first few people in your organization and simply ask, “what do we do here at XYZ Company?” you will be surprised at the array of answers you get. This reflects a brand problem – the lack of a common compelling position. (Sounds like another article coming on) Building and maintaining your brand is a series of ongoing tweaks and tuning to get it running just right.

  5. Meheer Thakare Reply

    November 4, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    @ Ed

    Buzz me when to do the article. I’d love to go through it.

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