We’re all the way up to part 6 of our building a better brand series based on Syrup’s clarity framework.
We started with Identity, added Purpose, established Uniqueness, developed a Visual Identity, and crafted an engaging Story in which our customers were the heroes, not the brand. We’re now reaching the final stage of refinement for our brand before we launch it to the marketplace.
What do we mean by conversation? In short, we mean the ways you message and interact with your prospects and customers that are consistent with your brand. This is where everything should start coming together. you see, "conversation" goes beyond just your tagline, mission and value proposition. It’s the specific words, imagery, and tone you’ll use to communicate to your customer. Additionally, good conversation is a two way street.
At Syrup, we call this stage “conversation” because it serves as an internal guide for us to make sure that we are speaking to our clients’ customers conversationally. For some brands, that conversation might be playful and humorous. For others, it might be a serious conversation about financial matters or health issues. Even if we’re helping a serious brand in a serious industry, we want to make sure that the communication on their website, brochures, sales collateral and any advertisement is conversational, welcoming and engaging.
Let me make it personal. If you were to come to my home this is NOT what you would experience! First of all, I will have cleaned up for you. You’re not going to see a lot of clutter. When you knock on the door, you won’t be greeted by...
“WELCOME TO MY HOME. I PAID A MILLION DOLLARS FOR IT! I’M A REALLY BIG DEAL. I’VE WON LOTS OF AWARDS AND AM REALLY SUCCESSFUL. EVERYONE THINKS I’M AWESOME AND I MAKE A LOT OF MONEY FROM MY CLIENTS! (I’ll stop yelling even though a lot of websites don’t.) I know we’re just standing in my front foyer, but as you can see there are 15 different hallways we can walk down. But, I only let my best friends down 14 of them. If we start down any one of them, you’ll start out by noticing that I’ve made a lot of money and awards on any path you choose, and I really like putting up pictures of myself. What’s that? You’re tired? You have to use the restroom? You're thirsty? Well, If only you were one of my really good friends and not just a guest. Then, I’d let you use my personal bathroom. Here's the public toilet. However, I should warn you. the toilet is out of order, we’re currently out of drinking water and the couch is also only for my best friends.”
I know. It’s ridiculous. But, think about how often you visit a company's homepage only to discover...
- The driveway isn’t swept: Slow loading time
- They must be hoarders: there is clutter everywhere!
- The door comes off the hinges: broken links.
- The paint is peeling and the furniture is out of date: poor visual identity.
- The host is screaming at you: Lots of capitalization and explanation points.
- The floor plan is out of date and complicated: site layout too elaborate.
- The host won’t stop talking about him/herself: The host won’t stop talking about him/herself.
- As you tour the home, every room is a different theme and random color….. you get the idea.
Good hosts ask how you’re doing even if you're there for their birthday party. They try to make you comfortable. They care about you. Why else would they invite you to their home? Why would they invite you there and ignore you? They want to have a meaningful conversation with you.
How many companies go to great lengths to invite you to their home through advertising only to either yell at you or ignore you once you arrive?
Now, the alternative. You are invited to a dinner party at a friend’s house. You are greeted at the front door by your friend.
“Welcome to our home. I’m so glad you’re here. Did you have trouble finding it? No? Well, make yourself at home. mi casa es tu casa. If you need to use the restroom it’s right over here. We have fresh drinks and some hot appetizers in the kitchen. Help yourself, and let me know if there's anything you need. I'd love to introduce you to some of the other guests once you're settled in."
The home is simple, but it's elegantly decorated. There are pictures of your host with friends and family. The music is just the right volume. The temperature is perfect, and the food smells delicious! You just might want to hang out for a little while.
Conversation is about talking to your customers. It’s about listening to your customers. It’s about the right messages that show you care. However, you have to realize that it isn’t just about the words and messaging. If you’re the house that smells like old vegetable soup, people are not going to want to hang out and talk. People want to do business with people, with other humans. Be human. Be courageous. Have meaningful conversations with your customer with your authentic voice.
You’ve done so much work to get your brand ready to launch. “Conversation” is not only just about figuring out what you want to say. It’s about recognizing that how you say it, and the environment in which you say it is just as important.
Next week, we’ll look at “launch” as the final step to building a great brand.