Part 3: keeping everyone on-message
‘Our tone’s just for our adverts, right? We can’t talk to customers the same way.’
You’ve put out your statement around Black Lives Matter on social media. You’ve added a banner on your website, explaining what you’re doing to support the movement. Job done, right?
Maybe not. In the quest for authenticity around social issues, focussing on big Above the Line moments isn’t enough. Your message needs to chime from every corner of your organisation.
Everyone’s a writer
Think about all the people who write on behalf of your business – customer service agents responding to chat messages and emails. The teams managing your social media. Even your finance and accounts teams chasing people up for payments. All of those people need to be on-message, too.
When they’re not, customers feel like they’re talking to a different company every time they speak to you. Which pretty quickly makes them question which side of you to trust. The empathetic messaging around COVID-19, or the short sharp emails from customer services?
When everyone’s on-message, it shows that your words have substance – and it creates nice moments that people take notice of. Like when Yorkshire Tea took the time to correct someone on social who assumed they weren’t supporting BLM:
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Train people in your tone, and your messaging
Make sure any of the hundreds of people who might be writing on behalf of your brand are all on the same page.
That means getting them trained in your tone of voice, so they know how to sound. And it means equipping them with a regularly updated bank of key messages, setting out your brand’s stance on anything from the easing of social distancing measures to upcoming elections.
Those stances don’t have to be ground-breaking. But having them set out somewhere easily available makes it less likely that one of your colleagues will undermine all of your messaging efforts with an ill-timed tweet or complaint response.
As the year goes on, who knows what brands – and all of us – will need to react to next. But by getting your story straight, saying it with conviction and keeping everyone on message, you’ll make sure your words feel relevant and timely, and not like you’re taking advantage.
This blog is part of series on communicating topical messages, without sounding like you’re just jumping on the bandwagon. Find the first blog here.