One of the toughest things about establishing a brand is finding a way to distinguish your brand from all the others out there.
Seth Godin says that “marketing is a competition for people’s attention”, and I always preach about getting your brand voice heard. But what is absolutely vital in being heard and really grabbing that attention is protecting your brand voice.
The truth is you’re at risk every day of wearing down your brand voice. It can be easy to get caught up in the appearance of your brand when you’re comparing yourself to competitors.
There are plenty of brands crushing it out there and we feel inspired when we see what’s working for them. It becomes tempting to replicate what they’re doing to enjoy some success of our own.
I’m telling you, don’t do it.
This is just one of many of the ways to get caught up in the erosion of your brand voice. But there are also ways to keep your brand voice authentic and uniquely you.
The key to protecting your brand voice is authenticity.
Let me break the mistakes down for you…
1. Mimicking competitors
We see behavior that gets results we like, so we take on that behavior as our own. It’s common human nature.
It might work well for you for in the short term. But in the long term, it’s just not going to do you any favors in your business.
Copying the competition’s strategy is a risky game you don’t want to play, my friend.
Not only are there no guarantees that a competitor’s marketing strategy will work for you, but just because they found something that works does not make them the experts.
Your competitors are just like you in the sense that they are trying to find what works. And the market is an ever-changing game of who can communicate best.
The truth is that your competition may be crushing it today, but lose everything tomorrow because their voice wasn’t sticky enough to hold their audience’s attention.
So don’t envy your competitors just because they’re successful today. It can all change in a second.
Because it all comes down to your brand voice and what YOU bring to the table. Nobody likes fakes or lookalikes. Don’t be one.
Instead…. be yourself
Your brand voice is the only thing that belongs to you. EVERYONE has a product or service. But if you have an unique brand voice, you have something the other guys don’t.
If the only difference between you and a competitor is a price tag, you’re doing something wrong. And you obviously haven’t mastered your unique brand voice.
I didn’t build The Modern Marketer by drawing from my competitors. I built it by bringing my unique voice to the table.
You have to build up your business in the same way.
Own YOUR voice and protect it, because it’s the only thing that can stay unique and consistent through an ever-changing market.
2. Talking just to be heard
It’s true, you’ve got to be consistently providing content in order to stay relevant.
Some people take this to mean that the quantity of their content needs to be prioritized over the quality. So they’ll post and post and post, all the while thinking they’re crushing their content output.
It’s not that simple.
You cannot cut through the noise by yelling the loudest.
“You cannot cut through the noise by posting consistently if you’re not providing any value.”
If you’re too concerned about quantity of your content and not concerned enough about the quality of your brand voice, you’re going to end up with a diluted brand voice.
A client of mine, Jamal, experienced this very thing with his business Married and Young.
After about two years, he had about 30k to 40k unique visitors a month and got to a point where he consistently had 20 to 25 contributors. My wife and I even used to contribute.
But what ended up happening was, because he didn’t have a vetting process for contributors like we do for The Modern Marketer, it began to dilute the voice that Married and Young had built.
Some of the pieces published by contributors had a completely different voice and a bunch of spelling mistakes.
Jamal is a really good speaker and writer, so it created a pattern where every time he would drop an article in between all these sub-par contributor pieces, it would go viral.
All that attention Married and Young got before almost died out after his first conference because of the dilution of his brand voice.
He almost lost everything he built.
But Jamal really saved it just in time and made sure that the stories going out on Married and Young were in line with the brand voice. Now he’s making bank like it’s not even funny.
Instead….. provide value
Value comes over everything.
If you want your voice heard, you have to make it worth hearing. You must reflect on what you’re putting out there.
Some of you are publishing content, writing social posts, sending emails, and running ads that you YOURSELF wouldn’t spend your own time consuming.
Don’t kid yourself.
If you can’t even find your own content useful, why would you expect someone else to?
Our job as marketers is to bridge the gap between ourselves and consumers. Good marketers will post on social media with the hope of changing someone’s life or perspective that day.
Good marketers will send an email to their subscribers wishing that they could sit in a room with them all and have a good conversation.
Good marketers will realize they aren’t talking to “someone,” they are talking to another human with thoughts, feelings, goals, aspirations, successes and failures just like you and I.
This is how you protect your brand voice through content: by providing value.
3. Not talking at all
The flip side of talking just to be heard is not talking at all. Every day you let go by without providing fresh value is wearing down your brand voice.
There are many businesses that still don’t see the value in creating a marketing strategy for social media.
Even more businesses out there will sit on the sidelines waiting for “the right time” to get social. Waiting for more money, more time, more resources, more team members.
But continuing to wait causes your brand to slowly become less relevant over time. It’s like showing up to every networking event and not talking to a single person and not giving out a single business card.
Or just not showing up at all.
How will people get to know you if you don’t even use your voice? Your social media IS your voice. Your social media IS your content.
“It’s not a leveraging platform. Social media is there to provide value native to the platform you’re using.”
Yes, it takes time to learn how to provide value for each specific social channel. And, yes, it takes time to develop the voice, editorial, and consistency.
But you have to ACT if you have any chance at all in finding your voice within the context of each platform.
Instead…. tell your story
This is how you deliver your brand voice: When you know your vision, your mission, and your purpose (both individually and for the business) it overflows from your mouth in all facets of the conversation.
We like stories because it makes us feel like a part of something. We empathize. People who, at the core of their being, know who they are and why their business exists, have zero trouble storytelling.
The reason why storytelling doesn’t get old for us is because we’ve never lost sight of why we started this community in the first place.
“Adapting your story (content) to the appropriate format for each social platform (context) is the formula for delivering the value in your unique brand voice.”
But the key is consistency. Showing up everyday is one of the best marketing strategies you could ever put in place.
Just look at Casey Niestat. Casey had about 550k subscribers on his YouTube channel when he was posting once a month. After he started his daily vlog, that number shot up over 6 million subscribers.
He grew by 10x over the course of 12 months just by showing up everyday.
It’s not about going down a checklist of “doing the right thing” for a respected social presence. That will just get you discouraged. Instead you have to show up, everyday.
It doesn’t have to look pretty. You’ve just got to be there.
Do this and you will protect the value that only your voice can provide.
4. Creating ads to convert users
If you know me, you know I’m a huge advocate for Facebook ads. Right now we have clients using Facebook to do things like generate $125+ for every $15 spent on Facebook.
We have clients adding more than 1,000 active followers to their Facebook page per week on less than $20.
Honestly, if you’re not using Facebook ads, you need to be.
But this is where your brand voice is at risk when you’re creating ads. If you read those stats my clients are rocking right now and all you got were dollar signs in your eyes, you’re in trouble.
“Every ad you run with the goal to convert users and not with the goal to connect to humans, you’re wearing down your brand voice. ”
Getting conversions is only a building block for a bigger vision. If you think your goal is achieved after getting that conversion, if you think your job is done, then your brand voice stops there.
Instead…. connect with humans
Remember, the conversion is only a fraction of your buyer’s time. It’s only one touch point you should have out of many in your buyer’s lifetime. Your ultimate goal in creating ads needs to be connecting with humans.
The point being that you are out here to create relationships. Relationships are what will drive your business. Not one-time sales.
Forming relationships using your brand voice provides a LIFETIME of value for your business. And that is far more powerful than using your brand voice to make a sale one time.
You have to think bigger picture.
Make your ads with the goal in mind of not just conversions, but for genuine relationships that will outlast the value of any one-time sales.
Be sure you’re also creating ads without being disruptive. Many businesses will try to leverage people off the platform with their advertisement.
That’s not going to help you build relationships. You have to meet people where they are on social. Provide native value.
This is how you protect your brand voice through advertising. By thinking beyond the short term value and providing value in the context of the social channel.
5. Just researching and gathering information
Every day that you spend doing research and development, you’re wearing down your brand voice. Yes, you have to know your buyer persona and this does require a little getting-to-know-you research.
But that’s just it.
If you’re spending all your time trying to learn about your buyer persona without actually getting involved in the industry and getting your hands dirty, then you’re just stalling.
If you’re spending all your time trying to develop systems that help you sell, when are you actually going to sell?
If you aren’t an active and influential voice in your industry, how are you going to sell?
It’s like a gardener spending all of his time reading about growing vegetables instead of going out into the garden and actually planting them….
Instead…. execute and adjust
It’s all about speed to market.
The bottom line is that involving yourself in your industry is the exact training and refining your brand needs to become 100% valuable.
This is how you learn.
The beautiful thing about The Modern Marketer is that it’s constantly teaching me how to position Palizay Media (my marketing firm) in the industry.
Because I can actively see what tens of thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs really care about.
You need that hands on training to be able to learn about why your persona buys. You need that experience in able to learn how to best connect with that persona.
Let user behavior decide how you adjust and refine your efforts. It might even turn out that who you originally thought was your buyer really isn’t. And you won’t always get it right the first time. Nor should you expect yourself to.
It should be a constant pattern of executing and adjusting, executing and adjusting. It’s a learning process, not a research project.
So map it out. How will you actively be a part of your niche and community online?
Authenticity breeds virality. Take a moment and read that again.
Authenticity. Breeds. Virality.
There is a unique value that only YOU can provide. There is a special quality that only YOUR brand voice has. It’s the only thing that belongs to you, so you must protect it.
Protect it by being yourself, by providing value through your own story.
Protect it by seeking human connection and not one-off sales.
Protect it by getting involved in your community and not idly standing by gathering information.
You have to consistently do you to protect your brand voice. Authenticity breeds virality. Period. So utilize these tips and start being authentic.