Tell-tale signs your brand isn’t working: #5 Echo Speaking
21 June 2017
As a start-up, you’ll be tempted time and again by bright, shiny shortcuts promising to make your journey to building an awe-inspiring brand significantly shorter. They will call to you as you sift through your promotional paperwork or agonise over your website copy, whispering sweet nothings about how much easier they can make your life.
One of these corner-cutting sirens will suggest that by using the same brand voice as successful players in your sector, you’ll power up your sales ten times faster. But don’t be fooled, you’ll be teetering on the edge of a big branding blunder. We call it ‘Echo Speaking’.
Echo speaking is a temptation so hard to resist that you’ll be grabbing at it like Gollum in Tiffany’s. Developing an authentic brand voice is hard, it takes time and money, so instead you ‘borrow’ ideas from industry heavyweights. Copying the odd phrase here, cut and pasting some good stuff there, and sprinkling some corporate speak on top for good measure. Before you know it you’re playing a game of buzzword bingo and doing the verbal equivalent of dad dancing. And just like Pa’s Jive Bunny routine, you’ll want to wash your peepers with bleach to erase the memory.
The reason people despise this method of building a brand voice is that it’s so boring. You’ll end up using hateful phrases like ‘blue sky thinking’ or ‘pushing the envelope’. There’s no distinctive personality there, nothing fresh or innovative. Just a tone so dreary that it’ll make ‘Pan Pipes Vol. 66345’ sound like a white-knuckle thrill ride.
We’ve been involved with the birth and development of some great brands. So we know it’s not easy to set that unique voice, and it’ll take time to explore and discover what makes yours different and special. But once you’ve nailed that process, you can weave it into a strategy that involves a truly authentic brand voice full of personality. One that’s unmistakably you. Only then can you nurture that charisma and combine it with vivid storytelling to create something your customers can fall in love with.
Once you’ve done the hard yards, you need to keep that brand voice consistent at every touch point. That’s why a brand strategy and a dedicated wordsmith will be your best friends as you go forward.
Is your tone of voice as fresh as a National Rail croissant? Don’t settle for Jargon jibber jabber, let Robot Mascot steer you right.