Maintaining brand integrity in tactical messaging
Of all the work we do to help bring our clients’ brands to life, one of the most creatively challenging is ensuring consistency as we transition from awareness, through consideration, and into tactical messaging. The reason for this is pretty simple: When the primary purpose of a given execution is pure brand awareness, there’s a lot more flexibility across all aspects of the creative. Generally speaking, the further down the funnel we travel, and the more tactical the messaging needs to be, the less flexibility we have. By necessity, both language and design become more specific to the offering, creating fewer obvious opportunities for pure brand expression.
But “fewer obvious” does not equal “none.” In fact, there are excellent brand awareness opportunities lurking in even the most tactical of messaging. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look, and how to bring them to life. Here are a few of the tricks we use to ensure successful “brantactical” messaging.
Be consistently consistent
Hopefully you’re embarking on your brandactical journey with a previously established brand identity, including a colour palette, typography, photography guidelines, and, of course, a logo. If you haven’t yet landed on a strong and consistent identity, now’s the time to hit rewind, because your identity should form a foundation for all creative, including your tactical messaging.
Understand your purpose
Remember that tactical messaging is ultimately about conveying essential information, and that you’ve arrived at a place where clarity should take precedence over cleverness. This is not to say that you can’t achieve both, only that it’s critical to ensure your audience understands precisely what you’re offering and/or asking. While expressing who you are is always important, in brantactical messaging it’s even more important to articulate what you can do for the consumer. And what you want them to do.
Consider your platform
This is where things get really interesting, because we are now awash in a tremendous diversity of channels, each offering myriad ways to deliver our message, and each with its own particular tone, consumer behaviour, and expectations. This is not the place to dive into vagaries of all the channels at our disposal, but it is the place to mention that a brantactical email is likely to have a very different look and feel than a tactical digital display or 6-second pre-roll ad, even if all three are conveying the exact same information.
Look for “hidden” opportunities to express your brand
Even within tactical messaging, there are numerous opportunities to strengthen and deepen your brand. For instance, have you considered how product naming reflects your brand? Have you thought about connecting your offer to a specific holiday or event? Perhaps Hoodie Hoo Day? Or how about International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Or maybe something that reflects a sincere brand value, such as International Women’s Day? The point is that even within the mandate to convey basic information, such as the product being advertised, or the time frame of the offer, there is plenty of opportunity to demonstrate what your brand stands for.
Watch your tone
Your brand’s voice and tone is something that can carry through the funnel to help keep the brand present even as the message gets more tactical. It also helps cut through the clutter of other brands calling consumers to action or offering promotions that use stale and predictable language.
Photo, video and graphic styling
When the space for copy limits you to promoting your product, a branded piece of photography, video or graphic can keep the brand’s presence intact. We’re not talking about “what” your image is, we’re talking about how it is branded. Advertising is a visual medium and a carefully considered treatment for your visuals applied regularly across all your marketing materials will give cues to the consumer about who you are, but also provide subtle reminders of brand marketing higher up the funnel.
If this all sounds specific and strategic, that’s because it is. But it’s also important that your tactical messaging passes your own internal “gut check” test. Which is to say, if it feels off, it probably is. If that’s the case, take a step back and look at it again through the lens of these six rules. They won’t solve every single brantactical challenge, but in our experience, they’ll go a long way toward ensuring the integrity of your brand no matter how tactical your message.