Sometimes, It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It
I can’t believe I just wrote that. It’s totally antithetical to everything I was taught at P&G. There it was all about EBVs and RTBs, or end-benefit visualizations and reasons to believe for those not properly indoctrinated.
Well, in today’s world of product parity, way at the bottom of the creative brief, is your opportunity for accelerated growth. It’s that thing that never changes and no one talks about — brand personality, or brand voice. In today’s digital, social world, that’s where the gold is!
Now, I have my personal favorite examples of brands that have created attention and differentiation for their brands via their brand voice, but I thought why keep it to my opinion? Why not ask the 80 people I work with at the agency? The result? I got some great ones! Across a range of categories and consumer audiences.
Dos Equis and their now sadly departed “most interesting man in the world.” Who wouldn’t love to have had a beer with him?! And isn’t that about the best possible desire that a beer brand could hope to instill?!
Iconic CPG brands Oreo and Slim Jim have kept their brands young and relevant, not by contemporizing their product formulations, but by contemporizing their brand voices. I mean, let’s face it, what else is there to say? Almost everyone on the planet can imagine what the foods taste like just by saying their name, and a reformulation would bring nothing but trouble.
I give Axe a lot of credit; it put the brand way out there with a colossal overpromise and it worked. Old Spice followed right along and arguably one-upped them at their own game. So, what did Axe do? It pivoted to a new place that is arguably more relatable and aspirational to the latest crop of young men. Well played.
Always, with the Like A Girl campaign, started with a universally negative experience and out of that dark place created a pitch-perfect positive personality that will make it a brand for life for many.
What’s worth noting is the range of ways of brand voice can be used to grow a brand. It can generate attention and break a brand out of a crowded category. It can contemporize a brand to appeal to a new audience. It can be the glue that holds the whole brand experience together. It can build brand affinity, trust and loyalty for life. What it should not be is an afterthought at the bottom of a brief. In that case, it’s just a missed opportunity.