- Alex Hughes
Curing Two-faced Company Syndrome with a Brand Voice
Source: Braydon Anderson
When was the last time you were overwhelmed by customer service that went above and beyond all expectations? A Pennsylvania Trader Joe’s did just that for a man in desperate need.
An 89-year-old man was snowed in for the holidays and had only a small supply of food. His concerned daughter called all of the stores in the area asking if they would deliver food to her father. She was rejected over and over until she called Trader Joe’s.
The associate that helped her said very clearly that they didn’t deliver, but after hearing the story they made an exception. The store made a special effort to meet the man’s dietary restrictions and delivered the food free-of-charge. What amazing service!
This example is mind-blowing because so many companies suffer from two-faced company syndrome. Sales and marketing promise one thing, but eager clients’ expectations are never fully met. How can you keep your company from catching the syndrome? The cure is a brand voice.
What’s a Brand Voice?
Simply put, a brand voice is the way that your company communicates using words. Or, as Ann Handley puts it in her book Everybody Writes, “your brand voice is simply an expression of your company’s personality and point of view.”
People have unique ways of communicating and their own perspective on the world. At times someone’s communication style might be so distinct that others can do an impression of them.
If your customers did an impression of your company, would they sound distinct at all? Or would they sound just like your competitors?
When you look at the way your company treats customers, would you be one of the grocery stores that said no we don’t deliver? Or would you be like Trader Joe’s and say yes we can do that?
Defining a brand voice will help your company’s content to stand out during sales and marketing, and it can push your service over the top. Preventing or curing two-faced company syndrome.
What Do You Value?
Just like people live their lives according to their own personal values, your brand needs to act according to its values. Take a look at Trader Joe’s mission statement. What does it value as a brand and how does it show it?
Trader Joe’s values are clear and these shine through in its marketing, sales, and customer service. There’s no deception or disconnect. Just one consistent personality that reaches into every part of its business.
What does your brand value?
To find your core values, you need to know why you’re in business, how you’re different, and what makes your offer special. The best way that I’ve found to do this is by following Simon Sinek’s golden circle.
The logic behind this is that people are most drawn to why you’re in business and not the exact product you sell. This makes sense because as humans we tend to align ourselves with those who have the same point of view as we do. To apply the golden circle just answer these three questions:
What does your company do?
How do you do it?
Why are you doing it?
As you answer that last question, imagine that a little kid is asking you “why?” over and over again. If you own a Saas company that provides budgeting software, the conversation might go like this:
"Why do you do your job?"
"I do it because it’s a good way to make money."
"Because people need help sticking to a budget and my
software helps them do it."
"Because managing money is complicated and my job is to make it
simple so that people have what they need."
See how that works? This exercise helps you dig into your core motivation and express it in such a simple way that anyone can understand it.
Tying Your Motivation to Sales and Service
In the military, a commander’s intent is their desired outcome for an operation. For example, a commander may have the intent of securing a key location. This intent is communicated to those involved in the operation and they’re allowed to use their own creativity to achieve the overall goal.
In the same way, companies can implement a commander’s intent and communicate it to both the sales and service staff. Let’s use our budgeting Saas company as an example. Its commander’s intent might be to make complicated budgeting problems simple for customers.
This acts as a guiding beacon for the sales department. Their promise to prospects is that they will make budgeting simple. They build their pitch around achieving this single goal.
The service or support team has the same goal. Whenever they receive an email or call, they ask themselves, “How can I make budgeting simple for this customer?” The service they provide is built on the same promise made by sales, there’s no disconnect, disappointment, or confusion.
Defining your core motivation and turning it into a commander’s intent creates a consistent voice for your company. One face for one company. When companies achieve this degree of consistency, customer satisfaction, referrals, and positive PR go through the roof.
Creating Experiences that Do the Marketing for You
Customer service isn’t about telling people how awesome you are, it’s about creating stories that do the talking for you. - Peter Shankman
Trader Joe’s got amazing PR and solidified itself as the nice guy grocery store because it went the extra mile. The staff rallied behind a single mission and they provided service that’s consistent with their sales and marketing efforts.
Aligning your company behind a single goal or core motivation can have the same effect for you. Start working on your brand voice and cure two-faced company syndrome for good.
About Alex Hughes
Alex Hughes takes complex ideas and breaks them into simple, relatable concepts. He is co-founder and content strategist at The Content Reactor. Alex’s quick wit and simple style bring a refreshing quality to his creative works. While working with companies like Samsung and the Mayo Clinic, he’s helped them convert complicated jargon into human conversation. In fact if you’ve used a Samsung device recently, you’ve seen his work.
Alex is certified in inbound marketing, content marketing, and HubSpot Marketing Software. This knowledge along with nearly a decade in writing experience contribute to his excellent vision for content strategy.