A huge part of your brand’s success relies on content consistency across channels. From marketing materials to interoffice emails, every time you communicate you have an opportunity to reinforce your company’s personality, mission, and values.
But, do your employees know how to support your brand identity across content channels? If you suspect they’re struggling, you’re not alone. Writing and content deficiencies cost American firms as much as $3.1 billion annually. And 73% companies say that want to hire employees with strong writing skills.
You can avoid such costs of confusion when you empower your employees with the tools they need to support your company’s language as a brand asset. Here are two ways to keep your company’s brand on point and build consistency in your language:
1. Build a Verbal Brand Toolkit®.
A brand toolkit is a style guide that gives employees the guidelines and parameters they need to communicate your company’s unique personality. These tools create unity and consistency across content — and help all employees support your company’s tone, themes, and words and phrases by outlining branded language traits.
When building your own verbal brand toolkit, keep these tips in mind:
- Include your company’s story.
Your employees may not know your company’s brand story inside and out. To help them create consistent messaging, define the narrative and supporting themes they should use in your content. Make sure you clarify relevant details like your company’s history, emotional touchpoints, and differentiators.
- List words to use AND avoid.
The language you use should support your brand and set you apart from competitors. In your toolkit, include both on-brand and off-brand words and phrases. Both lists will come in handy when uniting content across channels by helping you maintain consistent language in your messaging.
- Provide examples.
Even content creators can have a hard time gauging writing quality. Help employees understand your expectations by including existing examples of branded language into your guide. Create internal and external content samples to illustrate how to use brand language and reach various audiences.
2. Offer writing workshops to all employees (not just content creators).
While a brand toolkit offers style rules, all employees will benefit from workshops and in-depth conversations that teach them how to write well and on brand. Remember, every person who works for you is a brand ambassador, whether they’re support staff or corporate communicators. So, giving everyone the tools they need to write effectively is essential. By providing a space for questions, opinions, and ideas, you can ensure your employees understand your brand expectations — and have the chance to practice what you preach.
Once you’ve gathered your team, try these workshop tips to get more from the experience:
- Gather personal experiences and questions.
Start your workshop by asking all of your employees to write for 15 minutes on their understanding and impression of your company’s brand. Even if you’re introducing your branded language for the first time, your employees can still identify how your company’s mission and messaging emerge in their day-to-day responsibilities. Encourage them to share questions, opinions, or anecdotes that will help illuminate where your brand is or isn’t working.
- Pair up employees from different departments.
Teaming up employees who usually work in different areas can help them identify and bridge disconnects — and reinforce aligned brand experiences. For example, if your company is looking to hire a new employee, a member of your marketing team could help the HR department maintain brand voice in the job posting. Encouraging collaborative work among all your employees will demonstrate how your brand’s language connects across positions and departments.
- Collaborate with an outside writing coach.
Bringing in an outside instructor can make workshops more effective. If you’re a boss or manager, a writing coach can take the pressure off of you and your employees, and allow for more genuine conversations. They also bring the talents needed to create engaging workshops — which is crucial when teaching writing skills. They’ll be able to tailor the lessons to meet specific department needs, employee skills gaps, and other essential communication goals.
All of your employees need to understand how your company’s language is an asset. To achieve this goal, provide them with the resources and training they need to effectively communicate on-brand. By doing so, you’ll set them up for success and help your company reinforce quality brand experiences for your audiences — across your content ecosystem.