In digital communications, the message still matters

In today’s fast-paced PR climate, clients want a strong presence on various channels. Before you jump to the next platform, you must hone your brand’s voice. Here’s how to stay consistent.

Over the last 20 years, communications channels have shifted from daily newspapers and investigative leads to 24-hour cable news, blogs and endless streams of social media content.

Seasoned PR pros have witnessed the strategic conversation shift from crafting a general message to tailoring messages to fit the formats of various media.

I—and many other pros—have helped lead that shift. I’ve written bylined articles about the impact of social media on brands and launched a blog about how “new media” has changed PR. Although having a presence on various communications channels is important, nothing in PR is as important as your organization’s message.

Messages today

Today’s executives spend more time mulling which social media platform or app to use than how to communicate their brand’s value. I’ve often seen brand managers send mixed signals to customers because they’re simply using too many channels.

A brand’s identity and personality will be expressed as one thing on Instagram and something else entirely on YouTube and, yet, will be unrecognizable from both those incarnations in newspapers and magazines. RELATED: How to eliminate corporate jargon and drive business performance with improved communications techniques.

Although your tone should vary slightly from medium to medium, to create a lasting impression, your brand’s message and value proposition should be consistent across all forms—traditional, social and digital media.

Where some miss the mark—and how to fix it

If you can’t define the facts and feelings of your brand, or if you can’t swiftly demonstrate the differentiation to all audiences on all channels using the same words, emotions, anecdotes and messages regardless of the medium, you aren’t doing it right.

If you’re struggling to find a consistent message through various channels, answer these questions:

  • What do you want your target audiences to think about your brand?
  • What do you want consumers to feel about your brand?
  • What does choosing your brand say about your audience? Are they wise and frugal? Are they cool and hip? Is it aspirational or inspirational? Both, or neither?
  • What roadblocks are there in the marketplace or in your customer’s mind that you have to overcome, and how do you overcome them?
  • What current trends make your brand valuable today? What trends are coming tomorrow that could help to drive your brand’s future relevance?

Use your answers to define your brand. Let these messages define your story, pitches and social media content.

Jennifer Jones-Mitchell is the executive vice president/managing director at Atlanta’s Hope-Beckham. She’s worked in digital communications since the mid-1990s

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