As the world embraces a more digital lifestyle, connection with your audience through digital marketing channels is critical for any business. With the changes that have ushered in since the pandemic, brands are leveraging marketing communications to connect with the audience. Global data showcases that sales and marketing have sent up to 60% more emails than pre-COVID benchmarks. And this has been a trend with digital channels too, with several brands focusing added efforts on websites, social media, and other digital channels to reach out to their customers.
But are they having the right impact that was expected?
Many marketers tend to create communications and campaigns inspired by the recent trends and events, but often do not get the emotion behind it. This leads to a marketing campaign that sounds dull and can negatively impact the brand. This inability of a brand to connect with the audience creates what is known as tone-deaf communications. And even the most positive of intentions can have the wrong impact if brands do not exercise empathy.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid sounding tone-deaf in your marketing and communication efforts and create a connection with your audiences:
Focus on your brand values
According to a survey by Stackla, on branding, 86% of consumers have said they value authenticity when deciding if they like a brand. More than generating engagement by using the latest trends to your effect, marketers need to think if it also aligns with their brand values.
Before you start creating any campaigns, think about how it aligns with your brand values. If you support a cause or a particular emotion, consider if it resonates with your target audience. With social media and other digital means, a one-off campaign will not have a similar impact as compared to consistent communications about the values you believe in.
Think through your campaign and posts before sending
Marketers are always enticed to use a recent event to highlight and gain traction, but many times, this will not be the right strategy. Before stepping into such campaigns, especially ones with political, ideological, or social implications, one needs to think deeply. Pepsi’s recent campaign featuring Kendall Jenner on the recent protests elicited huge backlash for trivializing and appropriating the activist demonstrations and led to Pepsi officially apologizing for it.
So, before creating or sending any campaign or posts related to recent events, one needs to think through. Again, focus on the brand values and whether your brand needs to speak about the event. When you do decide to do so, empathize with the audience, and try to think of what they’d think when reading your communication.
Trending doesn’t always mean right.
There is a term for brands that try to piggyback off the latest trends and headlines to promote themselves, called newsjacking. But, while it is understood if brands use it to realign their marketing tactics, using it for promotions without understanding the audience can lead to a backlash.
Before creating something about a recent trend, think of whether it fits into your overall strategy. For example, with the rise in people working remotely, can your company or product add value to your target audience? Are you making any updates to help your customers in these tough times? If yes, create promotions that help the audiences instead of enticing them for purchase using a COVID-19 discount. It is such communications that brands should avoid as it makes them appear opportunistic.
Listen to your target audience.
While brands are finding new ways to reach out to their target audience, an essential part of the communication is something that’s missed out on. Listening! And while you should focus on communicating with the audience, you must make them feel heard. According to research by Netbase, almost 70% of customers won’t stay with a brand if they do not feel heard.
So, before you strategize on your communications, research on what your audience truly wants to hear. Are they looking for discounts, or do they want useful tips, analysis, a word of comfort, or something else? Know your customer sentiments and make sure your communications are focused on their needs rather than that of your brand. The rising engagement on digital channels is an excellent opportunity to connect with the audience, but only if brands genuinely listen to what their audience wants.
All in all, brands should focus on creating a human voice rather than just using corporate language with jargon. Although brands need to stay formal, the tone and language make a huge impact and can help brands to not sound tone-deaf in their marketing. Brands should communicate with emotion, facts, and focus on the right values to ensure their marketing campaigns connect with the audience.
How are you interacting with your audience, and what are your thoughts on tone-deaf marketing campaigns? Let us know in the comments below!
Tags: brand values, Marketing, Marketing communications, Target audience, Tone-deaf marketing