I had a conversation with a friend, and someone I respect immensely professionally, about a company’s brand and how it is interpreted across all channels.

She shared with me a recent letter she had received from her bank, which told her they did not have proof of insurance for her business and that this needed to be rectified immediately or they would purchase the insurance and charge her back. Besides the fact that coverage had never lapsed and this was the 1st notice, the letter was rude, forceful and impersonal. Don’t even get me started on the fact that they sent a LETTER, apparently email has caught on yet in the world of banking.

Since my friend is a badass, she took the opportunity to make a few suggestions to the bank, below is a blurb from her response:

Has your marketing department seen the language on these letters? The tone contradicts the message they are communicating about the bank on billboards. It is also vastly different from another letter I received at the office. Just really weird.

When developing or defining a company’s messaging it is critical to understand the communication channels in which that messaging will be used. Some of the most common are: 1) Email, 2) Website, 3) Brochure copy, 4) Digital – social, video, etc., 5) Advertising and more.

These are the obvious channels, but are they really what makes the most impact? A few things to consider:

  1. How does your company communicate? If your customer service team is sending out letters, emails or mailing notices – have you reviewed? Are they in line with your brand? Does the language need to be improved?
  2. Face of the company. The face of the company is not the CEO or President. At a bank it is your tellers, customer service over the phone and a variety of other personnel on the ground interacting with customers. Do they have talking points? Is everyone on the same page when it comes to the brand promise and characteristics?
  3. Out-of-office. If an employee takes a vacation or is sick, how are they communicating their absence? I know, you are shaking your head and telling me I am getting to deep into the weeds. I’m trying to make a point. Your customer service and sales communication channels need to reflect the same message you are communicating through your fancy commercials and billboards.

When you are rolling out brand messaging for your company, you need to look at EVERY communication channel – letters, in-person interaction, automated phone system, out-of-office responses, press release boilerplates…you get my point. Think how your customers interact with your brand on a regular basis.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t send them a fucking letter.

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