How to send a better message in the new year
10 Minute Read
As the year draws to a close, many brand managers and their teams are brainstorming how to be even more appealing to their desired demographic in the year ahead. And based on the multitudes of pitches I’ve received so far in my guise as a journalist, a common theme is to be more kind, or at least that’s the impression these brands would like to give.
But how many brands are actually committed to kindness beyond the claims of kindness? More than that, why is it so important to be perceived as a brand with a conscience?
Customers expect more of the brands they support
In 2020, New York-based Zeno Group commissioned a global study of 8,000 consumers to uncover the main reason for brand loyalty. After evaluating over 75 brands, it was discovered that “global consumers are four to six times more likely to trust, buy, champion and protect those companies with a strong purpose over those with a weaker one.”
In other words, consumers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Singapore, and Malaysia were all prepared to support and even defend companies they believed had what might be described as a higher purpose or a commitment to both commerce and giving back in some way. This would explain why so many brands are rushing to share their commitment to the planet or local charities. But are they all as good as they claim to be?
Your customers want you to be better
Your customers want to support your best efforts. And whether or not you realize it, they really can tell if your brand is just talking the talk with feel-good messaging.
Though we may not be able to define it, we know when something feels inauthentic or forced. And in a time when groups on social media ostracize individuals or brands with unpopular opinions, authentic kindness seems like a vanishing art. In fact, there’s even an expression for faux goodness — virtue signaling.
Merriam-Webster defines virtue signaling as “the act or practice of conspicuously displaying one’s awareness of and attentiveness to political issues, matters of social and racial justice, etc., especially instead of taking effective action.” And therein lies the rub: finding a way to reinforce the upbeat or positive messaging of your brand and prove its veracity.
Back in the day, proving your brand’s trustworthiness and dependability used to be the biggest challenge for any brand. But as brands became more accessible online and through social media, people came to find ways to interact with brands beyond a purchase. And with so many brands to choose from, savvy consumers also want to support companies committed to making the world a better place in some way. And so brands have to find ways to offer additional reasons to support them, their mission, and their products.
So, what are some ways for your brand and business to build your authenticity factor? In this case, smaller businesses might just have an edge over their mega-corporation competitors. “A big part of it is that there’s a huge difference when it’s a large company like Apple saying they’re doing something, versus a startup or any founder-led business,” said Marilyn Yang, Co-Founder and CEO of Fun-Gal Snacks, the parent company behind Popadelics , a crunchy mushroom snack.
As if illustrating her own point, Yang’s brand Popadelics seems like a (vegan superfood!) snack only a brash young company could produce. The bold packaging and slightly shocking copy let you know this isn’t another huge company produced product. Or as Yang said “With a large company, there’s this connotation that it’s a committee of people choosing to do something, and they could have ulterior motives, but certain things just seem more genuine when you know they’re coming from the founder him or herself.”
Some current challenges for brands:
- Creating and maintaining a strong brand ethos that resonates with customers
- Finding ways to convey not only the superiority of products or services but the authenticity of your claims.
- Monitoring your messaging, reach, and demographics’ likes or dislikes
Why is it important to send a better message in the year ahead?
A new year brings with it all kinds of opportunities. If you’ve delighted and amazed your customers in the past year, great! Kudos to you. But now you have to build on that.
And if you missed opportunities or had some bad moments, a great way to repair your relationship with your best buyers is to remind them of the best parts of your business. The things that set you apart and elevates you from the corporate crowd. The ways that you’re not only better than the competition but are committed to doing better as well.
Everyone talks about being more kind — and some brands like Kind Healthy Snacks actually made it their brand name and message — but how many brands or people live up to that claim?
We’d like to think that as a company with the brand name Cordial, we live up to the hype as well. But in the true spirit of kindness, we’d also like to highlight some brands we think are inspirational in terms of excellent messaging and service.
Beyond only good vibes
Before you craft your own messaging for the new year, have a read through these incredibly inspirational brands. You might just find some inspiration for your own positive messaging and initiatives.
- Use your powers for good: The International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) produces research that contributes to safe plumbing codes and product testing. Not that glamorous, but they are inspirational. The IAPMO foundation tackles water and sanitation issues globally, as well as here in the U.S. They also create solutions for areas without plumbing systems like handwashing stations for the Navajo Nation, and fix long-standing wastewater disposal issues in Alabama. They do extensive advocacy around environmental equity working with the EPA and other NGOs. IAPMO found a way to use their research for the good of others on a daily basis.
- Share whenever possible: Learning Resources is a company that creates fun educational toys for kids of all ages and their tagline is “Give the gift of learning.” And they really do. The company has a great BOGO (Buy One, Give One) campaign. For every toy purchased an educational toy is donated to a family in need. As of the writing of this article, they will have donated more than $1 million in educational toys throughout 2022 to help instill a love of learning in children around the world.
- Live by your mission: Goddess Garden Organics is focused on two guiding principles: helping the planet and helping people safely enjoy the great outdoors. Goddess Garden CEO Nova Covington and husband Paul Halter developed safe skincare solutions after their baby daughter was allergic to the chemicals found in traditional bath and cosmetic products. They currently create effective reef-safe products that utilize sustainably sourced materials. Covington also recently started a nonprofit ocean preservation foundation, Protect Our Mother, to preserve oceans and restore habitat.
- Help where it matters most: While some brands prefer to give back locally, others find ways to make their gifts matter even more. GlassesUSA partnered with the National School Boards Association (NSBA), the leading advocate for public education, to provide free prescription eyeglasses to children in need across America. The program kicked off in Saint Mary’s, Alaska, which is one of the most remote cities in the country and has no eye doctor in the community. In a cute twist, the company partnered with the Miss America Organization, and a trio of glasses-wearing beauty queens including Emma Broyles, Miss America 2022/Miss Alaska 2021 and Jessica Reisinger, Miss Alaska 2022, helped the children choose new glasses.
How to make your own brand message stand out:
- Be genuine. Your customers know when you’re faking it.
- Be visible. It’s difficult to trust or connect with a brand that feels murky or mysterious.
- Practice what you preach. And while you’re at it, make sure to align your brand with spokespeople or celebrities who live your mission as well.
- Be fun. It’s okay not to try to change the world. Having a product or message that makes people happy is something to be proud of!
Five mantras to follow when striving for better
Whenever possible, try to send a better message — not just another message. So put yourself in the mindset and space of your customer. Here are five important mantras to consider whenever you’re crafting messaging for your brand. Follow the links to listen to curated inspirational talks for each:
- Show empathy. Feel with people and listen.
- Elevate language. Think about how you think.
- Energize design. Keep in mind what makes us human.
- Innovate experience. Practice, test, and learn.
- Inspire action. Start with why — always.
And find more inspiration for the new year on Cordial
- 10 Clio Award-winning brands winning with a better message — See how Clio Award-winning brands send an authentic message through empathy, language, design, experience, and action.
- How brands win awards, hearts, and change with customer data — We share 10 examples of brands achieving outstanding campaigns and change by tapping into their customers’ data and interactions.
- How to embrace kindness in your brand messaging — Get tips on kinder marketing with brand examples of kindness in messaging and best practice for building kindness in your process.
- How to evolve relationship marketing and better customer retention — Level up your relationship marketing and customer retention to increase revenue, with top stats and examples from leading brands.
- 5 trends that will impact the future of mobile apps for brands — Prepare your messaging for the future of mobile by tapping into the biggest trends that will impact all marketers in the coming decade.
- Intro to growth marketing in the age of personalization — Ditch growth hacking and turn your focus to tried-and-true methods, top stats, and 30 of the most effective campaign types to accelerate engagement and revenue.
- How to personalize your lifecycle marketing — Get tips on targeting each stage of the customer lifecycle with personalized messages designed to draw customers through their journey.
- How to align consumer messaging with your brand vision — Knowing your brand’s vision and mission statement is critical to creating an effective messaging strategy across all marketing channels. Here’s how to get started.
- Empathy for the holidays: why personalization matters — No matter the time of year, learn how to benefit from letting customers opt-out of certain holiday promotions — in ways that actually increase engagement and customer retention.
- How to improve your cross-channel marketing strategy in 2023 — Consider the best steps to improve your cross-channel marketing strategy and connect with customers more seamlessly — whenever, wherever.
Elevate your message with personalization
You brand’s message may start with your intent, but delivering on your promise requires getting to know each of your customers and following through with a better, more personal experience. With Cordial, your brand can leverage real-time personalization at scale to send a better message to each of your customers via multiple channels. Learn more from our team today.
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