Posted by Chris Ribaudo

I sometimes wonder why destinations and properties use one brand voice on the company website and content marketing and another on their social media pages.

It could be a lack of oversight. Historically, C-level leader’s embrace of social media marketing has been slow. So, a difference between their brand’s voice on their website or their content marketing and their social media pages could be missed. As realignment and evolution of C-level positions take place and more dedicated C-level social media leaders appear, brand voice consistency across channels and digital spaces should theoretically improve.

It could be the gap between the reality and what a destination or property aspires to be. Sometimes destination marketing executives fail to blend the difference between their brand’s present and the preferred future very well. It’s hard for marketing leaders to achieve brand voice alignment when they’re unclear or uncertain about their brand’s identity.

It could be different generational assumptions about what “professional” should look and sound like. Every DMO and property marketing department wants to present a “professional” image to the world. The problem is “professional” often looks, sounds and feels different to different generations. In a post in the Harvard Business Review, Allison Fine does a nice job summarizing these differences and their impact on generational perceptions of “professional.”

Or, it could be the effects of environmental norms. That digital spaces, especially social media ones, tend to use less formal tones is well documented. Within the collective social media ecosystem social norms have developed. One of them is the use of the familiar. As a result, there’s pressure to conform–or not–at your brand’s risk.

These are just a few reasons. Others exist. But whatever the reason, brand voice inconsistency can make your destination or property less competitive and your marketing and sales less productive. How? Here are a few thoughts to consider:

Visitor Unfriendliness

When it comes to communication, context is key. You know what its like to have your words taken out of context. It makes it harder for people to understand you. So it is with brand tone. Your brand tone is the context to your destination’s message or property’s content. It clarifies, gives meaning and promotes customer understanding. If the brand voice in your marketing is inconsistent or keeps changing it makes it harder for visitors to understand you and harder for your team to serve visitors.

Easier Competitor Focus

This point follows from the first. A consistent brand voice makes it easier to retain customer attention on your destination’s offerings. Shifting brand tones can sometimes be unsettling to customer’s experiences and make it easier for them to pass on you and move on. An appealing, consistent brand voice makes your destination hard to ignore.

Lower Customer Trust

Some visitors to a destination won’t think twice about inconsistent brand voice, while others will. To one person it’s nothing and to another, it makes understanding your brand harder and maybe even a reason to doubt or begin to question what your band is about. The problem is that you don’t know which kind of person you are engaging in a digital marketing or sales context. Potentially lowering the customer’s trust isn’t worth it. It’s more productive to have a consistent brand voice, whatever the visitor’s particular touch points.

Hampered Readiness to Act

From a purely sales perspective, inconsistent brand voice can negatively impact conversions and productivity.  A lack of clarity may result in a lack of trust, which can slow or stall visitor readiness to act in favor of your destination or property. Given the competition level in destination marketing, you want to be intentional about your brand having every competitive advantage.

Next Steps

Review the voice and tone of all your messaging and content across all the channels and digital spaces your destination or property is in and ask, “Are we speaking with one voice?”

If not, you may want to make brand voice alignment a high priority.

What should your destination’s brand voice be?

That sounds like another topic for another post.

Chris Ribaudo is a freelance copywriter, digital creative director and principal of Ribaudo, a Chicago area branding and digital marketing communications agency specializing in set apart brands and content for small businesses, marketing agencies and nonprofit organizations.