Many a tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist has shouted from the rooftops that industries like PR and social media are all about manipulation. We want the public to think and feel a certain way and will do anything to achieve that aim.
Well, don’t tell them, but they’re kind of right! While I wouldn’t call it manipulation, we do spend an awful lot of time crafting messages perfectly so the audience will do what we want – buy our company’s stuff, usually. Getting them to a feel a certain way is part of our branding – Coca-Cola wants you to feel nostalgia during the holidays and think of them, for example.
Want in on this super top-secret-but-not-really action? Here are some tips.
Choose Your Words Carefully
If a certain “feeling” is part of your branding, then everything you write down works towards or against that. Every sentence, press release, social media post, etc. will either help or hinder what your ultimate aim is. This is why you must revisit everything you write to make sure it’s on the same level.
For instance if you want to be like Coca-Cola and make people feel all warm and fuzzy as they pick up a can of Coke, you would want to make sure all your blog posts and other content reflects that. You want imagery that makes people think of their childhoods, the holidays, or any other time that gives them a nice warm feeling all over.
This is all broken if you start posting messages like “Get hype for our new Coca-Cola, son!!!!” on your social media channels. Everything you post is part of your branding, and if one thing is out of line it could be all for nothing.
I don’t doubt you’re able to paint beautiful images with your words, but sometimes a good picture just does that much more. Just like every aspect of your written branding, if an image steps out of line with the emotion you want to convey, it has to go.
Sometimes finding the perfect image to go with, say, a blog post is tough. There are zillions of pictures on the web but nothing seems to work. It’s tempting to just throw one up there and be done with it, but one slip up could ruin all your hard work.
It may be time to throw in the towel and start producing your own images. After all, you wouldn’t catch Coca-Cola using clipart or other nonsense in their branding efforts. They create their own content with painted works or taking their own pictures.
Not an artist? You don’t have to be an award-winning photographer to take a decent picture. There are classes you can take or even basic tutorials online. Heck, even smartphone cameras take high-quality pictures these days. At the very least you can collaborate with a friend who does know how to take pictures to get you started.
With your own images you can convey the exact message and feeling you want every single time. Getting a backlog of these images can also save you hours of searching around various websites looking for the perfect image. Plus, your customers and fans will know they’re getting something unique.
What feeling is your branding effort trying to create? How's it going?