Thursday, November 04, 2010

8 steps to document your brand’s persona in a social media style guide

These days, it seems as if brands are transforming so rapidly – often on a whim of based on a social media concept.  So, consider way to adapt the proven tool of “brand style guide” to guide the way the brand socializes in all mediums.  Print. TV. Experiences. And of course, digitally.

In a recent issue of Advertising Age, guest contributor Brian Solis suggested eight steps to reflecting on your brand and laying the foundation for a new, more socially inspired and relevant corporate culture and value system.
  1. Core Values:  The audience, surrounding environment, and the circumstances in which we are summoned contribute to our disposition and character. At the beginning, we need to form a common center of gravity to support the orbiting characteristics that support our mission and purpose. Essentially, we need to specify what we stand for and weave it into all we do.
  2. Brand Pillars:  Pillars are the support objects that serve as the foundation to sustain and fortify the brand. It is these pillars that establish the principal, central themes that convey our uniqueness and value, fortified through the social objects we develop and distribute.
  3. Promise:  The pledge that paves the way to brand meaning and direction is the brand promise. It should answer a simple, yet powerful question: What is our mission and how does it introduce value to those who align with our purpose?
  4. Aspirations:  No brand is an island, nor is it inanimate. As such, the attributes we define today must continually evolve. Our aspirations are representative of the stature and mission we seek today and over time. This is how we compete for the future.
  5. Brand Characteristics:  Defining the brand characteristics will help us establish the traits we wish to associate with the brand represented through our actions, words and overall behavior.
  6. Opportunities:  As we complete this exercise, the identification of the attributes that are not embodied allows us to find a path to greater relevance. It's a combination of who we are and what we offer today and also the opportunities that emerge that allow us to connect to those seeking solutions we had yet to identify.
  7. Culture:  The brand team must examine the culture of the company, not only what it is today, but ultimately how it should embody our aspirations so that it is readily identifiable in social media. People need something they can align with, and it is our culture that serves as the magnet to our purpose and aspirations. We are all in this together. 
  8. Personality:  It is crucial that we contemplate, review and designate the elements that we wish the brand to illustrate and represent. This final step is to identify and bring to life the personality and character of the brand through conversations, social objects and stories. If the brand was a person, how would it appear? How would it sound? How would it interact with others? How would others describe it?
I agree with Brian when he says, “The opportunity to update the brand style guide is so much more than a mere exercise. It renews our sense of purpose. It is a chance to breathe new life into everything we create, where and with whom we share it and how we engage in online societies that contribute to the brand's universal legacy and the brand graph that weaves everything together.”
  • Here are a few elements proposed for a social-media style guide.
  • What the brand represents in the social web
  • Its characteristics
  • Brand personality traits
  • The voice of the brand
  • Attributes and voice necessary at the representative level 
  • Procedures and guidelines for representation, accountability and workflow
  • Metrics for quantifying activity and the intended results
Click here to see the complete article.

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