‘Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic’.
The often-forgotten importance of effective business communication.
‘Why are you quoting the Harry Potter books?’. ‘Have these people not grown up yet?’. ‘You realise magic isn’t real, right’?
Yes, we are quoting Harry Potter – wand-waving extraordinaire Albus Dumbledore to be precise. And, yes, we do realise that magic isn’t real. But Dumbledore (or perhaps more aptly J.K Rowling) has a point.
Branding and the wizarding world are not two entities that you’d usually find together in one sentence. Although branding will encompass most things to do with affecting how people feel about a particular business or organisation, it’s still seen as being a mostly visual industry. Yet it is both visual design and the accompanying copy that, working in tandem, create a spellbinding brand.
‘Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room’ – Jeff Bezos
However, effective business communication isn’t necessarily using ‘words’ in the traditional sense (i.e., writing), but rather the way in which we portray certain messages to our clients or consumers and how businesses communicate with each other in a more formal sense (what is known as B2B communication). Words are a big part of this, but as you’ll find out, they don’t work on their own.
Ultimately, we need to understand what ‘good communication’ is. The thing is, not all business situations require the same type of communication. At Bridge Studio, we help your brand understand the tone it needs to portray to engage with your target sector. As a Brand and User Experience agency, we understand people.
How does business communication work in a B2C (business to consumer) environment?
Value propositions are all around us. From every trip to your local shopping centre, every cheeky reroute to the McDonald’s drive-through, that mailing list that you accidentally signed up to six years ago and even those often difficult to navigate insurance websites, we are constantly surrounded by value propositions.
But what actually is a value proposition? Essentially, it’s a statement that tells a consumer why they should buy, use, or invest in a particular product or service. Value propositions should not be mistaken for slogans, although they often look alike. Take Uber, for example. In 2020, the company used the strapline ‘your day belongs to you’ on their website.
By doing this, Uber was implicitly telling the consumer that their service removed the frustration of travel due to the simplicity of getting an Uber. And they were also echoing popular sentiment – how many times have you been out and heard a friend say ‘I’m just going to call an Uber’? Simple, right?
That’s the point. The consumer’s action mirrors the sentiment of the value proposition, and it proves why business need clear, often simple messaging to connect with the consumer.
Business communication, at least in terms of B2C communication, should always put the consumer first. Benefit-based value propositions shout ‘for you’ and turn what is essentially money making into something that doesn’t scream ‘give us your money’.
Whilst every business should seek to establish strong ties with their clients, B2C business communication arguably differs from B2B communication in terms of the ‘immediacy’ their messaging portrays. For example, Microsoft or Ford sell products that people don’t tend to buy very often, therefore they need to ‘wow’ their customers once to sell a single product. The product itself will then dictate whether customer loyalty is established. And customer loyalty is something earnt through masterful messaging.
However, a small business such as a café, will need to establish such brand loyalty by creating relationships with their messaging. They need to sell a lot of coffee to reach the sale of one laptop, therefore they need their customers to keep coming back. In both situations, brand loyalty is desirable, but one business encourages this mainly through its practical product and the other through the atmosphere of its business. As such, they need different styles of B2C business communication. Formats and wording may vary, but at the heart of it, the reasons for sending out a distinct set of messages are very similar.
B2B business communication should aim to establish and foster long-term relationships with ‘partners’ rather than ‘clients’.
The corporate world is all about connections. Often, who you know is more useful than what you know – for better or for worse. This means that business communication needs to be adapted in a B2B context. The messages our brands send out will be different between CEO and CEO than between Sales and Customers.
Therefore, our ‘messaging’ – the brand values and personality that we portray – will need to incorporate different words. In branding, the small things matter, but it is often easier to work at scale than on a smaller level.
Think about driving a car. It’s easier to drive at high speeds or with cruise control, but at lower speeds, your clutch control needs to be better, gear changes more frequent, and generally you need to have more precise control. A similar principle applies to business communication in branding – precision is needed because different words mean different things to different people.
However, it’s important to stress that it’s worth the detail. The result thar excellent business communication brings will only ever benefit your business. Because, when done correctly, appropriate messaging brings and retains customers, and therefore revenue.
It’s also worth considering the issue of objections. Anybody who has ever run a business will have come across the familiar ‘serial complainant’, but there are times where things simply do go wrong, and you will need to handle complaints. By identifying common objections and developing targeted responses, you’ll have a much better chance of retaining customers.
But do words work on their own? What other aspects of branding come into play to create effective business communication?
In branding, things never work alone. At Bridge Studios, we understand the need for clarity and direction in your branding and messaging. Business communication, and communication in general, will break down where people, or indeed different aspects of your brand, are not on the same page.
We have targeted experience working with NGOs, tech start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses looking to climb the business ladder. In each case, messaging is key. The aura and ideals that an NGO portrays should be designed to spark emotion. Small to medium-sized businesses seeking growth must differentiate themselves from the market by making their feature – benefit – value framework clear. Tech isn’t a straightforward industry, so we have to make complex things easier.
With business communication, we can end up with loose ends - times where you simply feel like shouting ‘how do I get my message to stick?’. But creativity always flows together, so don’t wait to level up. Workshop with us and discover how to successfully portray your values today.
Written by Sam Hudspith - Bridge Studio content writer