#RealTalk – Finding your Brand’s Voice in 280 Characters or Less

As the world becomes increasingly complex, so do the conversations brands are finding themselves in across social platforms. This week we welcomed Jamie Michaels, Head of Brand Strategy Canada at Twitter to the IAB Canada Community Uninterrupted stage to present their latest research entitled “#RealTalk: The State of Brand Conversation and What’s Next”. 

This study looks back at 10 years of 5,000 unprompted Tweets about brands to identify distinct shifts and trends in attitudes about how brands behave. These key trends were then surveyed and tested in 8 countries to identify the evolving opinions that people on Twitter have about brand behaviour and what it takes for a brand to achieve real distinction including:

  • Tone: how to create a uniquely ‘ownable’ voice
  • Topics: knowing when your brand has the right to join a conversation and how people on Twitter want you to do it
  • Community: authentically engaging with your most important communities to build brand love

While the findings were abundant, three key themes emerged: 

1. They are on to us 

  • People are savvier than ever. Brands need to be authentic and acknowledge moments of crisis in their communications when they are occurring
  • 6 in 10 people surveyed agree that actively participating in the conversation with brands adds to their enjoyment of using Twitter and 77% said “I don’t mind being sold to on social as long as it’s fun, useful, entertaining, informative and moves me in some way.”

2. People are tired of the sea of same 

  • Consumers are paying attention and notice when you are not the same as every other brand
  • 48% of respondents said that “it’s more important now for brands to support economic, social, political, or cultural issues, even when the issue doesn’t directly impact them vs. a year ago” 
  • Tone is key and brands need to keep it real with 9 in 10 expecting brands to evolve “their tone with the times” and reflect the full diversity of their customers not just one customer type

3. How we evolve

  • Brands who communicate on social issues need it to be more than a single Tweet – show up every day and not just during specific moments. 90% of topics are on the table for a brand to discuss, if correctly addressed.
  • Embrace the tone that authentically represents your brand and be “real”. Chose issues and topics that make sense and not just the ones that are trending, “if you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”

While it might seem like a lot to consider, one thing is for sure and that’s that it’s increasingly important for brands to understand how and when they should be participating in public conversation. The bottom line is that consumers actually do want to hear from you. They need you to be authentic and to show your commitment to social issues over the long haul – not just in the moment. You can download the full study here.