Got Your Story Straight? When Marketing is Telling a Different Story from the Rest of the Company

As Marketers, we spend weeks, months, years perfecting our company story and its messaging. We spend countless hours with our creative teams bringing that message to life through our website, advertising, content, tradeshows, emails, etc. We are on the hook for attracting new customers, getting them engaged and then of course, we want that to turn into revenue. But what happens when all of the messaging that we have orchestrated to attract and engage an audience is not what they hear when they talk to your customer-facing employees? That’s exactly what we set out to understand in a joint study with InnerView called, “Have Your Story Straight? Why Brand Message Dilution Hurts in the Experience Economy.”

Let me tell you about my own experience, as a consumer. Last year I decided I was going to buy a car. It was the first time in a lot of years that I was the only one that I had to think about when buying this car—no brownie troops or soccer teams to carpool, no long commute to consider. So, I choose something that I thought would be fun, looked a bit funky and would make me smile when I got into it—and seemed to be reliable and safe. The website had me hooked and one Saturday morning, I headed to the dealer to buy my car. But when I got there, the salesperson talked and talked and talked, never telling me what I had read and wanted to hear—this is a reliable car that I can drive for a number of years with very little maintenance. Instead, he talked about off-roading—I was NEVER going off-roading. He talked about how easy it would be for me to take off the roof or the doors—I was NEVER doing that either. And he talked about the ‘rougher ride’—he lost me. He delivered all of the wrong messaging for my persona, to put it in marketing speak. And that messaging was not at all aligned to what attracted me to the car in the first place which I had seen on THEIR website.

When we surveyed businesses, we found that only 43% of Marketers felt extremely confident that their story was being told consistently across all customer touch points. It’s not about Marketing’s feelings that get hurt when their hard work isn’t permeating the front-line employees, it’s about the business’s bottom line that suffers. A total of 59% of the respondents agree that their brand story is getting diluted before it reaches the buyer. When asked to quantify the cost of the message dilution, more than a quarter (28%) say the cost is at least $10MM annually, with another 24% estimating $6-$10MM in lost revenue. This makes brand dilution a company-wide challenge.

Conversely, companies that do have a consistent brand story see significant benefits in addition to $10M boost in bottom line:

This certainly made me stand up and take notice. So this week I’m re-launching our brand story internally, with a number of different touch points and activities planned to ensure our company is telling the same story. Want to hear what high performing companies are doing to align their employees? Check out the full study and then let me know what you’re doing differently.

Originally published by Dawn Colossi on the FocusVision website on May 20, 2019


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