”Change as the only constant” is felt keenly in the world of marketing communications. Each of the industries served by ours has its own specific impacts and needs—for reinvention or reinforcement, refresh or overhaul—as updated or enhanced product and service cycles continually need communicating to audience.”

Parallel to this there are messaging implications for each sector, as they work to absorb the reverse ripples of shifting customer needs—microtrends erupt, tastes change, popularities come in waves and go in weeks—and you must adjust to ensure that your business isn’t stranded by an unexpected turn in customer tide.

What is One Voice and who’s going to listen?
At face value, the idea of One Voice is as simple as it looks: make sure every outward-facing message is consistent with an agreed tone, content and style, all of which have their origins (and are ultimately in line with) the corporate vision. This, of course is the point where many companies scramble to their own website to check if they have a vision, and (hopefully) realise that yes, finally there’s a reason why they went through all that decision-by-committee turmoil to agree on one.

Simply put, you must adjust your messaging, and smartly: responding, rather than reacting. The pressure of holding on to a wider customer interface with multiple channels has driven many companies to employ channel-specific agents, in-house or external, to handle the multiple streams. But at what cost?

Hitting the messaging mark
The careful management of often variable or seemingly conflicting messages is vital if companies are to prevent confusion among audiences. “Message” can be anything from a tweet to a brochure, a Facebook post or TikTok clip, incidentally, covering everything online and off. Like it or not, every piece of communication has to convey and preserve a broader context, to ensure a consistent brand image, vision and offer. This is where a One Voice approach is a vital tool, applicable across the growing multitude of channels, as Barry Reading, DGE’s CEO, explained recently.

We’ve got one voice. And we know how to make it heard

Communications Chameleon or One-Voice Choir?

But then what? If it’s as deceptively simple as this, why isn’t everyone on board?

“Because the people handed these roles are individuals,” says Barry Reading, “with their own ideas of how things should be: things turn out uneven and human because we’re not at a stage where AI bots are able to handle corporate messaging.”

So, the disparity and inconsistency we’re seeing within brands is just… personality? “In a sense, yes,” says Barry. “Consider the not-uncommon situation of a young graduate or messaging disruptor, someone new to the company, brought in to shake things up while keeping things together, which is something happening in B2B as much as B2C lately. They come in with the best intentions and the latest in theory, determined to make their mark by trying something fresh or new or innovative or just interesting; they misinterpret the brand, deciding what it should be instead of how it is. And the company ends up with a message or flyer or brochure or campaign or post that’s at best confusing and at worst, unrecognisable as coming from the brand that paid them that juicy joining bonus. It isn’t a case of just ‘letting the grown-ups handle things’ either, it’s not necessarily just the age or even the role of the people who miss the messaging mark. There can be multiple reasons, though inexperience, a lack of context and understanding, and a lack of time and insight are generally the major culprits.”

Let the grown-ups handle this
So, how does a One-Voice approach actually work? What’s the tl;dr on this? “You find your voice, you educate your people, set guidelines in tone and style and form and you apply this to every medium, every channel, in every region, at every level,” says Barry. Sounds like a big ask, especially for the uninitiated or time-limited—isn’t there an easier option? “Well, you can learn this approach from scratch of course,” says Barry, “but there are people who have been working with this methodology for – how long have we been here? – for decades. We can help set it up, establish the structure and put tools in place, set the guidelines and guard rails, keeping communication in line and the company’s messaging consistent.”

“The One Voice approach takes integrated marketing communications and unifies it, adding the newer digital to the more traditional channels to create a bank of tools and resources for departments, business or product lines.”

Making yourself heard
So, it’s a sales thing then, like a CVI or brand guidebook? “Not at all,” says Barry. “The One Voice approach takes integrated marketing communications and unifies it, adding the newer digital to the more traditional channels to create a bank of tools and resources for departments, business or product lines, even countries. We find with our own clients that it saves a lot of time and uncertainty from second-guessing what’s appropriate or acceptable when it comes to the way the company expresses itself externally. The reports we hear now are — from those new channels especially — “We’ve got one voice. And we know how to make it heard.”

Let’s Work Together

Tell Us More About Your Project

We have all the experience, people, resources and expertise to help you in ways no other agency can.
For more information, get in touch directly.