Why brands need to be multifaceted

Before the internet, brands used to focus on repetition. They chose a USP, they chose a single tone of voice and visual style, and they built awareness by saying the same thing in the same way over and over again.

The internet changed everything, apart from advertising.

In the age of television and poster, repetition worked. Online, it’s not going so well. The internet presents us all with an infinite amount of fascinating things, from TED talks to baby owls. Viewers evolved. They browse according to their mood, they keep 20 tabs open on their desktop and skim between four apps on a mobile.

Many brands behave as if they’re still on television, repeating the same message, over and over. As it’s worked less, the ads have started shouting louder and louder and louder. Whole-page takeovers. Mobile shells. Other intrusive forms that have driven consumers to install adblockers. 65% of consumers now believe that online marketing is ‘out of control’.

Some brands are as interesting as the Internet

Yet some of the most interesting things we see on the internet are created by brands. What do those brands have in common? They’re multifaceted.

They have a purpose, but they reflect that purpose in many different ways. Nike exists to support the athlete in everybody. Its ‘home space’ is Inspiring, but it actually produces communications right across the FUBI spectrum.

Taco Bell has turned itself around from ‘Taco Hell’ to a social media sensation growing its revenues by $2bn a year. High school and college students love to post their Taco Bell meals on social media. Why? Because Taco Bell speaks to them in all the tones they love. It’s ‘home space’ might be Funny, but its emotional range stretches over Useful, Inspiring and yes, Beautiful.

At the other end of the scale, Movember is a movement that’s run on a shoestring but has the kind of online impact that most CMOs can only dream about. Its ‘home space’ is Inspiring but its range covers everything its audience loves online.

One purpose, many voices

Whatever the size of your brand, one tone of voice is no longer enough. The brands that are as interesting as the internet have a strong sense of purpose, but many ways to communicate that purpose. One –dimensional people are boring. You may be an Olympic athlete but if all you can talk about on a date is your protein shakes, you won’t get a lot of second dates.

Multifaceted personalities are fascinating, we return to them again and again, never quite knowing what to expect. That’s as true of Victoria’s Secret and Movember as it is of people. Find out how to make your brand a multifaceted one.