Have you ever read communication from a company that has invested in their photography and logo, but the written and verbal communication seems like one pretentious robot wrote it for another pretentious robot to read?
When I experience this, I feel like I’m patronizing a company that does not understand me and doesn’t have a communication strategy that informs how it should be communicating with the people spending time and money with it.
It seems like the company is communicating how they think we want them to sound and not really representing who they are. In reality, they are disconnected from the audience who, by the way, are people rather than robots (no offense, robots).
For the past few years, I have been patronizing more and more direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands because they offer better products without the middleman’s markup and my favorites like Away, M. Gemi and Warby Parker speak my language and share my core values.
I recently stumbled onto Summersalt, a female-led DTC swimwear company. I love it because it’s communication is authentic and clear while treating me like an intelligent consumer.
Summersalt communicates how women speak, understand their values and know what their customers want. There are product benefits like well-designed swimsuits, eco-friendly materials from product to packaging and a better fit through taking more than 1.5 million measurements from 10,000 women. The brand addresses the angst-ridden anxiety that women experience at the thought of trying on swimwear and made the online purchase decision easier by explaining the fit with terms like “boob support” and “butt coverage”. Two things that women want to know, trust me.
Summersalt also features “beach babes”, regular women of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities from all segments of society. The women have relatable stories that are simultaneously inspirational, aspirational and ordinary. I recognize myself in these women, because well, I am human.
In addition to the product benefits and human stories, it should not be taken for granted that the site is very well designed, positioning the swimsuits as well worth the average $90 price tag. Summersalt is winning at their business because it has a great product but also because it communicates intrinsic value to its audience. It makes an emotional connection by not only sharing similar core values but also by doing it in a way that the audience can readily identify with. This is the result of a strong communication strategy and ensuring that the message the brand wants to send is the one that its audience receives.
Customers spend more time and money with brands they like. This creates brand value and equity, leading to increased sales, higher value sales and higher customer lifetime values which translates into more revenue and growth. But don’t just take my word for it. Last year, Summersalt raised $6.1 million in venture capital for a total of $8 million in funding. It recently expanded into intimates, pajamas and travel wear, and is planning to add other product categories.
When a communication strategy is part of the business strategy rather than an add-on, the audience knows it. Communication works in tandem with how the brand looks to provide the customer with meaning which creates a perception of the value of the product or service and what the experience with the brand will be. This is especially important for mid-to-upmarket brands which don’t rely on price as the primary competitive difference.
The next time you fall in love with a brand, take a moment to notice the way it makes you feel. Notice if their message resonates with you and makes you want to buy what they are selling.
That’s good communication and it is good business.
I'm a strategic marketing communication consultant who works with premium brands to tell compelling brand stories, guide perception, drive engagement and build loyalty to win hearts and wallets. Find out more about me at www.royanndean.com, follow me on Twitter @royanndean and Linkedin.