Creating an original character is a lot like building a brand. Character creation is something that people can spend literal hours and IRL money on. From choosing the perfect tail for your cat girl in the critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV to spending hours developing your character’s backstory for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. A lot of effort goes into ensuring you have the right look, voice, and feel while playing your game of choice. How a brand looks, what they value, how they sound - it’s crucial to approach your “brandsona” from every angle. This is especially true when determining a brand's voice and tone.
Once we have their answers, our marketing culinarians craft the perfect voice and tone recipe for them. Our clients then pack up their customized lembas bread to take with them on their journey. However, as a wise wizard once said, “the road goes ever on and on;” there are peaks and valleys, and over time, the road starts to wear one down. Epic adventures can change a person, or a brand, over time. Outside factors often modify how one wishes to present themselves to their audience.
One of our clients, the Boston Breach, are a perfect example of this. If we were to put the Breach on an alignment chart, their goal voice would be chaotic good. “They’re the rebels that go against the norm but don’t go too hard and ostracize a part of a potential audience,” explains Dylan Samuels, Marketing Manager at AOE. Their chosen voice helps them stand out in the League, and it’s echoed in everything they do. Over time, the Breach have slightly deviated from that voice due to factors outside their control (like team performance).
“The Breach wanted to stray away from the norm initially,” Greg Ibanez, Business Development Manager at AOE, remembers. “They wanted to keep their cool in a League where they were the newest members; never going to start issues, but would shoot back heavy if they had to.”
The Breach came out with a bang and adapted over time as fans became more familiar with the team. Their look and feel have remained true to their initial hardcore image, but over time, the socials team has had to adapt to more standardized memes and relatable content. Not to say that this is a bad thing, as most brands inevitably do this in favor of hopping on social media trends to better relate with audiences.
Social media trends are great; they allow teams to show off their creativity and adaptability (while staying within brand guidelines and approvals from legal overlords). Trends are a fun way to engage with audiences; they show that brands are in on whatever the joke may be, making them more relatable or fun to follow. Some brands even take trends to an extreme level. They shake out whatever lembas bread crumbs remain in their bags before trying something new at whatever tavern they’ve encountered. Brands like Duolingo and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (yes, really) have embraced, for lack of a better term, becoming “unhinged” on main. Their voices are unique to them, and they have trained their audiences to expect the unexpected at this point.
A healthy balance between risk and tradition works well for most brands. Looking for an opportune moment to jump on something often works out better than a complete rebrand, but if one were looking to do so, we know some marketing wizards who would be willing to help you get started on that journey.