Our Women’s Day blog celebrated five female entrepreneurs who have created fantastic ventures that are positively impacting the lives of South Africans. BIC South Africa had another idea to commemorate 9 August – one that has turned into an embarrassing episode that has already caused damage to their brand in this country and called into question the values of stationery suppliers everywhere.
Many found BIC’s Women’s Day campaign unacceptable.
What BIC thought was an empowering poster – “Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a boss” – has been labeled as misogynistic, sexist and downright outdated by the droves of people who took to Facebook and Twitter to lambast the pen manufacturer. The office stationery supplier’s blunder even made it into the UK broadsheet The Guardian. Following the complaints, BIC has made a formal apology, although some have found this insufficient. This isn’t the first time BIC has been accused of sexism: in 2012 they release the “For Her” range of pink and purple pens, designed to “Fit a woman’s hand”.
Your social voice conveys more about your brand than you might think.
The stationer’s slip up has illustrated just how important your social voice is for your brand and your business. Companies can no longer hide behind PR departments and customer service centres. Your business is now constantly in the line of fire across social networks – your every word and move can have a long term impact on how your customers perceive you. This is why your social voice needs to be finely crafted, honed and maintained across all platforms if you’re to create a brand that people can engage with and want to keep coming back to.
Your social voice should remain consistent, while your tone needs to be adaptable to unique situations.
Finding your social voice can be challenging, especially as it can often get mixed up with your tone. Your voice should be the personification of your business and brand, describable in a few adjectives: humourous, inspirational, formal or educational. Your tone, however, will vary depending on the situation. If your brand’s voice is humourous and light-hearted, you may need to change the tone to concerned and apologetic if you are dealing with an unhappy customer over Twitter.
Define your social voice, but make sure to do your research beforehand.
Where the challenge comes in is making sure that the staff who interact with yours customers over all your social media channels maintain a consistent voice. The more defined your brand’s personality and voice are, the easier for your customers to get to know you. Start by listing your brand values, the things that make your business unique and the kind of problems your products solve. Then get to know your followers, what their values are and the kind of “language” they speak. All these factors will help you shape your social voice. Once you’ve defined your voice, you can then take to social media and start nurturing those valuable connections.
Closely monitoring your social conversations goes a long way in avoiding a PR disaster.
The key to executing your social voice successfully is consistency. Keep a beady eye on all of your online conversations so that you can nip any in the bud if you see the voice deviating from the norm. The smallest spelling and grammar mistakes can also have a powerful effect on your social voice, so proofread everything before it’s sent out. Lastly, if you feel you’re lost at sea when it comes to social media, it might be worthwhile outsourcing your social media to someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. The cost of outsourcing is insignificant next to the cost to your brand if you get your social voice wrong.
OfficeBox is changing the way stationery suppliers are perceived and heard. If you’re looking to partner with an innovative and vibrant company, contact us today and we can help you with all your office stationery needs.
Image credit: socialnewsdaily.com