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The A/BCs of Crafting a Brand Voice

The A/BCs of Crafting a Brand Voice
Posted in Brand Comments

"You can study and read about stand-up [comedy], but a lot of it, you have to learn from trial and error.” – Jim Gaffigan

Anyone that has spent more than 15 minutes with me knows that I’m constantly absorbing the world around me. Granted, sometimes it’s more a curse than a blessing but, whether I like it or not, my mind is always on, collecting sights and sounds that I often repurpose for other uses.

A recent example is the few minutes I recently spent listening to A Comic Mind With Jeff Foxworthy on Sirius XM. Believe it or not, what started as drivetime comic relief quickly evolved into a deep mental dive about what casinos need to keep in mind to improve their digital marketing messaging. Is my thought process sometimes a bit on the convoluted side? Yes indeed. But do I usually have a sound point to make? Affirmative.

Anyway, follow me along my mental highways and byways as we take a look at casino digital marketing, the importance of A/B testing a message , and the need to create and foster a unique voice in the gaming industry. Remember, when everything looks and sounds the same, nothing sticks out and engages the audience. Be bold, be different, and don’t be afraid to venture down the road less traveled.

The Genesis of a Fantastic Metaphor

“I used to say when we were doing the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, that if I told Larry [The Cable Guy]’s jokes, nobody would laugh.” – Jeff Foxworthy

Getting back to Mr. Foxworthy, the particular episode that launched these thoughts focused on the journey many comics take while developing their voice. Until they find their proverbial sea legs, many comics readily borrow -- if not outright steal -- from past greats like George Carlin and Richard Pryor. The problem with such a dynamic, of course, is uniformity in tone and content, where voices blend into one another and perpetually lack distinction. The comics that find true greatness and rise above the deafening background noise are those that find their own way and develop a unique perspective and delivery.

It doesn’t require any mental gymnastics to see how successful, singular comics provide a valuable example for casinos and their social media voice. In comedy, even the rarest of talents like Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks don’t hit the stage fully formed and ready for greatness. Instead, they evolve over time, taking deliberate and consistent steps forward until their voice is distinctive and original. As casinos develop a memorable brand, the most effective messaging follows a similar course, emerging with time and effort to let their voice rise above the rest, engage the audience, create enduring bonds that form relationships with that audience, and positively impact the bottom line.

Practice Makes Perfect

“Most of my comedy writing happens through improvisation on stage; doing it in the moment. Going up with an idea and fleshing it out over time on stage and in front of people until it becomes a full bit.” – Marc Maron

Aside from the need to evolve, one of the other insights from that episode of A Comic Mind was the need to test new material on stage. Most comics place a great deal of value on the ability to almost immediately test new material in front of an audience rather than sitting on it for long periods. That way, they can receive feedback while the seeds of the new bit are still fresh, continually hone it, and perfect it with repetition.

Casinos have the same opportunity by A/B testing their digital marketing strategy. With continued iterations, voices emerge from the faceless masses to become market leaders rather than also-rans. From a more granular perspective, even single social media posts can adopt a similar approach, gauging impact versus a more traditional, old-fashioned mailing by tracking any resulting phone calls for reservations or coupon redemptions that may take weeks to receive. Given the cost efficiency, convenience, and customizable nature of social media marketing, a casino can continue to refine its voice and content to maximize effect, leveraging the many benefits digital marketing affords.

Pivot As Needed

“Doing stand-up comedy is in the middle of a traffic jam getting everybody moving again.” — Jon Stewart

Always keep in mind, however, that A/B testing only gets you so far if you lack the agility to make those ever-important pivots in direction and tone as the testing dictates. Once again, think of the comic that anxiously awaits the opportunity to try new material in front of an audience. No matter how funny that comic thought the bit was, it will still need reworking if it falls flat with the audience. Likewise, if a particular bit that usually has the crowd rolling in the aisles is, for whatever reason, failing to tickle a funny bone on a given night, the best comics adapt on the fly to connect with the audience from a different angle.

Marketers need to have that same sense of agility to continually adapt to the audience. Thankfully, given this vast multi-channel marketing world, brands aren't lacking for alternatives if they need to change content such as imagery, word phrasing, tone, or delivery of their message. The trick, of course, is recognizing the need to make needed changes and the fortitude to proceed.

Be flexible in your approach and craft messages that work for the channels your target audience frequents and, just as importantly, don't expect them to adhere to your meticulously-planned campaigns if their affinities and preferences weren't taken into account in the first place. There's far too much marketing noise in the modern, digital world for the audience to find your needle in an endless haystack of messaging without a honed, guided approach to help them find you.

The point is, practice makes perfect for digital marketing in the casino industry. Like comics, no casino is going to hit the ground running with an ideal strategy but, with a little perseverance and expert guidance, can craft a digital message that targets the right audience, engages them, builds lasting relationships, and drives traffic to the casino floor. Like Rome or a famous comic, a brilliant digital marketing strategy isn’t built in a day. Get better every moment by testing your approach, don’t be timid and resort to the status quo, and maintain an open mind that never stops learning.

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