Articles

One voice to rule them all

SHORT READ

The new FanExpo visual identity launched in 2020, reflecting the scale, energy and quality of the events. It brought together different events under a unifying graphic system, creating consistency and coherence.

 

But one thing that the new identity revealed was the need for a consistent brand language.  

 

After the new identity was launched, it became obvious that the verbal simply wasn’t matching the visual — either at the events or online. And when you’re talking to an audience of thousands of hyper-engaged super fans, what you say is as important as what you look like.

 

 

Or to put it another way, we know that  both these are saying the same thing, one of them sounds…well, kinda off.

 

Valerie Cisneros and her team reached out with a simple brief: “we want to make our communications more fun.” 

Behind this was the desire for FanExpo to define a tone of voice that could translate the excitement of the live events into messaging across the board — further reinforcing the connection that fans feel with the brand.

 

 

Initial workshops were the opportunity for the team to share what they felt was working… and where the brand needed a little TLC. We also asked them for the brands that they loved and why. As self-confessed fans themselves — understanding what made other entertainment brands resonate with them gave us valuable insights into how to embed a resonant tone of voice.

Our audit of other fan-focussed events revealed an unexpected example of best practice — RuPaul’s DragCon. The voice it uses is perfectly aligned with its audience. They’re slaying it.

 

 

Communicating authenticity and showing how you’re actively part of a community came to be a key theme. 

Our next challenge was to refine our insights and recommendations into three principles that would make it easy for any marketing or comms team to follow. We defined these as Bright, Warm and Geeky. 

 

In keeping with FanExpo’s brand we showed three characters who epitomised each of these principles; Olaf, Hagrid and Sheldon.

 

Having a series of principles alone isn’t enough. There needs to be practical examples of how to bring it to life. Our copywriter Simon defined easy to follow techniques that showed FanExpo’s principles in action; e.g.one of the ‘Bright’ techniques shows the power of using verbs rather than abstract nouns.

 

Once the project team was happy with the new brand voice it was time to present to the wider team. And what better opportunity than at the FanExpo Summit at MegaCon Orlando? Simon and our lead creative Alice flew out to present the new tone of voice, and to identify opportunities to improve onsite messaging at the events.

 

 

The new tone of voice was incredibly well received, and ensures that the team has all the tools to deliver messaging that captures the excitement and fun of the events. This will in turn make the FanExpo brand even stronger.

 

But that’s not the end of the journey. There’ll be training and tone of voice clinics to ensure that the team are getting the most from the new principles.

 

Because even superheroes need practice.