brand-properties

MailChimp Sends Emails
and Makes You Laugh

Case Study

MailChimp provides email marketing capabilities to businesses of all shapes and sizes, from start-up companies to Fortune 500 enterprises. While the email marketing industry is traditionally less than thrilling, MailChimp doesn’t seem to care.

The self-proclaimed “self-funded, self-motivated” company has built and continues to support its quirky brand identity through consistent brand messaging. All copy – from guides to blogs to failure messages – is written with an attention to the brand’s personality, voice, and tone. The company is so committed to the integrity of the MailChimp brand that it has compiled both a style guide and a companion website, “Voice & Tone,” for their employees to learn from and reference.

According to MailChimp’s style guide, the brand’s unofficial tagline is “love what you do.” This sentiment, the guide emphasizes, should come through in every piece of content the brand produces.

MailChimp’s personality could be described as delightful, knowledgeable, helpful, and slightly mischievous. This personality creates a consistent voice that, as the style guide notes, is fun but not childish; clever but not silly; confident but not cocky; smart but not stodgy; cool but not alienating; informal but not sloppy; helpful but not overbearing; expert but not bossy; weird but not inappropriate.

The company’s brand voice never changes, but, as MailChimp explains on its Voice & Tone website, its tone will adapt to the situation. The brand won’t speak the same way to a customer whose email campaign isn’t working properly as it will to a person looking to learn how to use MailChimp’s product for the first time.

*I’d love to see the paragraphs highlighted in blue spiced up, given emphasis with some design elements.

Voice, Tone, and Message

Think about it: each of us has a defined personality which informs our voice, or how we generally talk to people. While our voice is usually consistent, our tone, or the delivery of our message, changes given who we are speaking to and the context. We use a casual, excited tone when talking to our best friend on the phone about our weekend, and instead use a professional and informative tone when speaking to our boss regarding a presentation.

This difference between voice and tone is vital, and MailChimp gets that. Spend some time exploring the brand’s Voice & Tone website, where MailChimp demonstrates how to infer users’ feelings based on the context and content of what they’re saying, and offers tips on how to adjust ones tone and message to cater to them.

Beyond voice and tone, MailChimp is all about style, providing detailed guidelines on topics ranging from what to capitalize and how to write for its blog to the role Freddie Von Chimpenheimer IV plays in personifying the brand.

MailChimp assures its employees that these are not hard and fast rules (except for the admonition to NOT speak in the voice of Freddie or any other chimp).

While most of its users and followers wouldn’t necessarily catch a missing comma or incorrect Freddie reference, MailChimp’s style guidelines create a consistent brand message which, in turn, creates a recognizable brand identity.

Questions

  • How would you define your brand’s personality, voice, and tone?
  • What resources are available to communicate this information internally to employees, and externally to the greater world?
  • Does all your brand messaging, external and internal-facing, stay true to your brand personality, voice, and tone? If not, what changes can you make in order to ensure consistency in your brand messaging?
DIGITAL MARKETING RESOURCE CENTER