Strategies & Tactics

Stephanie Allen on Creating a Brand Voice

February 4, 2019

Name: Stephanie Allen

Current status: Media and Content Editor, Diamond Resorts

Location: Las Vegas

Career highlights: Writing impactful stories for local communities as a daily newspaper reporter in Central Florida; assisting with the rebrand of Diamond Resorts through strategic communications and meaningful content; developing a brand voice for an official LPGA tournament

Favorite downtime activity: Anything outdoors — Vegas has great hiking spots with Red Rock Canyon, Mt. Charleston and Lake Mead nearby.

Any three dinner guests: Queen Elizabeth II, Marie Curie and Abraham Lincoln

Favorite film: I’m a sucker for the “Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic World” movies.

Best place to travel: Traverse City, Mich., during the summer


What are some best practices for creating — and maintaining — your brand voice?

Consistency is key when it comes to your brand voice. Of course, to maintain consistency, you need to recognize what makes your brand unique. You need to identify what elements set you apart. Once you know that, you can ensure those pieces are woven throughout your voice.

My personal brand is relaxed and straightforward, so my voice is conversational. I love contractions and you’ll never see me use a simile — I’m anti-fluff, always. Recognizing that helps when I need to switch to writing in our company’s brand voice, which is a bit more corporate and refined. It’s imperative that I’m aware of those differences so I can successfully write in both voices.


How did your newspaper and reporting background prepare you for your PR career?

You can never plan anything in news and, even if you try, without a doubt, something will happen to ruin it. I spent several years as a breaking news reporter learning to work in chaos, while juggling multiple stories and deadlines.

I learned how to remain calm and still produce concise, accurate work. Those skills have been immensely beneficial in the corporate communications and PR world, as I’m constantly balancing numerous projects and working through fluid situations. When working with media, I have a greater understanding of what reporters want and how they work.


What do you think makes a good story?

A good story provides the reader with an answer to a question or provides useful information in an interesting way. But a great story makes a reader feel something about your topic. It provokes emotion — good or bad — and allows the reader to feel connected to your topic. In most cases, adding a human element will turn an OK story into a good, or even a great, piece.  


How do you find stories within the Diamond Resorts community to share?

Hands down, the best way to find stories is by getting out of the office, meeting people and building relationships with co-workers and consumers. Every time I get the opportunity to travel to one of our resorts or attend a company event, I use it as a chance to talk with our members. More often than not, a little bit of small talk can go a long way. You keep talking and listening and, before you know it, you have plenty of story nuggets.


What has been a major highlight of your career?

At my first newspaper job in Lakeland, Fla., I had the opportunity to partner with the local police department on a nearly yearlong cold-case homicide series. They allowed me unprecedented access to their cases and helped me get in contact with family members of almost every victim. The family members let me into their homes and shared details about the loved ones they lost. It was an incredible experience and truly humbling.

The project not only allowed me to grow as a reporter, but also fostered a previously damaged relationship with the local police and provided the families much-needed hope that their cases may be solved. The most rewarding part came several months after the series finished, when the police made arrests in a couple of the cold cases.


What’s top of mind in the travel and tourism sector right now? Any big trends or things you’re looking forward to in 2019?

Experiential vacations — the trips that are Instagram-worthy and give your friends FOMO — continue to dominate the travel industry. Travelers now want trips that allow them to fully immerse themselves in the local culture and truly get away from everyday life. They also love exclusivity and using social media to showcase their once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

It’s a really exciting time to be part of the travel and tourism industries. Things are changing quickly and there’s a lot of competition, forcing us to get creative with our products and communication strategies, so that we’re meeting these new desires.

Amy Jacques

Amy Jacques is the managing editor of PRSA's publications. A native of Greenville, S.C., she holds a master’s degree in arts journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Georgia’s Grady College and a certificate in magazine and website publishing from New York University.
 

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