In a digital world where consumers expect businesses to be transparent about who they are and what they stand for, companies that send mixed messages make it difficult for consumers to connect with their brands.

Even though every brand has a purpose, not all brands know how to effectively communicate their vision, voice and values to consumers. This is compounded by the fact that most marketers manage more than one social network and simply don’t have the time or resources to create a cohesive brand experience for target audiences across all digital channels.

However, businesses that don’t take the time out to define their brand message, risk confusing their fans and followers on social media. While brand content doesn’t have to be identical across social platforms, a brand’s value proposition can’t change and must be consistently communicated to consumers.

Regrettably, inconsistent messaging on social media is often the result of marketers trying to imitate the success of the top brands they admire. While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, copying another brand’s voice, tone or look and feel isn’t the best strategy because it comes off as being inauthentic and may even clash with a brand’s existing value system.

All too often, brands desperate to build a larger following will change the way to communicate with audiences on their social media channels and owned digital properties. However, many marketers tend to forget that one brand’s communication strategy may not always work for another.

Social media has drastically changed the way brands communicate with consumers. Brands that want to compete have learned to adapt their content for multiple short- and long-form social publishing platforms. While their messaging tends to vary (especially with regard to length) based on where brand content is being posted, smart marketers know that a brand’s overall personality must be consistent.

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Even though it’s a good idea to adjust and optimize messaging for specific content channels, mimicking the voice and tone of a brand with vastly different values can be a death sentence for an aspiring brand. How one top brand communicates with its Gen Z following on Instagram may not be the right approach for another brand trying to appeal to female consumers on Facebook, which is why brands that attempt to communicate their values to consumers in borrowed voices are in grave danger of losing the qualities that set them apart in the first place.

Some marketers even go so far as to experiment with different brand identities on each one of their social channels. Unfortunately for them, this “let’s see what works and what doesn’t” mindset can result in long-term problems for their brands. While this approach may provide marketers with insights into the type of content that resonates with broader target audiences, it also risks confusing their core brand messaging and values.

Too often, brands that don’t have clearly established identities will choose to inject other brands’ personalities into their own messaging without realizing that their adoptive identities are in conflict with their existing value systems. As a result, this type of copycat behavior leads to fragmented identities and inconsistent messaging that alienate consumers from the brands they love by breaching their trust.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.