If your branding works, it won’t even feel like branding, the same thing with marketing. It should feel natural. When people think of branding, they often think of colors, logo design, and company slogans, things that define your brand as its own entity. But when doing that, many marketers often overlook an important aspect of it: brand voice.
What Is Brand Voice?
Brand voice is the personality a brand has in its communications. It’s how the brand defines itself through written and verbal content and communications on social media, its website, and all forms of communications. Imagine you’re talking with your friend, and they are inspiring you to do something with an uplifting tone that makes you feel like you can do anything. They’re encouraging, supportive, and words flow easily and feel kind and easy-going. That’s the voice. The way you tell your story, the positive messages you post on social media, everything you communicate is put into a brand’s voice. But how does one define their own voice, and why is this even important? Let’s dive into that.
Why does this all matter?
You may just assume that you as a company can just write whatever you want on social media. Your boss, the social media manager, and the salesperson all have access to post. They can write whatever they need to post, and it just works, right? Sure! For some brands and businesses, it can be easy for different people to just make posts and communicate without the need for a defined brand voice, but for most, this solution won’t be feasible.
The digital landscape is very cluttered. With the inclusion of social media in marketing efforts, brand voice has become more important than ever to stand out from the crowd of digital chatter. Setting yourself apart from the crowd on social media and other platforms is vital for any marketing effort. Having a unique voice for your brand will help define who you are and how you communicate, thus giving your brand individuality.
The content you create for social media and websites isn’t just graphics and photos; it will almost always include words or dialogue of some sort. Having everything you put out be cohesive with the same message is important for follower retention and understanding. If people see blogs you write in the same tone, they are more likely to read them than ones that aren’t similar, as they’ll feel disconnected and out of place.
Steps to develop a voice
- Reflect on your current voice and communications
- To understand how to create your voice, you must first look at your current communications. Look at what you are currently doing in your writing and posting to be different from your competition. Dive into the tone of your blogs and website text, figure out who you are as a brand that makes you special and unique; capitalize on that. If you are unhappy with your currency voice or it doesn’t seem to stand out then look at your competition, figure out what they are doing that’s special and make yours better than theirs. Alternatively you can look at big brands to see what they are doing to stand out, lots of large companies can provide great examples of strong brand voices such as Nike, Patagonia, and Apple.
- Understand your audience
- The biggest piece to developing a brand voice is knowing your audience. What are they looking for from your business? If they are looking for a thought leader, be inspiring and confident. If they are looking for a supporter, then be comforting and uplifting. Knowing your audience and what you can do to benefit them will help you define your voice to better suit them. Another reason you should understand your audience is you need to know who you’re writing to. Are your followers all college students? Entrepreneurs? Fortune 500 CEOs? This is important as your voice will change based on your target audience to fit their needs and level of knowledge.
- Be consistent and keep it simple
- Having one person or a small group of people be the voice for your company’s communications can help to mitigate the differences in your communications. Still, if you have a large team creating articles and social media posts, this can be more challenging. One thing you can do to help is have a singular editor or small team that goes through everything to check for consistency. This ensures the voice and tone are the same for everything going out. If not, having a brand guide with voice and tone rules can be an essential tool for content creators and marketers. Being consistent is only one piece of the puzzle; however, the second is just keeping it simple. Don’t overcomplicate what you can and can’t do. Think of it as a person and make it natural.
- Imagine your brand as a person
- When developing your brand voice, a great idea is to think of it as a person. Figure out how they would talk in a regular conversation to someone and decide what kinds of things they may say. Figure out their personality and how they feel about certain topics. Determine their ‘age’ and level of experience in the field you are in. Maybe decide what things they know about, what kind of knowledge they have and how they want to share it best. Most of all, don’t make this person boring. Make it someone you would want to talk to and learn from. If you think about your brand as a person, creating a voice for them feels much more natural and way less complex.
- Be yourself and be unique
- Just like the last two points said, don’t be something you’re not. Don’t create this persona of something that you can actually live up to. Be honest and open with yourself about what you can actually achieve within your skillset. Be who you are in a professional sense but realize it doesn’t always have to be serious. Have fun with it. Be honest to your brand and what they stand for. Second to that is to be unique. There is a lot of chatter and noise on the internet; communication is happening all of the time. You have to ask yourself how your posts and communications can stand out from the crowd. If you are just saying the same thing as everyone else, it will get lost in the clutter, but people will listen if you have something special to say.
- Understand Your “Why” Statement
- The most significant part of developing your brand voice is understanding your why statement. Your why comes from your purpose statement. Think about why you are a business owner and why you went into business. Figure out the reason you care about solving the problem you set out to solve and why that matters. These things will help develop your voice. It will give you reasoning and purpose behind your communications.
Having a strong voice for your brand will help you connect with your community and strengthen your marketing reach and make you sound well put together as a company. Establishing a brand voice can be tricky, but the biggest thing to remember is to make it natural. Don’t overcomplicate it. Be fun, be yourself, and be unique. It’s your brand, so make it your own and run with it.