What is Brand Voice?
Brand voice is the selection of words, attitudes, and values of a brand. This is the way that companies convey their personality to their ideal audience. In order to be a strong and memorable presence, brands must craft a distinctive brand voice that they use across platforms and while engaging with potential customers. Having a consistent brand voice can make or break your ability to garner brand recognition. Do you find yourself stuck? Here are 5 ways to find your brand’s voice!
1 Define Your Audience
The first step in developing your brand’s voice is to identify your audience. Once you have determined who you’re hoping to attract, you can find ways to use your voice to cater to your ideal fanbase. Find out what they like, what they don’t like… how they write, what they read… how they live. You need to get to know your audience because it’s important that you feel familiar, similar, and natural to your audience.
If you’re seeking to attract multiple different audiences, like most companies, you can find the common theme between all of your targets and focus on that. You want to identify their pain points, the things that they might expect from your company, and work off of that to create a voice that makes consumers feel comfortable, welcome, and eager to communicate with you.
Of course, it’s important to make sense, ultimately. You want to cater to your audience without it seeming too forced. Too often, brands try to reach and engage with millennials by using slang, creating memes, and asking for retweets or follows. These weak attempts at seeming hip more often than not come across as strategic and inauthentic. You want your voice to make sense, you want your voice to be real. After all, “80% of people cite the “authenticity of content” as the main factor as to whether or not they follow a brand.” And while it’s important to be culturally relevant, you don’t want to come off as terribly out of touch.
2 Choose an Ideal Spokesperson
One of the best ways to determine your voice is to attach a face to a name. If you can identify your voice as a person, you’ll have an easier time finding the characteristics that match your brand. Obviously, you might be working in hypotheticals if you’re a small family business rather than a nationally recognized company, but it can’t hurt to imagine your ideal celebrity spokesperson. If your brand is something like Kylie Jenner or any of the Kardashian sisters, create copy that’s trendy, glamorous, and youthful. If your brand is something like country stars Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw or Blake Shelton, think rugged and down to earth. George Clooney? Debonair and classic. Ellen Degeneres? Fun loving, silly, and authentic.
3 Review Your Content
If you’re having trouble thinking of what your voice is, consider taking a deep dive into the content you’ve already produced. Review your social media profiles, your website, your blogs, your sales materials, and use this research to determine what your voice ought to be. Through dissecting the way you communicate, you can get a better idea of common themes that you often use. Are there certain words that are recurring or descriptions that you really like the sound of? Are your Instagram posts generally particularly edgy or maybe clinical? What have you posted in the past that has garnered the most engagement? What sorts of words do you notice get a reaction from your audience? How does your content compare to your competitors? Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have a better idea of what your brand’s voice is currently, and how you can expand on it.
4 Create a Brand Voice Chart
A brand voice chart is a reference tool that ensures that outlines all of the characteristics of your brand. This will ensure that all of your content is using the same thing. The first step to creating a brand voice chart is finding adjectives to describe your brand most efficiently. Start with three different characteristics and go from there. If you’re having trouble coming up with these words, take some time to ask your teammates how they would describe the company brand or culture.
Once you’ve done this, begin creating your chart. The traditional brand voice chart includes three rows for all of your primary characteristics that include three columns. These are a brief description, do’s, and don’ts. If you have any secondary characteristics, you can include these as well to get a more in-depth idea of your brand. This brand voice chart can help keep your voice consistent. You’ll find that your team will have an easier idea of implementing your voice and defining your brand on every channel that you use. This includes your social media, your blogs, your calls-to-action, email marketing campaigns, and company bios.
5 Find Your Muse
Is there a brand that you wish that your brand could be like? Or a competitor that you recognize has great content? Sometimes, when you’re seeking inspiration, it’s important to identify your muse. If there’s a brand that you’d love to emulate, take note of this and study their branding. Visit their website and identify keywords that they consistently use. Look up synonyms of those words and then try to figure out if those words still apply to your brand. So many companies have amazing campaigns that can be used as inspiration.
If you’re seeking an inspirational brand, consider taking a look at Nike. They’re branded themselves on inspiring people on and off the field. If you’re looking for someone snappy and snarky to model yourself after, take a look at Wendy’s. They attract audiences by creating mixtapes, roasting other fast food companies and being sassy. If you can find a common thread between your brand and your muse, you’ll be able to develop your own unique voice.
Define Your Identity
Defining your brand identity is so important to the future of your company. Once you’ve determined what you’d like your voice to be, you’ll find that you have an easier idea of creating brand awareness and gaining customers. Ultimately, consistency is key as well. While you should definitely cater your voice to all of the different channels you’re using, there should be a common thread. This will create a sense of brand recognition. Need some branding help? Consider hiring a digital marketing agency like Colossus Media Group to help you find your voice.