What is brand voice
The words and phrases you use to motive others and convey consistent, purposeful messages are all part of your brand voice. In short, it’s the personality of your brand.
Brand voice strategies
To keep it simple, think about the following four areas when determining your brand voice: persona, tone, content and reputation. Once you understand these elements of your audience, you can develop a brand voice and marketing strategies around them.
If your customers had to describe you as being a character, who would you want them to choose? Are you smart and witty like ____? Are you fun and playful like ____? Do you evoke strong education and serious knowledge like ____?
When thinking about your brand’s voice, stretch your imagination and envision a character that you’d like to mimic. Define the best qualities of this person and figure out how you’ll use those to your advantage when building your own brand voice.
You also want to think about your audience personas–who are you talking to and how will your brand be received? To get you started, think about the answers to some of the following for each persona you develop:
- Background: Finish this sentence, “This ideal customer/client/member is/has/needs…”
- Career: What is their position and role at work? What are they responsible for and what do they love (or dislike) about their job?
- Information: How do they research potential vendors? Where do they get their information when making informed decisions? Are they visual? Are the emotional of feeling based? Do they crave numbers?
- Goals: What is your audience’s 1 goal? Additional goals?
- Pain Points: What do they need help with? What are their struggles and challenges?
- Communication: How do they communicate? Email? Social Media? Print? A combination of all? Where do they hang out the most (i.e.: which online channels are they using?)
- Purchase Power: Where do they fall in the decision-making process? Do they have a primary or secondary role?
- Messaging: What marketing message speaks directly to this person? As you develop your persona, will this jive with what your audience wants?
Do you prefer conversational tones or plain, matter-of-fact? Do you want to stick to highly professional tones or more casual conversations?
The tone you set for your brand is important and should come across clear whether your customers are reading a print ad, a Facebook post or an article in your newsletter. Different tones across various channels create confusion and do not portray brand consistency.
Think as far as to cover basic styles such as first or third-person, attributions or general writing styles. All of these can be implemented across your communication channels whether online, offline, in an annual report or in a services brochure. Keep your tone similar across all communication channels but allow yourself to tweak them slightly according to the channel’s need (ex: Facebook warrants more conversation and short answers; an annual report is a more formal piece of communication).
This may not be the norm in a list the covers brand voice, but as your brand thinks about its content and developing strategies around marketing traditional and online pieces, content–and the writing of said content–plays a huge role in your brand voice.
Dr. Andrew Bredenkamp has a great list of elements to consider when it comes to brand voice and writing. Some of them include flushing out things like:
- Word length
- Sentence length
The content you produce and the writing style used to produce it will speak volumes about your brand voice. Don’t discredit the importance of talking content when developing your brand.
In other words, what footprint do you want to leave? Ultimately, how do you want others to perceive you? One helpful strategy is to create word lists–words that you associate with your company, words your current customers use to describe you/associate with your company and words that you wish would be used to describe your brand. Assess the lists and determine if these words reflect positively on your brand’s reputation.
Last, don’t forget to look for inspiration among top brands you admire. We all have role models that influence us and branding is no difference; look for brands you trust and want to emulate. Think about what it is about those brands and how they portray themselves online that draws you to them–that draws their customers to them. Think about how you can use those strategies and concepts to your advantage in order to develop your brand voice.