Searching for ways to define your brand voice? Whether you're starting a business or doing some major rebranding, having a powerful brand strategy is the key to long term success.
Most businesses already know that, but sometimes they forget that building a brand can go beyond company names and logos.
From website homepage to broadcast emails, your audiences rely on your messages to learn who you are as a brand and fall in love with it.
But first, to catch their attention and get your brand message across, you will need to have an appealing, consistent tone of voice.
That's why in this guide, we will be focusing on helping you establish a successful and effective voice for your brand. But before we move on, let's first understand the definitions.
What Is a Brand Voice?
A brand's voice is an element that represents your brand identity. It includes everything from the way you greet someone to the verbal expression of your personality.
Your tone of voice is an integral part of your overall brand identity, and it can be a vital factor in building a memorable business.
For example, what comes to mind when you think of the slogan "Just Do It"?
High chances are the answer is Nike and the inspiring feeling the brand represents.
It doesn't matter if it is online or offline. Your business constantly communicates with your audience through the web page, social media feeds, or even customer support.
In any case, you'd want to craft a brand voice where your customers will remember you.
Why Do You Need a Brand Voice?
No matter the size and nature of your business, you need to build a voice for yourself in the industry to create a company that endures, if not to boost sales.
According to a survey done by Contently, 61% of people are more likely to buy from companies that deliver unique content and style of communication.
Why? The reason is simple. Having a unique voice for your brand will allow you to stand out from your competition in the industry. Besides, when customers know who you are and what you represent, they are more ready to interact with your brand and product.
Plus, no one wants to interact with a cold, emotionless business. According to Harvard Professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of purchasing decisions are emotionally driven, and businesses that can cultivate an emotional connection is the brand that makes the sales.
Moreover, the right brand voice makes connecting with your potential buyers easier. Let's say your target audiences are millennials, then you'd want to have straightforward and clever copywriting instead of using a diplomatic tone.
You can even use memes and popular cultural references like this example from Jimmy John's that smartly contains its product with a messaging that its audiences relate to.
Besides, having a consistent brand voice can also help build familiarity and trust in customers, making them feel more confident about your product or service.
6 Steps For Creating Your Brand Voice
Finding your voice is not an easy journey, but it is an essential building block that will benefit you in the long run. That's why it's best to do it now, if never.
Here are 6 steps to help you create your ideal brand's voice.
Step 1: Dig deep into the core of your brand
To start, throw out the idea of building your brand voice as a marketing stint and replace it with the idea of branding with heart.
At the core of every beloved brand (and yours should too) is a clear sense of purpose. And that will need you to dig deep into your company value and mission. A memorable brand voice reflects and expresses who you are as a company. So ask yourself these questions:
- What is the purpose behind your business?
- What is the future you want to help create?
- What are your values?
Do a brainstorming session with the brand team, founder or other key stakeholders to look into these questions. Take time to figure out the larger picture of your branding and how your voice fits into it.
Step 2: Identify your target personas
Establishing a connection with the audience shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all process. But instead, your ideal brand voice should first and foremost appeal to relevant target audiences.
So who are your target personas? You can conduct research to assess your target market by identifying their demographics like age, gender, socio-economic background, and more.
Better yet, take a step further and get into the heads of your existing customers. Consider how these people talk, the challenges they face, how they express themselves, and more.
You can even get into the nitty-gritty and ask questions like what social media platforms they frequent? What do their Twitter feeds look like? And what makes them laugh out loud?
The better you understand your target audience and their archetype, the easier it will be for you to write in a voice that they will relate to.
For example, if you are a fashion company targeting tweens, loosen up your language and use everyday slang in your copywriting to better connect and resonate with your target audience.
Either way, your brand should always be genuine and authentic. Avoid chasing slang and just using them for the sake of it.
Step 3: Do a competitive analysis
Your brand voice should be distinctive, and differentiating yourself is the key. After all, you want to avoid sounding like another business. Or worse, your direct competitor.
That's why you need to make sure you do a quick research of the players in your industry and a competitive analysis of their style and tone of communication.
To do this, you can tune into conversations about what people say about the brand and how they describe them. Use social media channels to monitor mentions of your company and relevant competitors.
Identify the competitors targeting the same audience group as you, and make sure you create a voice and messaging that stands apart from them.
Step 4: Build your brand voice
Now that you have all the key information you need, it's time to craft your brand voice.
At this stage, you should be thinking about everything, from the words and style to the relevant imagery or marketing assets that are to go with your voice.
Because while it is crucial to stand out, having holistic branding makes sure your brand impression not only sticks with your customer but earns their trust.
We know that can sound intimidating if you are starting from scratch, so a piece of advice is to just do it and start writing or building your brand voice into current operations.
For example, if your business is focused on social media. Think of your voice and messaging in the context of a Tweet or Facebook post and slowly expand it from there.
Note the do's and don'ts when crafting your business messages in a brand tone and review them against your brand's purpose and target audiences to see if it fits.
If you are rebranding, we suggest looking at your current brand's voice. Especially your top-performing posts and newsletter to grab the effective trait you want to retain or emulate.
Another thing is to ask yourself, how do you want your audience to feel when they interact with your brand? Identifying the emotional experience you want your brand to deliver can also create a consistent voice to meet audience expectations.
Regardless of your brand voice, it is always essential to make sure it is appealing, even if it is authoritative or diplomatic. Especially when you are online, you need to make sure you put out an attention-grabbing title to get clicks.
Step 5: Communicate your brand effectively
Defining your brand's voice is just the beginning. More importantly, it is how you use it afterwards.
Once you have your voice down, it's time to create content for your brand and share it with the world. At this stage, where you are populating your content, you can also test out aspects of your voice that you are uncertain of using A/B testing.
We recommend using email broadcast, but you can also try it with your homepage or sales page to find out what communication style can work better for you.
Once you've identified your brand voice, the next step is to ensure every aspect of your brand is aligned and cohesive.
Enforce your brand's voice across all marketing materials. You want to make sure your content is on-brand to meet your audience expectations.
Step 6: Build consistency with clear guidelines
You also need to make sure anyone creating content for your brand knows how to use it too.
You want people who follow you on Twitter to visit your website and Facebook to have memorable experiences.
To do so, you need to build a brand style guide. A representative sample can help your marketing team of copywriters and customer support understand the desired result of your brand's voice and identity.
When creating the guideline, including do's and don'ts can help create content that fits the brand. While you may have many people on your writing team, a quick writing checklist will ensure that a consistent writing style is used.
Generally, you would also want to build a team that can embody your values across all platforms.
3 best brand voice examples
The world's best brands have a distinctive voice that translates across channels. From their packaging to their website, their voice is always present.
Here are a few brand examples with some of the most powerful brand voices.
Known for its inspirational brand messaging, Nike's voice shows grit. Its iconic slogan "Just Do It" created a powerful brand persona that embodies its mission to bring for everyone to become an athlete.
A quick tour through the website, and you will notice every aspect of its messaging is fueled with resilience and persistence. From mission statements to product descriptions, its tone of voice is motivational and encouraging, which customers have come to love and appreciate.
Think different. Another iconic brand that stands out in a sea of smartphone brands is Apple. Like its products and services, its voice consistently conveys quality and confidence.
Ask anyone about the Apple voice, and they can tell you how identifiable it is with short, punchy sentences accompanied with minimalized visuals
Most importantly, the brand has mastered simple, powerful copy that doesn't read as boring while bringing confidence.
When it comes to customer-first writing, we cannot count out Uber. The brand uses a voice that speaks directly to each person.
The Uber voice is simple, engaging, and, most importantly, consistent. The company has an effective brand voice guideline that shows how anybody can emulate this feeling that sounds like Uber.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, your brand voice is the heart and soul of your communications. It can be informative, fun or even snarky, but whatever it is, it needs to be more than specific words or phrases.
The most helpful thing your brand messaging can have is a unique and authentic voice that connects with your audience.
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Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people's lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.