Can You Hear Me Now Finding Your Brand Voice

Can You Hear Me Now? Finding Your Brand Voice

Your message means nothing if it isn’t imbibed with your personality. Your voice is important. So, is it the right voice for your brand?

What Is Your Brand Voice?

We’re not talking about your familiar jingle. Your brand voice refers to the entire tone and style of your communications across all channels. Brand voice is the purposeful consistent expression of a brand through words and style that engages and motivates.

Can your audience identify content as coming from you, even if it doesn’t include your logo? All content you put out needs to provide a consistent picture of your brand. It all needs to consistently utilize the same language.

That word; consistency, is key.

It’s about being consistent with the voice that you’re creating. It’s about positioning yourself as an easily-identified and authoritative source for your area of expertise.

Where It Goes Wrong

Inconsistencies in your voice can be very confusing for your target audience, and they tend to get worse as organizations grow and departments get divided. Add in the fact that freelancers and other agencies come on board adding to content creation.

How to Find Your Voice

Finding, and remaining true to, your voice involves a few steps.

You have to listen to your customers and your target audience. How do they communicate with each other and with you? Are they relaxed and goofy, or are they precise and formal? Are they casual and conversational? You don’t really want to sound like Imagine Dragons if your audience likes to listen to Chopin.

It helps to actually personify your brand. Think of it as an actual person. What would it look like? Dress like? Sound like? Talk like? How would it get from place to place? What would its living quarters look like? What sort of personality?

Now describe your brand in three words. It helps to get as many key team members as possible involved to compare their perceptions of your culture. If any of those ideas have been repeated, those are a good starting point to build around. There should only be around three. Next, define and describe each of those traits further. For instance, if the three words you settled on were genuine, quirky, and bold, you would further explore them, in terms of your brand.

  • Genuine: authentic, trustworthy, approachable
  • Quirky: unexpected, irreverent, passionate
  • Bold: outgoing, but not arrogant, large, decisive

It’s not enough to figure out who you are. You also need to differentiate yourself from your competition. There’s no point going through all of this if you’re going to look just like everyone else on the block. If you sound just like your competitor, then you’re saying that your products are just like them, too.  

It helps if you can imagine the ideal spokesperson for your brand. If you were to hire a celebrity to be your voice, who would it be? Who you picture can tell you a lot about what you want your voice to be.

Get started writing some content for yourself. Try a few emails, commercial spots, and social media content. Read them out loud to each other. If anything about them sounds awkward or ridiculous, then that particular voice is not the right choice for your brand.

Keep Your Brand Voice Consistent

Once you’ve established your brand voice and are happy, you’ve got to keep things consistent across all content production and channels. You’ll want to pay attention to grammar and vocabulary, keeping both in line with with the character you’ve created for your voice. Pay attention to grammar, since mistakes and oversights can make you appear lazy and uneducated, but intentionally breaking the rules of grammar can often give you a more conversational and approachable tone.

The same goes for your vocabulary. The types of words that you elect to speak with says a lot about your voice. Using longer words can make you seem more authoritative and eloquent, while shorter words can be playful. Bringing it down even further into slang terms can sometimes make you seem younger.

Allow your voice to relax and do the talking for you. It needs to feel real, but if you push it too hard, it will be obvious that you’re trying too hard.

But Don’t Be Afraid to Evolve

Just as a person grows older and evolves, so should your voice. Your voice needs to remain consistent across all channels, but it should still be fairly fluid, keeping up with your audience, taking advantage of new communication channels, and finding new ways to communicate.

Finding your own voice that can be a familiar face to your customers can really solidify your brand in their minds. Keeping it consistent across all the media will help you to stand out from your crowd of competitors.

As new competitors come into your market or your message evolves, it’s good to take a fresh look at your voice and refresh it if you need to, particularly if you’re told that some attributes just aren’t really working or are difficult to achieve.