Branding is far more than just what your business looks like. When it comes to getting what you do in front of customers, your voice is just as important in conveying that message. An image may say a thousand words, but the way you speak as a business can also significantly impact your success as a brand. By utilising a brand voice and effectively implementing it, your audience should instantly be able to recognise you just from the way you communicate.
What exactly is a brand voice, why is it so important, and how do you create one? We've covered all you need to know below:
What is a brand voice?
A brand voice is a way your business 'sounds' to the public. The emotional language you use and the personality of your writing are all a part of your brand voice. When defining a brand voice, it could be anything from the specific words and phrases you should use to whether you're formal and high-end or use slang and more casual tones. A clothing company aimed at younger women, for example, would have a very different brand voice than a high-end luxury watch brand.
Why does brand voice matter?
Brand voice matters because it gives your business a way to diversify itself from the competition. Potential customers like to connect with brands that speak directly to them, and a consistent brand voice can provide that personality. A good brand voice allows you to create great, relevant content that speaks to the right audience. The better your storytelling and personality, the more likely your customers will not only remember you but potentially choose to buy from you over other options on the market.
How do you create a brand voice?
So, how do you go about making your brand voice? Here are a few of the techniques you can use to define and utilise your brand voice:
Find the content that represents your brand
Anything you've created for your brand, whether it's social media content, blog posts, videos or web pages, are all part of the voice you're putting out there to potential customers. Take a good look at what you already have. What's successful, and what's too close to content from similar brands in your niche? If you've got some good examples of what you'd like for your brand voice in content you've already made, you're off to a good start. That content can then be used to inspire and develop a cohesive brand voice across your whole business.
Describe your brand in three words
Once you've collated content, a good next step in figuring out your brand voice is to create a broad definition of the personality you want to convey. Three words that describe your voice are an excellent place to begin. Think of those word as traits for your brand personality – whether you're the popular girl, the sophisticated businessman, or the down-to-earth straight-talking teenager.
Here's an example of how you could define your brand voice in three words:
Once you've created those simple definitions, you can dive deeper into what each of them means in terms of how you communicate with your audience, the kind of content you create, and the focus of your overall brand voice. For example:
Sincere – honest, authentic, genuine
Focused – intelligent, committed, straightforward
Competent – trustworthy, diligent, reliable
Create a voice chart
Once you've created more definition, you can then use that information to illustrate what those traits mean for your specific brand. A voice chat is an information tool. As part of brand guidelines, it can help establish a cohesive and easy to follow brand voice and personality.
A voice chart should be split into three separate sections – a description of how each trait relates to your brand, as well as a dos and don'ts of that specific element of your brand voice. Put together, these three traits form the foundations of a complete brand voice.
Here's a quick example:
||We do things the right way, and our customers can trust us for quality and reliability.
||Make clear points, focus on customer experience, use powerful 'we' language, position as industry experts.
||Use jargon and casual language, talk down to the audience, use passive language.
Create a style guide to put your new voice into action
Following the creation of your voice chart, you're ready to put what you've learnt and developed into action. It's vitally important that your brand voice is as universal as your marketing and business itself is. This means taking the time to ensure content meets these requirements and making sure everyone understands the need to follow the voice chart in all future marketing and communications.
If you can provide solid examples that line up with your brand voice, this can help to illustrate the kind of content you're looking to create. Your voice chart should also be freely available to everyone on your team, whether in a digital form or stuck on the wall in your office.
What are the benefits of having a strong brand voice?
A brand voice may seem like a lot of work, but if you want to enhance your brand and connect with your customers effectively, it's a vital tool in the success of your business. Here are just a few of the benefits of having a well-planned and defined brand voice:
Creating a lasting impression on potential customers
You want both past customers and potential customers to remember you, and injecting personality into your brand is the best way to do so. A great brand voice will stick in people's minds, and even if a potential customer can't buy now, they are far more likely to remember you in the future if you have a strong voice.
Diversifying yourself from your competition
If your competition already has a specific brand voice, doing the same thing adds more noise to the digital market. Diversifying and creating a brand voice that speaks to your target audience will help you find success. The more unique you are, the harder it will be for brands to imitate you – and you might end up reaching customer bases that other brands haven't been able to get to yet.
Speaking directly to your target audience
Your target audience wants to buy from brands that understand them. That's why a well-designed brand voice can help you build up a loyal customer base. It's crucial that your voice is genuine, authentic and speaks to your audience. You want to speak directly to your customers as a business – and many consumers won't appreciate you trying to be their friend.
Provide consistency and a cohesive feel to your brand
A cohesive brand is a well-handled brand. You want your business to look the same from all sides and be appropriate to your specific audience, no matter the nature of the communication. A brand voice can help provide additional consistency in your messaging and content. Not only can your voice inform your copywriting, but it can also help you pick imagery and other messaging that works well in tandem.
Move away from existing branding for a fresh start
If your current branding isn't working, a fresh new brand voice can be a clean slate to start on the road to rebranding. While your personality and voice aren't the only things to consider in rebranding, they are essential components to consider, nonetheless. If you're planning to start over with your new voice, going through the steps to create a brand voice above are an excellent place to start.
What mistakes can you make in creating a brand voice?
You've got a better idea of the benefits of brand voices and how to create them. But are there any mistakes that companies make when adding personality to their business? Here are a few things to consider before you jump in:
Brand voice and tone aren't the same
It's important to distinguish between the voice you give your brand and the tone you use in specific content and materials. While having a cohesive brand is a massive benefit for any business, this can feel artificial if your tone is the same everywhere your customers look. For example, marketing copywriting shouldn't strike the same manner as emails sent from your customer service team.
Try-hard branding can be a turn-off
Trying too hard is just as much a problem for brands as underdoing it on their brand voice and personality. Customers don't want to be friends with your business, and communicating in a way that's identical to how they talk to their peers can come across as not genuine. Walk that fine line, and your customers will appreciate your unique personality much more.
You don't have a good grasp of who your audience is
If you don't know who you're marketing to, it's nearly impossible to create a brand voice that works. Whether you need to hire a specialist to research your audience personas or look at your audience's demographics. You'll need to know your customers if you want to make a brand voice that's as powerful as possible.
Defining your brand voice can be incredibly effective when done the right way. With our guide above, devising a personality that reflects your customers, your message and your business can work well with a bit of effort up-front. Or, if you're looking for someone to create a brand voice for you, working with a professional can take the pressure off and provide you with a voice to work from.