Before I get into how to build your brand voice, let’s cover some basics!
What is a Brand Voice?
Brand voice refers to the personality and emotion used in your company’s communications.
This is everything from the words and language you use, to the personality and image your marketing inspires. Your brand voice plays a key role in making sure your message stands out and leaves a lasting impression on potential customers.
Why is a Brand Voice Important?
Well, the most enduring companies have a very clear brand. They have a strong personality and purpose with a consistent message. This is how they establish a consistent brand voice. Think of Coca Cola. Their mission is to “refresh the world in mind body and spirit” their personality is bubbly and friendly.
However, developing brand recognition takes the consistent application of a clear message, throughout all of your marketing materials. If your personality or message changes frequently it’s hard for an audience to know what to expect from you.
What’s the Difference Between Brand Voice and Tone?
So, your voice describes your company’s personality. This is consistent and unchanging.
Your tone is the emotion in your voice and is adjusted for each message accordingly. Unless you want to sound like the “Dry-Eye” commercials.
3 Examples of Brand Voices
If this still sounds abstract and difficult to understand, it’s okay. Sometimes, it’s easier to see and share. So, here are 3 brands that have their voice down.
Mail Chimp: Plainspoken, Genuine, Translators.
Email marketing can be complicated but MailChimp’s voice reinforces how easy it is to use their platform.
Coca Cola: Bubbly and Friendly
This is a great example because the original coke brand voice is bubbly and friendly, but if we dive into one of their new flavors, Vanilla Orange Coke, for example, we’ll find a slightly different tone.
Vanilla Orange Coke: Friendly, Energetic, Bold, Confident.
Adidas: Confident, Positive, and Brave
Everyone needs shoes, but Adidas is one of the top-selling shoes worldwide (right up there with Nike). How do they do so well? They address more than just a need for shoes, they build confidence, and positivity in their audience. Just look at the line “Inspired by athletic tradition, reinvented for self-expression. What do you represent?” Their voice is confident and positive by addressing you (the audience) and including you in the conversation.
5 Steps to Establish a Consistent Brand Voice
Gather everything from videos to webpages, e-books to your social media calendar. Now, gather your team. As a group, critically review your content. Which of these could have been created by one of your competitors? You’ll want to set these aside. Eventually, you’ll whittle down your examples to a choice group that is unique to your brand. These are examples of the brand voice you want to use!
**If you are just starting your business and you don’t have content to refer to, go research some! Find content that resonates with your idea of what your business should be, and go from there.
2. Describe Your Brand with 3 Adjectives
Using your best examples from the first step, discuss common themes across all of those pieces. If your brand was a person how would you describe its personality? Do this with your competitors as well. This’ll give you a good idea of what’s going on in the marketplace and how to make your brand’s personality traits stand out. Is one of your competitors the nice aunt? Is another a red-neck neighbor? How will you describe your brand personality characteristics?
Let’s create an example:
Strong – to-the-point, disciplined, masculine, dedicated
Professional – polite, well-dressed, well-spoken, ethical
Trustworthy – reliable, honest, respectful, consistent
3. Create a Brand Voice Chart
Now that you’ve described your Brand Voice it’s time to draw up a chart for practical application. This will be an essential tool for you to refer to, ensuring your content is consistent.
Include 3 rows for each of the primary characteristics you picked earlier, with 3 columns: Description, Do’s and Don’ts. If needed, you can add an extra row for secondary characteristics you’d like to explore.
4. Integrate Your Brand Voice
You’ve defined your brand tone and voice and created a great reference chart. How do you get everyone on board? Meet with your team – anyone who creates content and communications – walk them through the chart.
Now, through examples of content that does and doesn’t hit the mark. Show how you would revise some content that doesn’t reflect your chosen brand voice. Make sure they have access to the reference chart for referrals.
5. Revisit, and Revise
Finally, your brand voice chart isn’t meant to sit on the shelf for the rest of eternity. Use it, but as your brand messaging evolves (as your business evolves) and you go in new directions it’s good to take a look at the chart and refresh the examples.
Preferably, this is done on a quarterly basis if possible. That way you can revisit what has and hasn’t been working well. Many brands find that certain traits don’t resonate with their audience and are often ignored or deleted. Now you’re ready to establish a consistent brand voice for your business!
Want your business to be recognized? Simplify your branding with a clear, consistent one-liner that draws in customers (and sales). Schedule your free consultation today.