From logo design to your corporate slogan to the graphic look of marketing materials, there are many interlocking pieces to a successful brand. But your brand effort isn’t complete until you crystalize a distinctive and powerful brand voice.
What exactly is a brand voice? Adweek puts it succinctly: “When we say brand voice, we mean the authentic personality of your brand. Ask yourself: ‘Who would my brand be if it were a real person? What would it sound like?’ That is the voice of your brand.”
Here, we provide some tips for developing and implementing an authentic brand voice, drawn from the wisdom of strategic branding agency Larsen.
Define Your Brand
What makes your brand tick? Gather a representative sample of your content and gather around the conference table. See if you can boil down the essence of your brand into just three words. Then embellish each word with a brief description. Here’s an example:
Passionate: Expressive, enthusiastic, heartfelt, action-oriented.
Quirky: Irreverent, unexpected, contrarian.
Authentic: Genuine, trustworthy, engaging, direct.
Differentiate Your Brand
Now it’s time to take your new brand voice guidelines and compare them to competitive marketing efforts. Scout out the website and social media presence of key competitors. Make sure your brand personality distinguishes you from competitors in a way that appeals to your target audience.
Listen to Your Customers
The next step is to tune into your customer’s world. How do customers express themselves? Figure out how your brand voice can speak their language. Larsen recommends building “brand affinity by using the diction and sentence structure that’s appealing to your audience and authentic to your offering.”
Seek to Inspire
A good brand voice oozes enthusiasm, fires your customers’ imaginations and spurs them to action. Speak to your prospects — not at them. Be direct. Use brief, active sentences.
Engage the Audience
Ask your content creators to develop a conversational, friendly tone. Don’t shy away from injecting personality into your writing. Imagine the conversation that is already going on in your audience’s head — and aim your content toward addressing their hopes, dreams and concerns.
Believe in Evolution
Larsen suggests that a brand voice should never be carved in stone. Instead, “it’s fluid — keeping pace with your audience, working across new communication channels, and communicating in fresh new ways.” Don’t rest on your laurels. Revisit your competition’s brand voice on a regular basis. And keep your ears attuned to the language of your customer.
Speak Your Truth
Before fully implementing your brand voice, take a moment to consider your overall integrated marketing strategy. Inject the voice of your brand into every communication — digital as well as off-line. You’ll reap the rewards of promotions that make customers feel as though you truly get them.
Last modified: June 11, 2018