The Importance of Brand Voice and 5 Ways to Build Yours
When you begin discussing company brands, people often think about how a brand looks visually, from fonts to colors to design style and logo. What is often forgotten is the voice of that brand. Brand voice has become more relevant than ever, especially as a way to stand out from the crowd in a sea of digital chatter on social media.
Even if the term is new to you, you’ve already heard brand voice in action. The business selling surf gear takes on a surfer’s vocabulary and attitude. The teen clothing business loosens its vocabulary and uses traditional slang to relate to its target audience.
Although you can get away without creating a distinctive voice for your brand, once you have developed one, you can take your marketing far further.
Let’s go deeper into the specifics of what brand voice is and how to create one of your own.
What is Brand Voice?
The voice of the brand is the distinct identity that a brand takes on in all its communications with its target audience. Imagine that you went to a dinner party and all the guests were talking with you. One individual stands out because, in a distinctive, special way, they’re great at storytelling. The rhythm of their sentences, the vocabulary and their personality all combined to create an unforgettable experience. Really, when you’re retelling that story, you think of that person immediately.
Extrapolate the dinner guest into the voice of a brand now. Who’s your online voice? What personality attributes would they carry on if your brand was an individual? What phrases and stylistic choices are already used on a regular basis by your brand?
Combine all the above to build the voice of your brand. Everywhere the brand ‘talks’, including newsletters, social media updates, official communications such as company announcements and ads, this brand tone should then be applied.
Why does the voice of a brand matter?
Why bother creating a brand voice? Why not just write whatever you want, however you want?
The digital world is increasingly busy and crowded. It’s full of chatter from brands and people alike. On the basis of your visual content, logo or product features alone, you can only stand out so much. The same focus and quality you add to the other elements of your brand presence is needed for your written content too.
Finally, when you want the brand to be consistent and identifiable, the voice of the brand matters. Brand recognition succeeds because, before you even see who posted it, you can recognize a brand only by its content.
5 Tips for a Brand Voice for Your Retail Business
So now that you understand why it’s important, how do you even build a distinctive brand voice? Use the five tips below to begin discovering yours. is.
- Record Everything and be Consistent
Your brand voice still needs documentation, much like your visual brand guide and your social strategy. A brand voice document would be beneficial, unless you have just one person handling all correspondence and marketing. For anyone who writes in the voice of the company – and that is often a number of people, including people not directly employed by you like freelance social media managers, it serves as a guide. It keeps posts and marketing copy in line and consistent.
The character features, standard terminology, brand phrases and, most importantly, examples should all be in this guide. You want to write out a lot of examples that show both how to write in intended brand voice and what kinds of choices slip too far from your established style.
- Audit Your Current Brand Voice
Need some inspiration on what your brand personality should be? Take a look at your current communications. Make sure you review examples from all communications, so you get a good overview of what your brand voice is like currently.
You may find that your brand voice is inconsistent mainly because of different writers or uses of certain words over others. Note how your target audience interacts with you and how they speak. What voice traits do your top-performing posts and newsletter issues have in common?
From here, you’ll be able to determine what your brand’s personality currently is and then begin the process of brainstorming more traits that you want to emulate.
- Look to Your Target Audience
Another way to formulate brand voice is to take a closer look at your customers and target audience. You’ll want to use vocabulary that resonates with them if your target demographic is younger. It would only help to alienate your millennial audience using words familiar to an older generation.
List out attributes and common vocabulary you want to take on as a brand while you work through your audience and personas.
A piece of advice: don’t stray too far away from your brand’s current operations. You want to present your voice authentically and not robotically or give the appearance of just chasing trends.
Work on Brand Tone Too
The voice of the brand is what you say and the tone of the brand is how you say it. Your tone can vary between audiences, so in certain cases, it’s a good idea to record when to use certain tones.
The excited way you announce a new product won’t be the same tone you take on when responding to a customer complaint. Identify common scenarios you come across as a brand and categorize them into the different tones you would take on.
- Keep Tweaking
Developing a brand voice is not a one-time effort. It should be reviewed and refined at designated times, such as once a year or during major branding overhauls, and during major events that significantly alter your company’s marketing strategy. Language evolves and the words you used five years ago might not be en vogue today. Without a consistent check in on your brand voice, and some regular tweaking, you risk sounding out of date or out of touch with current events.