April 1, 2014 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
The voice of a brand is very important when trying to communicate who you are to your sought after audience. The company’s voice and tone permeates all facets of the written copy of your brand, from the advertising to the website, to the blog, to the email marketing, packaging, and more. Your brand is how you want to be portrayed in the minds of consumers, your personality per se. The brand’s voice and tone encompasses your principals, values as a company, and the people who work hard every day.
The voice and tone of a brand helps it connect with consumers that hold similar values. Consistent use of the voice builds familiarity, which overtime can ease the mental effort it takes for consumers to start trusting a brand. Your brand voice should be unique and distinctive to differentiate you from your competitors.
Here are 10 questions you should ask your company to help find its brand voice:
Determine if you want to keep with industry norms, or buck the industry trends to fill a niche within it.
Was it to help people out with something? Was it a love for the craft? To innovate and push the limits of an industry and take chances? To give consumers another option that hasn’t been done before?
South Park created an episode in 2001 that revolved around the creation of “IT” a gyro-cycle that can travel 200 mph. While “IT” was rather uncomfortable, everyone kept saying that it sure beats dealing with airline companies. In this case, the brand voice didn’t have to be particularly positive, but connected with the universal pain of air travel.
Your core values and principals are entities that you and the company live by and guide you to what’s ultimately correct for the future of the business. By sticking to and following the same set of values and principles, your voice will stay consistent, and your current and potential customers will know what you stand for.
Is it primarily new moms? 18-25 year old men? Divorced men or women? The Elderly? This will determine if you want to use a masculine, feminine or neutral voice, and if that voice is powerful or soft.
This question might also help you decide if you want to outsource your marketing and content needs. Connecting to an unfamiliar audience – like millennials – can backfire or flop. It might be best to hand the task over to an expert.
What do you think gives your brand the edge over the others in your industry? Better taste? Quality? Convenience? Price? Customer service? This is your edge over the competition, embed it into your voice and make it prominent.
Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, and this applies here too. Is there another business that you aspire to be like one day? Is their voice and tone something you’d like take cues from while adding your own personality too?
You’re passionate about the industry and your brand, so show it through your brand’s voice. Show your passion about how others in your industry do things incorrectly, or take advantage of customers. Explain why you think this is wrong, and show how you don’t do these things. It’s another differentiation factor and positions your name as an expert in the industry.
Imagine your brand was a person, encapsulating everything you want to your brand to be, what it would look like, and how would it act. If there are any fans of the show Community reading this, they basically did this with “Subway.” This is the perfect customer and employee, something an owner should strive to be.
What are your brand’s subjects to avoid? Are you okay with taking political stances on things? (If so, what subjects are on or off limits?) Do you feel it’s best to always keep neutral? Is religion something that his highlighted or tucked away? Not all of these questions were going to be easy.
Think about everything you don’t want your brand to be portrayed as or be perceived to be. If your company’s values and principles are the guidelines you want to adhere to, let the list of opposing things you don’t want your brand to be, or your negative guidelines, to do the opposite of when portraying your brand to the public
While these aren’t the only questions you need to ask yourself when coming up with a brand voice, they’re a good start. The goal is to start talking about who your brand is and what it stands for. Keep throwing around ideas and digging deeper until you know you brand almost as thoroughly as you know yourself.
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