Most companies understand the significance of branding. And how, when done right, they can differentiate themselves from their competitors. They spend hours researching, strategizing, and creating their messaging, colours, logos, USP, etc. But one aspect of branding that some companies don’t consider is their brand voice.
Though it’s sometimes deemed trivial, your brand voice is your brand’s personality representing everything your company stands for.
Why your brand voice matter
Your brand voice is essential to how your audience interacts with and perceives your brand—different components such as the tone, language, and purpose help define your voice.
It also makes it easier for your customers to remember you. To create a distinguished brand identity, you should imagine it as a persona, that anyone who interacts with it can visualize and feel.
And when your audience can visualize your brand as a friend, they can form a deep connection with you, which eventually leads to trust. Ultimately, those people become loyal brand advocates who share, like, comment, and talk about what you offer to anyone who’ll listen.
Difference between your brand voice and tone
Although they’re used interchangeably, your brand voice and its tone are slightly different:
- Voice: Your brand’s personality that stays consistent regardless of where you’re showing up. It’s the words and phrases you use (and wouldn’t) and the emotions you want to evoke in your audience.
- Tone: Your brand tone comes down to the different ways you present your brand’s voice. It changes depending on the purpose, audience, and social media channel it’s for.
Now that you understand what is a brand voice, why it matters, and why it’s different from your brand tone, we’ll discuss how you can define it for yourself and what are some of the best examples of companies doing it right!
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Stay true to your mission statement
Rafe Offer once said, “Stay true to your values. That’s why you were a success in the first place, and that’s how you make incredible things happen.”
One of the first places you should look when defining your brand voice is your mission statement. When it was created, its purpose was to clearly state what your company strives to do, what you value and believe in.
For example, here’s The Honest Company’s mission statement:
Their audience consists of moms who want to use organic, safe products for their families and themselves. Here’s a social media post proving that they stay true to their audience and mission statement.
In this post, they’re helping their target audience, moms, stay conscious of what they’re consuming while taking care of their baby.
If you don’t have a mission statement, then take some time to think about:
- What do you believe in?
- What makes you stand out from your competitors?
- What do you value?
- What’s your goal?
Once you have answers to these questions, it’ll be easier to think about your brand voice and help you stay consistent across channels.
Know your audience
Understand your audience and:
- Their likes and dislikes,
- What social media channels they use,
- Their demographics,
- The language they use,
- What they believe,
- Why they need your product.
All these components determine your brand’s voice and how you show up on social media. At this point in your business, you should have an idea of your social media buyer persona
If you don’t, then your brand’s voice won’t connect or inspire. And it’ll just be more noise that your audience filters out.
There are various ways that you can get to know your audience better, so you can craft a brand voice that resonates with them:
- Sales and customer support teams
- Surveys and polls
- Social listening
Your brand’s voice must speak to your audience on an emotional level, whether formal or informal, based on the context, because that’s the only way you can connect with them. Consumers don’t connect with robotic, inauthentic brands. They connect with the ones that understand them.
Your social media channels’ native analytics and Google analytics are insightful places to look when trying to learn more about your audience. With analytics, you have access to their demographics, age, language, background, etc.
You can use this information to see:
- Who’s attracted to your brand
- How they talk to their friends
- What’s their culture (So you can be aware of any news that’s important to them)
- The content they interact with
And more. At the same time, analytics won’t always tell you why they need your product. The information you can obtain from reviewing your analytic reports can help you better understand who you’re targeting, the type of person they are when they’re active and what content they’ll care about.
Sales and customer support teams
Your sales and customer support teams are the ones who are interacting with your customers every day. These teams know the problems your customers are facing. They, to some extent, are aware of:
- Why they need your product
- What results they’re expecting to achieve (and what’s at stake if they don’t)
- The other options your customers considered before choosing you
- Who they have to consult with before making a purchase decision
- Their beliefs
By gathering tickets from your teams, you’ll be able to use this information to craft your brand voice that resonates with your audience.
Surveys and polls
The most effective way to learn more about your target audience is to ask them. Ask some of your happiest customers if they’d like to chat with you for a few minutes. Use this time to get to know more about them.
Even if you use your Facebook analytics to look at some of your customers’ profiles, not everyone keeps their social media channels updated. So, taking the time to have a conversation with them can provide you with great insights.
If your schedule doesn’t have any leeway and you cannot hold short conversations with your customers, then send out a survey to your email subscribers. To get a different perspective, also post the questions on your social media channels as a poll. You can ask about the following:
- How does our brand make you feel?
- What type of content do you expect from us?
- What adjectives would you use to describe our brand?
Another way you can learn more about your audience is with social listening. Social listening is when you monitor keywords and mentions that are relevant to your brand. Essentially, you’ll use a social listening tool to track and analyze keywords that your target audience is using.
Try brand voice exercises
You know what makes you different – beliefs, values, etc. And how your customers feel and think about you. Now, equipped with this information, you can start crafting your brand’s brand voice.
One exercise you can use to define your voice is: What am I? What am I not? The idea is to ask yourself what your brand is and what isn’t it and answer it using only adjectives. Here are a few examples:
- I am funny; I am not ditzy.
- I am smart; I am not overly witty.
- I am weird; I am not creepy.
In each example, you’re explaining what you are and aren’t. If you want your brand voice to be weird, then that’s your voice. But you draw the line at any content that can be perceived as creepy.
Another exercise you can do is: I want readers to feel ____ after reading my posts. Calm? Empowered? Enlightened? This exercise ties into your mission statement since it’s about your company’s goal.
How to use your brand voice in various content marketing formats
Essentially, your goal is to follow your content marketing strategy while naturally incorporating your brand voice into it. And we’ll provide a few examples of how you can do that below.
As previously mentioned, a substantial portion of your brand voice is the words you do and don’t include in your content. So, to stay consistent when creating a blog post, always refer back to your branding guide. It’ll help you connect your brand voice with your goal for blogging.
Videos are one of the easiest yet most difficult ways to make your brand stand out. You can include your brand’s colours, graphics, logos, etc. And your voiceover and the background music you use can help you set the tone for what you want your audience to feel and get from it.
And while this sounds straightforward, every aspect of video marketing matters. You can’t cut corners. For example, to keep your audience engaged, you need to utilize more than one type of video marketing. But how can you motivate your audience in the same way in a product demo and customer testimonial? By staying consistent, of course.
If you want your brand voice to inspire, create content that inspires them even if the formats are different. Overall, you need to create high-quality video content aligned with your brand voice and strategy.
Some companies don’t consider email marketing a vital place to continue their branding. Including your email marketing campaigns’ branding efforts is as important as staying consistent on social media, with your blogs, on videos, etc.
One way you can do this is to include your voice in the subject line. While you need to focus on being clear and concise, no one ever said you couldn’t add your personality. If it’s playful, consider capitalizing what you want to stand out, using friendly words or phrases, and adding relevant emojis.
Your PPC ads are another place where you can showcase your brand voice. With it, you can target your audience’s problems while adding your brand voice.
If you’re not sure how to, then check out examples of successful PPC ads to see how they reached their audience effectively.
Using your voice to create your brand tone
Now that you’ve defined your brand voice, it’s time to think about its tone. Your brand’s tone is just your brand’s voice that adjusts to fit the context of your content and social media channels.
Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin all target different audiences. And thus, your brand tone should reflect their unique audiences.
Facebook predominantly serves millennials and Generation Xers. According to Spredfast, it’s a robust and versatile platform with 2 billion monthly active users catering to all age groups. Consumers are typically scrolling through countless other pieces of content mixed in with their family and friends’ posts. So, being friendly and knowing how your target audience talks as well as understanding what kind of content they like to see is critical here.
Twitter is also predominantly millennials; Spredfast also states that 44% of their 317 monthly active users are between 30 and 64. Unlike Facebook, Twitter has a post limit of 140 characters.
So, while you can still be informal, your content has to be straightforward. Also, utilizing memes, images, shortened URLs, and hashtags are just some ways to help you stay within the post limits while providing real value.
According to Spredfast, LinkedIn has 106 million monthly active users, with approximately 70% being between 18 and 49. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn’s audience consists of business-oriented users who prefer their content to be more formal and professional.
On LinkedIn, you can hold debates around topics and share and post articles that help you appear as a thought leader.
Examples of different brand voices
Slack is team collaboration software. They believe in making work-life balance more straightforward, more pleasant, and more productive by providing clear, concise, and friendly content that’s useful to their audience.
In this example, Slack empowers their audience and motivates them to keep working, especially if they’d started feeling woeful.
Skittles is a hard-shell candy company. When you think of candy, especially one whose slogan is ‘Taste the Rainbow’ you think of sweet, fun, and playful. And Skittles doesn’t disappoint. They’ve made a name for themselves for posting weird and quirky content that their customers love.
MailChimp is an all-in-one marketing platform that helps growing businesses sell more ‘stuff.’ They’re among the few brands that successfully created a voice for themselves that’s simultaneously informal, friendly, and professional.
You won’t develop your brand’s voice and tone overnight. It’ll take time, effort, and a lot of editing and refining before you have a voice you’re proud of. And when done correctly, you’ll be able to flawlessly incorporate your brand voice into something as complex as videos or as simple as exit-intent popups.
It won’t be easy. But by following these tips and doing your research, you’ll have a voice that’s consistent across social media channels and resonates with and is unique to your target audience.
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