A brand is an experience – the sum of interactions, feelings, and perceptions of who you are and what you represent as a company. Often, when we think of a brand, we immediately connect it to how you look. This piece of your brand is known as your Brand Identity, or the fonts, colors, imagery, and design of your brand.
Equally as important, but sometimes overlooked, is how you sound, or your Brand Voice – the tone, structure, language, and messaging that also brings your brand to life.
So why does this matter? Imagine your brand as a person. How they speak and sound, the stories they tell and the way in which they tell them. The unique words, intonations, and sentence structures they use when having a conversation with you. This is their Brand Voice. If they speak in a way that is completely disconnected from who they are as a person, it feels disingenuous. Your Brand Voice, Brand Identity, and Brand Heart need to work in tandem with one another to build a cohesive brand.
WHAT IS A BRAND VOICE?
A Brand Voice includes:
- TONE: Not what you say, but how you say it. The order, rhythm, and pace of your words.
- ARCHETYPES: Your voice, personified. The personality traits that influence how you speak and sound.
- STYLE: How formally or informally you deliver a message. The delivery method for your words.
- GRAMMAR: Rules for writing. The guidelines for punctuation, sentence structure, and syntax in your messaging.
WHY DOES A BRAND VOICE MATTER?
Consistency matters. We instantly recognize a Nike ad when we see one. Why? Because Nike maintains a consistent Brand Identity and Brand Voice that works in lock step with who they are as a company – inspiring, thoughtful, aspirational. Bigger than that, connecting your Brand Voice to your Brand Identity impacts a company’s bottom line. According to Forbes, “a consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by 23%”. Developing your Brand Voice creates consistency across all touchpoints of your brand – from social media to pitch decks, websites to collateral – to earn brand loyalty.
HOW CAN I BEGIN TO FIND MY VOICE?
BEGIN BY READING
Take a look around. Begin to note what you do and don’t like about other brands, both in your field and outside of it. What brands have a strong voice? What brands do you not want to be like and why? Then turn the mirror on yourself. Look at your current content from the perspective of your audience. How do they experience your Brand Voice? Do you use consistent language? What tone are you using? Are people engaging with you?
Jot down several of the words that come to mind when you read your own brand content on each of your platforms – do you sound thoughtful? Approachable? Professional? Distant? Cross reference these across platforms: do you sound the same way on social media that you do on your website or in emails? Can you identify who in your company wrote the content? The more established your Brand Voice, the smaller the difference between all of the content you produce. Ideally, you will have similar tones and voicing across all platforms.
UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE
Who you are speaking to and why they want to connect with your brand is a crucial part of establishing your Brand Voice. Speaking flippantly to a group of industry professionals may not land well, while leaning heavily on formal jargon would be problematic if you are seeking to connect with a wider audience. Because your Brand Voice informs your messaging and communications across all platforms, it is imperative to first understand your audience.
WHO DOES IT WELL?
Many brands use Brand Voices, few do it well and with impact. To help inspire your own Brand Voice creation, here are a few of our favorite Brand Voices and why:
Thoughtful and approachable, Casper also imbues their Brand Voice with a playful undertone. This can be seen in everything from their graphics to their copywriting, as they maintain direct and simple language, but with a twist.
One of our favorite Brand Voice gurus, Starbucks developed a public facing Brand Voice guide that speaks directly to how copy and creative work hand-in-hand to create a powerful voice. Walking through not only who they are, but also who they are not, Starbucks’ Brand Voice ensures consistency in their tone regardless of writer, location, or platform.
TIME TO START WRITING!
Now that you have a better understanding (hopefully!) of what a Brand Voice is and how you can begin to craft your own, it’s time to start writing! Still have questions? Give us a shout. We’re happy to talk through how we can help you and your team create a powerful voice for your brand.