Brand voice is one of those things many companies neglect to spend enough time thinking about. If you’re going to portray your operation in an honest fashion that reflects your values, it’s imperative to take the time to hone and convey your proper voice.
Why Your Brand Voice Matters
The best brands are relatable. Their relationship with their customers can feel a bit like the relationships the latter have with other people.
For all intents and purposes, a popular brand becomes a figure with a kind of personality. Any inconsistency in its established character challenges the authenticity of the relationship its consumers have known and grown comfortable with, and may jeopardize the firm’s ability to stay connected.
Whether you’ve created one intentionally or not, your brand has a voice. Many brands haven’t developed a conscious strategy that expresses a purposeful and consistent voice to reflect the brand’s values and communicate a clear message to customers.
Companies that have a strategic brand voice are able to streamline their communications, build trust and loyalty among customers, and stay in control of how the brand is regarded (both in good times and bad). In the digital age, a clear brand voice makes it easier for the business to build community around its brand.
Three Tips for Improving Your Brand Voice
There’s no playbook that will tell you what your brand voice should sound like. It’s going to be unique for every firm and must be developed firsthand.
However, you can use certain strategies and techniques to shape and improve your voice in a manner that will resonate strongly with your audience. Here are some ideas for ways to do that.
1. Understand the Difference Between Voice and Tone
There is a distinction between voice and tone, but the two concepts are often confused with each other. Let’s get clear on what each one means.
- Voice is your brand’s personality. Typically, it can be conveyed by a handful of adjectives. The voice stays consistent across the board, regardless of circumstance or audience.
- Tone, in contrast, isn’t set in stone. It’s a reflection of the way in which you deliver your message. There are times when it’s suitable to be light and funny, and others when you’ll have to adopt a more professional and serious tone. In both situations, the voice will remain the same; it’s only how you deliver the message that changes.
As you shape your brand voice, keep the distinction in mind. That might save you from making costly mistakes that jeopardize your marketing efficacy.
2. Inject Flavor Into Your Content
Well-branded content is flavorful. It’s not bland, generic, or safe. It communicates a clear message with a distinct personality.
This page from Nundah Italian Restaurant is a fine example. Notice the word choice and tone. Pay attention to how informative the content is without being bland. It’s a functional page that serves the company’s larger conversion goals — i.e., getting people in the door — while staying true to the brand’s identity.
This page from HubSpot is another useful illustration. The brand is all about making sales and marketing an accessible process for small firms. The voice on this page, as well as others, clearly conveys these values.
3. Use a Style Guide
The trickiest function of managing your brand voice may be maintaining consistency as your output scales up. Eventually, you may no longer have just one or two people generating your content, but a team of individuals.
Some of these content writers might be outside contractors. If you aren’t careful, your company voice could become watered down.
The best way to maintain the integrity of your brand voice is to draw up and circulate a style guide that clearly outlines your outfit’s expectations with regard to voice, tone, word choice, formatting, and so on. This should keep everyone to the same page and serve as a resource that can be referenced in times of uncertainty and change.
Elevate Your Brand
In a consumer marketplace where customers may engage with brands across dozens of digital touchpoints, your brand voice matters more than it did (or would have) in the past. Customers crave authenticity and consistency: two values that are all but impossible to achieve if you don’t have a specific strategy in place.
This article provides your team with ammunition to improve your brand voice and make smarter decisions that could take your operation to the next level. It can be hard work, but the rewards will make it worth the investment.
Anna Johansson is the founder and CEO of Johansson Consulting where she works with businesses to create marketing and PR campaigns.