Every business needs to have a strong brand voice from the outset. It helps to form a concrete vision moving forwards, and keeps all marketing communications – both internally and externally – as consistent as possible.
But when we think about the concept of a brand voice, it is typically in a metaphorical, content marketing sense. We use it to define our website copy, blogs, company letterheads and even business cards. Ideally, if we were to read all these materials with the brand name omitted, we would be able to tell they belonged to the same company.
Despite the dominance of digital channels, the human voice still has an overwhelming power over us. We hear it everywhere we go, from business voicemail systems to public elevators, and so it only makes sense to have a real-life voice that fits seamlessly into your overall brand voice.
Voices can, of course, vary dramatically according to many factors, including tone, personality, gender, accent and age, and finding the perfect voice that resonates with your brand and your audience requires effort and commitment. However, there are a few tips you can bear in mind when beginning your search…
Be 100% Clear On Your Brand
It is important to always remember that a brand’s voice is both metaphorical and physical. This is why it is often helpful for brands to see themselves as a single person, who speaks in a certain way and has their own unique set of values, attitudes, and behaviours.
For example, does your business see itself as warm and friendly, or does it want to come across as more aloof and quirky? The most successful businesses have a crystal-clear idea of who they are; they know exactly what audience segments they want to target with their communications, and also how they want to engage with them. More than this, these businesses are fully aware that any potential clients will be basing their first impressions on the quality and tone of these communications.
To ensure your brand voice is solid and clear, ask yourself: what makes your brand persona unique? What’s its backstory? And why is your brand so passionate about what it does? Answering these questions will provide a solid foundation for you to continue building upon.
A Brand Voice Is Not Singular
Identifying the right voice for your brand is about more than just choosing one that sounds good on radio advertisements or TV commercials. In many companies, the brand voice is not exclusive to a single person, but is embodied by everyone that has an affiliation with the company.
Just like the human voice, a brand voice carries a spectrum of emotions, and it behaves differently depending on the context or scenario. The distinctiveness of your voice should come through in its consistency; no matter what the circumstances, it should always embody the agreed upon brand values.
It can be helpful to approach your brand voice in the same way an interior designer might approach a new project. Cohesive design doesn’t simply mean choosing the same colour for every room — instead, all the shades and materials should complement one another and create a theme. The flooring should pull colours from the walls and enhance the materials on your countertop, for example, and the quality, timbre, pitch, and texture of your brand voice should be treated similarly.
Brand Voice ‘Caretakers’ Must Maintain Brand Voice Consistency
All the hard work you’ve put into creating a strong brand voice will be lost if other areas of your company don’t recognise the different points of brand interaction. Look at it this way: if you have one department responsible for creating your voicemail messages, while another writes the customer service scripting and yet another delivers the commercial content, there can often be a huge divide in messaging and tone.
This is why businesses must have ‘caretakers’ of the brand who are responsible for ensuring consistency across all areas. This could be the chief brand officer, the marketing department or another role entirely, who all help employees understand how the brand voice is expressed across different touchpoints. Not only will this ensure your brand voice is successfully upheld, but it will be nurtured and evolve in tandem with business growth.
Consider How Your Voice Affects Your Audience
A brand’s voice is something that exists in both your internal culture and the external brand experience , and so it must leave the right impression on everyone that encounters it. Brands must know how they want these people to feel once they’ve interacted with it and adapt the voice accordingly.
Every brand interaction should have the ultimate goal of helping that person in your target audience, as well as demonstrating the true expression of your brand in that context.
Ultimately, no matter how you identify and define your voice, you should ensure you are always clearly communicating who your brand is, what you are doing and the message you want to deliver. Your brand voice has the potential to be your most valuable business asset – but you must put in the time and effort that it deserves.