The Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Brand Voice

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The Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Brand Voice

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Your brand, in a nutshell, is defined by how your consumers perceive your business. And yet, positioning your brand doesn’t stop the minute someone buys your product or your social media page reaches a certain number of likes.

Nor does it solely depend on the design of your logo or website.

Your brand voice essentially permeates your entire business — from the packaging colors and texts to the distinguishable language employed in your weekly newsletters and social media status updates.

Bergmeyer defines brand voice as a unique mix of message, tone, and purpose. Not only does brand voice carry the message, it also shows how this message is being communicated across platforms and to what end.

Your brand voice is often audible and visible through the content you churn out on a regular basis, from web pages and company policies to newsletters, brochures, and social media updates.

The important thing is to find a brand voice that is unique, consistent, and identifiable.

Outlined below is an in-depth guide in helping you find your brand voice, especially if you have yet to start on your brand positioning efforts.

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Photograph by GGal via Bigstock

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Carry out Market Research

One of the first and crucial steps you can take in creating your distinctive brand voice is to first look beyond the four walls of your business. Market research is one of the pillars of effective branding and marketing. It can help you formulate new business ideas, explore product diversification options, and target the right customers.

An in-depth foray into your immediate market can help you craft a unique voice that speaks directly to your consumers.

§  Find samples for your voice blueprint.

You may start by seeking out samples from brands and businesses whose voice/s you want to emulate. Gather content from various brands across sources, and see where your business makes a similar fit.

Whether you are vying for a soft, nurturing voice or a more dynamic and upbeat tone across all your communication materials, a good way to start is by looking for reliable models. Which brands in the market are able to effectively achieve the voice you want for your own business?

§  Find out what your competitors are saying.

Effective branding differentiation comes from knowing how your competition communicates. The last thing you would want is to sound exactly like your competition. As much as possible, cultivate a voice that gives you an edge over other brands in the same market.

§  Create buyer personas.

A buyer persona is a form of buyer characterization that allows you to see more clearly the personalities, preferences, buying behaviors, and purchasing power of your target consumers. When you have a clear understanding of who’s buying from you, you will be able to tailor your brand voice to appeal and relate better to your audience and consumers.

Get Up Close and Personal with Your Brand

A thorough knowledge of the core values, beliefs, and drives of your business will allow you to craft a brand voice that is both distinct and authentic. Brand transparency is a crucial requirement for customer loyalty. The more information you provide to consumers, such as material sources, labor practices, environmental impact, etc., the more they will find your brand to be trustworthy.

§  Which business philosophies/ beliefs should be ingrained in your brand voice?

Sit down and identify which business strengths you want to emphasize in your brand voice. Make sure that your branding and content strategies communicate these strengths and beliefs clearly. For example, if you want to be known as a brand of high-quality yet affordable sportswear that aims to empower women through physical fitness, this mission should be reflected in the words, style, and vocabulary you communicate both offline and online.

§  Try this simple fill-in-the-blanks style/voice exercise.

Personifying your brand can start by filling in the following blanks with answers. The tone you employ in completing the following sentences can lead you into finding your distinct yet original brand voice. Do your answers elicit a playful or a serious vibe? Does it communicate authority? Which style reflects your brand in the most authentic way?

  1. When people think of my brand, I want them to feel _______.

  2. Three adjectives that come to mind when my brand name is mentioned are ______ , ______ , and _______.

  3. The strongest competitive advantage/s of my business is/are _____________.

  4. The brand voices that inspire me are described as ________, __________, and _________.

Develop a Brand Style Guide

A brand style guide is a written document that you can send out to the brand strategists and content creators of your business. This helps to ensure that any form of material published online or offline sounds consistent with the brand voice you are aiming to project.

§     Provide a list of the top three adjectives that best describe your brand.

Make sure that these adjectives encapsulate your unique value proposition, business beliefs, core values, and the style that speaks most effectively to your consumers. Some examples of these adjectives are:

Fun, engaging, youthful

Reliable, affordable, flexible

Stylish, durable, innovative

Organic, locally-sourced, environmentally-conscious

§     Choose which words you encourage your content creators to use.

The style guide may also include specific words that help to emphasize the brand voice you want to maintain for your marketing and communication materials.

For example, you may want to remind your brand strategists and content creators to use active verbs and concrete descriptions at all times. Or, the guide may also include words which should be used as sparingly as possible, such as technical jargon or undefined acronyms.

§     Narrow down the descriptions in your brand voice/style guide.

To narrow down your style guide further, you may want to create a chart that distinguishes each of the top adjectives and provides text examples on how to accomplish the right voice for each desired outcome.

For example, you may want to specify what ‘engaging’ actually means in the context of your brand voice. How will your content specialists be able to achieve this? Perhaps, they could be reminded to employ first and second-person POV so that most of the messages appear to be speaking directly to the audience. Or, special emphasis may be placed on replying to customer queries across social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. To further maintain this engaging tone, writers and strategists may be strongly discouraged to adopt a formal, impersonal tone when speaking to customers or potential buyers.

Be Consistent Across all Platforms

When you have a wide variety of marketing materials published on a myriad of offline and online platforms, achieving consistency can be a challenge. Nonetheless, consistency is always a must. A good way to achieve this is to make your brand strategy team familiar with the voice or style you want to maintain throughout your marketing mix.

Once you already have the brand style figured out, make sure that your PR team, branding specialists, and content creators have access to the file at all times. If possible, provide them with printed copies, as well as electronic files. Repetition helps to foster consistency; consistency aids in reinforcing memory; and a strong memory helps to create a strong brand position even in the midst of cutthroat competition.

Develop a Social Customer Service Strategy

According to a 2017 study on social media buying behavior, responsiveness is the biggest factor that influences a consumer to make a purchase. Moreover, consumers have no qualms with unfollowing a brand that exhibits annoying behavior on social media.

One effective way in fostering a visible, identifiable, and trustworthy brand voice is to create a strategy that places customers and potential buyers as a priority in various social media pages. This includes being attentive and responsive to comments, direct messages, suggestions, and product queries.

And more than ensuring prompt reply to queries, your brand should also be able to provide valuable, educational, and engaging content on a regular basis. All these effectively communicate a strong, consistent brand presence and identity.

Let Your Brand Voice Evolve as Necessary

Depending on where your business is at the moment, your brand voice may also change, develop, expand, or evolve. You may have introduced new products that carry your brand, or perhaps you have recently diversified your services portfolio. Don’t hesitate to revisit and update your brand style guide or brand voice chart as needed. At the end of the day, what you want to achieve with your authentic brand voice is better buyer engagement, stronger customer connection, and a memorable business image that speaks over and above the din of clichéd phrases and recycled messages.

Once you have successfully created a credible, unmistakable, and audible brand voice, the next crucial thing is to keep good on your promises. Ultimately, what you want is for your consumers to realize that beyond the branding and strategizing, your business delivers on its guarantees.

Your brand voice is not just a metaphorical voice; it is a literal voice that speaks to your customers, connects with them, and gives them exactly what they are looking for, when and where they need it.

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Annie has over 20 years of  experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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