7th April 2022
We live in a world of constant noise. With so many communications channels out there and so many brands selling similar products vying for customers’ attention, companies are continually looking for ways to reach their target consumer setting themselves apart from their competitors. A distinctive and consistent tone of voice is a way to be heard through the noise.
What is a brand voice?
A brand voice describes how a company communicates with its audience and influences how its message is received. The voice should feel true to your company’s values and persona. Conveying the company’s goals, ethos, and expertise, a unique and recognisable tone of voice can be used to build a connection between your brand and your customer.
Why is it important?
They say there are no new ideas, so it is likely that your business is competing with others providing a similar, if not identical product or service, therefore your company needs to differentiate itself. Compelling storytelling, strong messaging and memorable content can leave a lasting impression on the target audience, so when it comes to decision making your brand sticks out in their mind.
Customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that they trust and have an emotional connection to, rather than brands that spit out uninspired and dull content with no personality. An authoritative and consistent voice across marketing material and earned media can help customers relate to your brand and build trust which eventually can develop into brand loyalty.
Steps to developing your brand voice
Start with your Vision, Mission and Values
The brand voice should directly convey a company’s identity which is defined by a clear Vision, Mission and Values and should highlight key differentiators between your business and competitors. Look at your brand’s mission statement, it’s reason for existing, the brand voice should reflect this to your customers.
Audit your current voice
Examine your content and discover your current brand voice. What does your content say about your company? Make sure to examine examples from across your organisation from social media to internal documents. Monitor external content and see which pieces perform the best, what do they have in common? There may be huge variations in the style of the content due to different authors and it’s important to know this so you can create a consistent voice. This will give you a good starting point to develop the voice and messages you would like your company to convey.
Research your audience
Knowing your target audience is crucial to building your brand voice and messaging. Get to know the demographics of your audience, how they interact with your communications channels and what they want from your brand. If you can, create a simple survey to gain feedback on what your target customers think and feel about your brand to ascertain whether your current voice is delivering your message clearly, consistently and leaving the desired impression.
Give your brand a personality
Based on the research you have undertaken in the previous steps, create a personality profile for your company in a few words, as if it were a person. For example, “Our company is credible, formal and ambitious” or “Our brand is fun, humourous and bold.” These profiles can help to inform the messaging and build the voice to convey this tone. Make sure the profile accurately portrays how you’d like to your company to be seen and is appropriate for your target market. The last thing you want is to create an inappropriate and inauthentic voice that will alienate your audience.
Create a style guide
Undoubtedly, there will be many people contributing to the communications channels in a company, so it is useful to create a style guide to keep all employees on track. This can include the personality profile, preferred language to be used when writing about the company, dos and don’ts, key phrases and personality traits of your voice.
Now it’s time to build your voice. Your brand voice should be the personal and honest tone of your company used to keep your target audience interested and engaged. As time passes, there may be many reasons to adjust your brand voice, alterations in the company’s products and services, changes in the market or shifts in your target consumer. It is therefore important to audit your voice regularly and adjust as appropriate.
By Nicola Abernethy
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