In this blog, we’re going to cover brand voice. This is an important component of developing a brand. The definition of brand voice is… If you’re thinking we don’t sound like ourselves, you’re right. Let’s try that again:
When you think about a favorite brand, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s the visual aspects – their logo or the memorable color palette used on everything from web to print ads. But there’s so much more to brand than visuals alone. There’s also the verbal component made up of many moving parts. If you think about it, a brand is like a puzzle made up of different, but equally important, pieces. And just like a puzzle, if one piece is missing, the whole thing is off. One piece of that brand puzzle is the “brand voice.”
Give It a “Goog”
Let’s start with the official definition of brand voice. Type it in on Google and you’ll end up with a page full of descriptions:
- It’s the way you talk to your customers.
- It’s the way you connect.
- It’s the attitude and values of the brand while addressing the target audience.
And it doesn’t stop there! But for the sake of this blog, let’s stick with ODEA’s definition of brand voice, pulled right from the pages of our Brand Playbook:
Brand Voice: Characterizes a brand’s personality, which is naturally reflected in the brand language and identity.
In other words, brand voice is everything from how you want to be perceived, to the phrases you use, to the industry terms you should know. So as you’re thinking of attributes to help shape your brand voice, also think of how you execute that voice in terms of word choice. What industry terms should you use and/or avoid? What phrases might be best understood by your audience, considering their generation?
What would you guess our brand voice is? If you said friendly, confident, and sassy – gold star for you! And even if you didn’t pick the exact same adjectives, you probably came up with some that are pretty similar.
Tell Me Why It Matters
Your wish is our command. (Did you catch that sassiness?) Here are three reasons why brand voice matters:
Much like the characteristics that make you who you are, the brand voice does the same for a brand. You’ve probably met a human that left a memorable impression on you before. “What a great personality,” you thought after chatting. Maybe they were quirky, extremely funny, or a great storyteller. Whatever the case may be, their unique personality stuck out in your mind and gave you a sense of who they were – and likely a desire to connect with him or her again. As marketers, we want to see the same thing happen with brands. Your unique, one-of-a-kind personality should draw your audience in and keep them coming back for more! A brand voice helps you do just that.
You’re Speaking My Language
For a brand to be successful, it needs a loyal customer base. To build up a loyal customer base, it needs customers to consider them a trusted voice. You probably already see the connection we’re making here. Brand voice is one more tool in our trusty toolbox of ways to connect with customers. We need to speak the language of our audience to build trust. And why is this important? People buy from brands they trust (and identify!) with. So, remember it’s not about just establishing a brand voice. Building trust with customers depends on how you execute that voice.
Be the Same Person Everywhere
If your website exudes a friendly, caring, and knowledgeable voice, you want that voice to carry throughout all of your content to help build brand recognition. So, your social media strategy probably wouldn’t include calling out the competition (we see you, Wendy’s). No matter if a consumer is on your site, seeing your tweets, or looking at a digital ad campaign, an established brand voice helps consumers recognize your brand and know what to expect when engaging with you. And that’s why documenting your brand voice is just as important as finding it! Once you’ve determined what your brand voice is, put pen to paper and make sure anyone who executes marketing on your behalf is using the same voice.
A little note: Determining your brand voice is important, but you also need to live your brand. If your voice is friendly, knowledgeable, and positive, encourage everyone on your team to use that same voice when interacting with customers. Whether they’re reaching out on social media on behalf of the company, responding to a customer by email, or solving a problem via chat, encourage and reward team members who interact in an equally friendly, knowledgeable, and positive tone.
Finding Your Voice
So how do you figure out your brand voice? As we said earlier, this is just one piece of the branding puzzle. Remember that it should coincide with the rest of your branding elements – from the visual to the verbal. When brainstorming with your team, try getting all possible ideas out onto a whiteboard and discuss each one. Ask yourselves: where is there evidence of this voice in our existing marketing? Does this feel true to who we are? Are there any downsides to communicating this way with our audience? Are there stronger, BOLDER words to use than this?
As always, if you need help finding your brand voice, ODEA is here to help!