Brand building is a nuanced art that extends beyond logos and taglines. An indispensable element in this process is the brand voice, a unique communication style articulating a brand’s identity. In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of brand voice, explore its significance, differentiate it from brand tone, and provide seven actionable tips for developing a compelling brand voice that resonates with your audience.
What is a brand voice?
Brand voice is the unique manner in which your brand communicates and unveils itself to the world. It should seamlessly align with your company’s core values, resonating with and captivating your target audience. A meticulously crafted brand voice stands out distinctly, becoming synonymous with the brand itself. This consistency not only cuts through the clutter of the marketplace but also positions your brand as a standout player among competitors.
What’s the difference between a brand’s voice and a brand’s tone?
While brand voice and tone might appear interchangeable, they are distinct components that shape a brand’s identity. Brand tone encompasses the specific phrasing and attitude employed in communication, adapting to the context, medium, or situation. In contrast, brand voice remains constant, providing the overarching personality. Consider adjusting your behaviour based on the situation—you remain authentic, but your presentation style adapts to fit the scenario.
The Significance of Brand Voice
Much like you can enumerate the traits shaping your personality, your brand’s personality—articulated through its voice—defines its uniqueness. A robust brand voice serves as a beacon, guiding your brand through the crowded marketplace and helping it build and retain a dedicated audience. Here’s how:
- Standing Out from the Crowd: Thirty-three percent of consumers attribute a brand’s distinct personality as the key factor in standing out. In a bustling market, this distinction can be the deciding factor in gaining or losing a customer.
- Creating Genuine Connections: Authenticity is paramount, with 86% of consumers valuing it in their choice of brands. Crafting a brand voice that aligns with values fosters trust and connection, nurturing enduring relationships.
- Forging a Consistent Identity: In the era of omnichannel experiences, maintaining a consistent brand voice across all touchpoints ensures a seamless and satisfying customer journey, increasing conversion likelihood.
- Building Recognition and Loyalty: A strong brand voice forms the bedrock of a memorable brand. Research indicates a direct correlation between brand recognition and loyalty, highlighting a defined voice’s role in cultivating trust and fostering brand loyalty.
Distinct Brand Voice in Action
Still unsure about the nuances of a unique brand voice? Let’s explore examples of brands that have perfected this art:
Apple: Confident, Direct
Apple’s messaging exudes confidence and directness. Whether on their website, social media, or in-store, the clean, simple, and clear messaging underscores their leadership without arrogance.
- Privacy. That’s iPhone.
- No wonder your selfies look so good.
Skittles: Humorous, Mischievous
Skittles engages with irreverent humour, fostering a playful rapport with their audience across platforms.
- The official candy of pogchamps. Sorry mom, you can’t pause it!
- People who are quarantining without Skittles… What are you trying to prove?
Dove: Empowering, Kind
Dove champions authentic beauty, using empowering and inclusive language across its platforms to connect with consumers.
- We see beauty all around us.
- Let’s change beauty.
Harley-Davidson: Strong, Rebellious
Harley-Davidson appeals to riders valuing freedom and independence, employing a daring, aspirational, and rebellious voice.
- All for freedom. Freedom for all.
- United, we will ride.
- Grab life by the bars.
7 Tips for developing your company’s brand voice
Are you feeling lost about where to kickstart your brand voice development? Dive into these seven practical strategies that resonate with your audience and give your brand the spotlight it deserves.
1. Assess Your Current Messaging
Embarking on the journey to define your brand voice requires thoroughly examining your existing messaging landscape. Whether it’s your website, social media platforms, in-store communication, or outdoor advertising, take a moment to reflect:
- How is your brand coming across?
- Does your messaging align with your product and brand values?
- Has your messaging evolved with your brand’s growth?
- Where can improvements or realignment be made?
- Are there inconsistencies, especially across various channels?
Compile a comprehensive report to identify high-performing brand messages and areas needing enhancement. Understanding customer engagement on popular pages or posts is crucial for tailoring your content to audience preferences.
2. Scrutinize Your Company’s Mission Statement
Your company’s mission statement is a cornerstone for developing your brand voice. It encapsulates your company’s primary purpose and collective goals, laying the groundwork for effective customer communication. Take, for instance, a fitness company focused on educating consumers about healthy habits and empowering them to achieve fitness goals. This mission sets the tone for a brand voice that is helpful, inclusive, and welcoming.
3. Review Your Company’s Core Values
Like a mission statement, core values shape your brand’s personality. If clarity and authenticity rank high among your company’s values, let your brand voice mirror that commitment—strive for a straightforward, honest, and reliable voice. Starbucks provides a real-world example, embodying an inclusive, warm culture and connection with transparency in its expressive and joy-sparking brand voice.
4. Conduct a Competitor Analysis
Analyzing how competitors communicate unveils valuable insights for shaping your communication style. Explore your competitors’ language, communication style, and emotional impact. Delve into questions like:
- Is their language straightforward or flowery?
- Do they position themselves as friends or authorities?
- What emotions does their copy evoke?
- How do their mission statements and core values align with their brand voice?
Identifying common themes and areas for differentiation from competitors is pivotal.
5. Research Your Audience
Tailoring your brand voice to your audience is crucial, considering demographics influence content reception. Crafting a brand voice aligned with audience preferences fosters trust and engagement. Create a buyer persona representing your target customer, considering demographics, personality traits, motivations, and communication preferences. Whether you are a digital native or prefer in-person communication, understanding your audience is key to crafting a resonant brand voice.
6. Define What Your Brand Voice Isn’t
Gain clarity on your brand voice by defining what it isn’t. Conduct a brainstorming session or revisit your mission and values to compile a list of undesired descriptors. For instance:
- Our brand voice is not stuffy.
- Our brand voice is not alienating.
- Our brand voice is not self-important.
- Our brand voice is not strict.
This list guides the development of a clear, positive brand voice.
7. Develop Brand Voice Guidelines
With a clear vision of your brand voice, create comprehensive guidelines for consistent communication. These guidelines should include:
- A statement describing your brand voice, e.g., transparent, inclusive, and authentic.
- Detailed attributes include being friendly, conversational, and connecting with consumers on a human level.
Ensure your brand voice guidelines are a roadmap for all future brand communication efforts.