When you’re working on the branding for your business, do not overlook brand voice. It’s easy to be distracted by the bright lights and shiny colours of brand visuals, spending endless hours refining the colour palette, picking fonts and tweaking the logo.
But that’s a big mistake. The message is the core of all your marketing efforts. It’s the words you use that make the difference between rampant sales and stony silence.
So what is brand voice anyway?
Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like – it’s the way you talk to your customers. If your brand were a person, how would they speak? Brand voice is a key part of your overall brand image. If you haven’t already nailed it, it’s worth getting sorted before you send any more messages out into the world.
Why is brand voice important?
Your branding tells people who you are and why you’re different. Research shows that people are much more likely to buy from a company with strong branding. People aren’t really buying the product or service. They’re buying the story.
A strong brand voice builds recognition and engagement among your customers, earning their trust and boosting loyalty. That means more sales, both in the short and long term.
Nine questions to help you craft an awesome brand voice
Want a unique and consistent brand voice but don’t know where to start? Here are a few prompts to get the creative juices flowing.
1 – What is your mission and what are your brand values?
This is the core of who you are as a brand and should be reflected in everything you say and the way you say it.
2 – Who is your target market?
Make sure you’re using a tone that resonates with the people you most want to talk to.
3 – Who are your direct competitors?
What do they sound like? How can you differentiate yourself?
4 – In terms of brand image, which brand do you see yourself as closest to?
This doesn’t have to be from the same industry. Just a brand you feel aligned with in terms of values and personality.
5 – What brands do you NOT feel aligned with?
It’s just as important to know what you don’t want to sound like!
6 – If your brand was a person, who would they be?
A young, funky, globetrotting teenager or an older British gentleman? Make sure you have a clear vision of your brand persona. Then imagine them talking.
7 – What is their tone like?
Does your brand speak formally, or are they more chatty? Are they funny, or serious? Is your brand bold and authoritative, or more reserved?
8 – What vocabulary do they use?
What words does your brand use frequently? And what words would you never slip from their lips?
Would your brand throw the word ‘fabulous’ or even ‘fab’ about? Or would ‘wonderful’ be more appropriate?
9 – What style points does your brand use?
Does your brand use British or American English? How does it format dates? ‘15th March 2017’ or ‘March 15 2017’? What words does it capitalise? How does it use punctuation? ‘Dear Jan,’ or ‘Dear Jan’?
Think it doesn’t matter? Think again. Consistency makes copy easier to read and digest – and that’s priority number one!
How to use your brand voice consistently
Once you have a clear and unique brand voice that perfectly reflects your brand personality, put it on paper. If you already have a brand style guide that covers visuals, add in a section on brand voice. This document should be given to everyone who has a hand in your communications to ensure a consistent image.
A brand voice that people want to listen to is a precious thing!
Still struggling to craft yours? Ask about our small business workshops to get the professional guidance you need.