As you weave your way through the world of social media, blogging and web copy, you may find yourself asking: what is my brand voice?
Establishing and maintaining a consistent brand voice will form the way customers, and prospects perceive and view your business. Consider a few examples:
- Apple is famous for short, to-the-point taglines. For the MacBook Pro, “A touch of genius.” For the new AirPods, “Wireless. Effortless. Magical.” As a result, their brand is notorious for being sleek, modern and innovative.
- Dollar Shave Club capitalizes on a witty and humorous brand voice. Their motto, “Shave Time. Shave Money” is quirky, yet direct. On their homepage, viewers are immediately presented with an almost irresistible offer “Look, feel, and shave like a million bucks. Without paying it.” They’ve taken a seemingly mainstream item (a razor) and made it into a fun, trendy community.
Without a voice, a brand is practically indistinguishable from its competitors. If there’s no differentiation between your brand and the next, how will you be remembered?
Try these five tips for finding your unique brand voice.
1. Know your audience.
Who are you marketing to? For example, speaking to consumers and speaking to businesses require different voices entirely.
Create an avatar or buyer persona to hone in on who your audience is. Check out How to Truly Understand Your Customers, for more on buyer personas.
2. Know your purpose.
Is your brand’s purpose to inspire; motivate; inform; persuade? Consider the purpose of your brand, or the purpose your product/service serves.
For example, if your purpose is to inspire, your brand voice will lean more on the side of encouraging and uplifting; if your purpose is to inform, your brand voice may be more authoritative and professional.
3. How well do you know your customer?
While you want to maintain a consistent brand voice, your word choice may differ depending on the mode of communication or particular instance.
For example, in a prospecting email, we can assume you are reaching out to a potential client for the first time; in that case, you might avoid some of the “insider” lingo you’d use with a seasoned client until they become more familiar with your brand.
Find alternative iterations for portraying your brand voice with consideration to time and place.
4. Create a list of words/phrases to avoid.
Establishing a “no-no” list can be advantageous in many ways. For one, you can avoid certain words frequently used by your competitors, thus differentiating your brand.
Secondly, it will help keep your brand voice on track by establishing exactly how it is you want and do not want to be portrayed.
For example, a motivational speaker or productivity coach may want to avoid the word “consulting” in all their branding material because it portrays the wrong image of their service.
5. Simplify it.
Regardless of your business type, friendly and accessible always scores points. Technical, stuffy, word walls of bland copy won’t entice a reader to make a connection to your brand.
If you’re having a hard time simplifying your words, start out by writing everything out on paper (technical jargon and all), then go through and see which words or phrases you can eliminate or parse down.
The goal is to maintain the essence of your thought, without compromising on meaning.
How have you established your brand voice? Let us know in the comments below!