A catchy and unique logo can be an effective marketing tool for your business … but it’s definitely not your only branding concern. Logos inevitably become part of a company’s brand and quickly recognizable by stakeholders. However, defining your brand voice is equally as important to differentiate yourself and communicate value to your customers and prospects.
What is Your Brand Voice?
The language and style you use across all of your content make up your brand voice. It’s how you reflect your personality and create meaningful connections with your target audience.
Your target audience is constantly being bombarded with messaging from various mediums, but with an effective brand voice you can separate your business from the crowd.
Your brand voice can portray many different types of tones, such as formal/informal, humorous, light-hearted, authoritative, passionate and knowledgeable. The key is finding what two or three represent you best, and developing a tone that is consistent. You will be better equipped to deliver a message that makes a lasting impression when you deliver uniformity.
How Do You Identify Your Brand Voice?
Before you can start publishing content that showcases your voice, you have to establish what that voice is for your business. Start by analyzing your mission statement or core values. These are the basis of your entire organization and should be reflected in all of your marketing efforts. If you haven’t already, now is also a good time to do an assessment on any and all content that you have produced. Look for any repetitive themes as these will give you an idea of the tone that you have already established. We do this as part of a comprehensive content audit that helps us better create a voice, tone and strategy for our clients.
You should also make note of any current external messaging that received positive feedback. Whether it’s a blog post that had the most views, a Facebook post with the highest engagement or a tweet with the most retweets or likes, popular content can provide a glimpse of what has truly resonated with your followers. Stick to what has worked and make it part of all marketing efforts moving forward.
It’s also important to recognize elements that are not part of your voice. Everyone is familiar with brands like Wendy’s that are playful and witty with their social media presence. They have established humor as a part of their brand voice, and it resonates with their audience. However, just because it works for them doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. If a certain personality trait isn’t part of your company’s brand, don’t try to force it just because you see someone else having success with it. Be true to your brand.
How Do You Maintain Consistency With Your Brand Voice?
Publishing a steady flow of content that follows your brand voice is the only way to establish it in the minds of your audience, but this can be tricky if you have multiple content producers on your team. Over time, everyone develops their own writing style, which may not directly coincide with the voice your company is trying to institute. If you’re using more than one writer to produce your content, they each need to be taught how to write with your tone in mind.
First, include everyone in any discussions during the infant stages of crafting your brand voice. If they can follow and understand the thought process behind it, it will become much easier for them to implement when it comes time to creating content. Next, reinforce your voice with clear guidelines and expectations for each piece. Rather than just assign something to one of your team members, explain what you are hoping to accomplish and provide a brief outline or overview of what the content should contain. This will make their job easier as a writer and save you time on edits before it’s time to publish.
Is Your Brand Voice the Same on Every Channel?
Every successful marketing campaign will utilize multiple channels to reach its specified target audience. With social media, blogs, video, podcasts and more, there’s no shortage of options to reach people. While it’s important to stay consistent with your voice, a wide variety of mediums provides the opportunity to get creative with that voice.
Videos and podcasts are organic and conversational, giving you a chance to be less “buttoned up” than you might normally be and inject some personality into your brand voice. LinkedIn and blogs are inherently more professional and typically require a more serious tone in your content, which can increase legitimacy in the eyes of your audience if your brand voice is typically more carefree and witty.
Just as you do with any content you deliver, assessment is an important part of successful brand management. If you are publishing content often, set aside time each month to review and see how your content is being received. If you are less frequent, perhaps a quarterly review will do.
No matter the case for your business, it’s important to analyze what’s working and what isn’t working. Over time, you’ll be able to conclude the aspects of your brand voice that are resonating with your audience and should be continued, or those that missed the mark and may need tweaking. Developing your brand voice is a process so leave yourself room to grow and change as needed, and you’ll be well on your way to establishing a deep connection with your audience.