Brand voice is the emotion and personality that go into a brand’s communications. It should be found in everything your brand produces, from the language it uses to the images in its marketing assets. Your customers should be able to distinguish your brand’s voice from the crowd.
Why is brand voice so important? Having a consistent brand voice is key to a long-lasting brand. If your brand voice is constantly changing, you risk confusing your audience and driving them to a better-branded competitor.
What’s the difference between brand voice and tone? Brand voice should remain consistent across all marketing efforts. It is the personality of your brand.
Tone refers to the emotion behind the particular marketing asset. It can vary depending on the piece the brand produces.
A step-by-step guide to building your brand voice
Step 1: Review your brand’s mission statement Your company’s mission statement should include its values, which you can use to create its personality. Your marketing executions should help consumers connect your brand to its values.
Step 2: Examine your current messaging If you’ve already produced copy or content, you should look over it. Review any marketing efforts your company has done, such as:
• social media posts
• radio ads
• TV ads
• blog posts
• print products
• in-store signage
Do these assets all have a consistent brand voice? Do they match the values found in your mission statement? If they don’t, how can they be improved?
Look especially at the highest-performing assets. What about them are people drawn to? These can tell you what your audience relates to most and can help you plan future marketing efforts.
Step 3: Make an online survey. A simple audience poll can give your company insights into its brand voice. By asking the following questions, you can find out valuable information that can be used to improve your company’s marketing efforts: How would you describe our brand? Do you think our tone is appropriate? If our brand was a person, what do you think it would sound like?
There are plenty of free online tools that let you make a survey in a matter of seconds. You can post the links to social pages, or send them to an email list.
Step 4: Research and understand your audience. Researching a small segment of your best customers can give you a better understanding a brand voice they’ll relate to. By looking at their social media activity, you can get a sense for what their interests are, how they write and things they watch and read. Keep a list of words that describe your top audience, and use it to create your brand voice.
For example, if your best customers are 20-something males who watch Monday Night Football, drink Americanos from Starbucks and read athlete autobiographies, you can model your brand voice to be tough, honest and real.
Step 5: Create a brand voice chart. Determine three to four words that best represent your brand. Then, create a chart that explains how each trait should and shouldn’t be represented in your marketing. It should include a list of your brand traits on the left, a brief explanation of each trait in the next column, and two far-right columns that explain how to use (and not use) each trait.
You can find many great examples of brand voice charts by doing a quick web search.
Step 6: Enforce consistency among employees Now that you have your brand voice figured out, it’s time to relay to the company and give them guidelines on how to implement it. This helps make sure brand standards are maintained consistently throughout the company so all assets seem like they come from the same brand.
Brand voice is crucial to a company’s success. It is the personality consumers interact with, and if they can relate to it, they are likely to become brand advocates. Creating a great brand voice doesn’t have to be difficult, and with these simple steps, you’ll be on your way to an easily recognizable brand.