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What is a Brand Voice and Why Having One is Important

May 27, 2020

Defining Brand Voice and What it Means for Your Brand

 

Building a brand can be completely overwhelming. Between keeping up with social media trends, trying to pick out what photos to post when and where, and maintaining an up to date website, it’s a lot to juggle. How does everything come together? How do I get my audience to think of my brand in the way I want them to? There are all these moving parts, but put them all together and they become a brand voice!

So what do we mean when we say brand voice? A brand voice is basically a brand’s personality, it’s how it conveys emotions to their target audience, the way the brand speaks in advertisements or in captions on social media or in response to consumers online. The voice of a brand is crucial when it comes to making or breaking the relationship they have with their audience. It should be cohesive, line up with their core values. Your brand’s voice online is going to drive how people view your brand and whether or not they want to follow you, subscribe to your newsletters, or even buy from your business. 

So why is this all important? How your viewers see your brand and how they hear you can influence a LOT of things for them. Let’s be real, most people don’t follow your brand because they’re looking to buy from you, they follow you because they like your content! Which, hopefully, leads to a sale- we’d say  75% of the time it does. However, there’s gotta be some value-added for you to gain their interest when it comes to eventually buying from you. What drives this? Your voice. 

Defining your brand voice is super important when building your brand. It’s equally as important as defining your USP, which we HIGHLY suggest figuring out before you drill down your brand voice. If you need help with that, lucky for you we have a USP worksheet to help you figure it out! But, back to building a brand voice. It’s sort of like that movie about “building the perfect girlfriend”, but instead it’s imagining what your brand would sound like as a person. Would you say your brand is quirky and funny? Strong and empowered? Sophisticated and elegant? Find two words, or three at the most, that you think fit with your brand and use them to inspire and match your voice. This helps figure out the feeling you want your audience to have when reading your messaging, copy, etc.  Let’s dive into some examples so you get a better idea:.

 

Sharpie

Sharpie’s voice focuses on being bold and expressive. They’re very positive in their posts and are always encouraging the creativity of others.

 

Starbucks

Starbucks is a great example of a community-driven brand with a nurturing and lighthearted voice. They include posts about their employees and share updates about how they’re operating during the pandemic to better serve their community.

 

Wendy’s

Oh Wendy’s. We love you and whoever runs your social, mainly your Twitter account. They’re a prime example of being quirky and fun in their brand voice and messaging. When you go to their page, you never know what you’re gonna see, but you know it’ll be funny. They often poke fun at other fast-food chains, which in turn solicits replies or banter from competing brands, and sometimes it goes viral.

Bored? Take a gander through their Tweets + Replies for a good laugh…

 

Much like other aspects of your branding, you need to make sure everyone’s on the same page. You wouldn’t change your logos or fonts from post to post. It’s confusing, and people will lose the meaning of your brand and they’ll probably hit that unfollow button real fast. Brand voice isn’t much different. It should match all across the board-  whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or even in an e-blast. Your audience may slightly differ from platform to platform, but that doesn’t mean you should have a relaxed tone on one and a serious tone on another. Your voice is how your audience recognizes you.

Imagine if you were in a room of your target audience, how would you speak to them? How would you want them to recognize your voice? Are you trying to appeal to a younger audience and therefore can use slang terms, references to internet trends, or specific words that you know they’ll understand? Not that you’re trying to flex on them but you lowkey are. Don’t be shy, put some more emojis in there. Just try to not be extra about it – and with that, we are done for the day using Gen Z terms. 

Or maybe you need to be more informative and sophisticated. Be straightforward in your messages. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. No extra fluff. Quotes here and there are more appealing for this tone, and you should only share what is necessary. This builds an audience that looks for inspiration and ideas, who look to you because you have a  knowledgable voice. Don’t mistake this for being bland or boring, though- there’s plenty of room for bright and engaging visuals here. Personality is still very important, despite the way or tone you’re trying to deliver in, so add it in whenever necessary.

 

We’ve created a list of questions to help you figure out your defining voice:

  1. Why does your audience choose your brand? Do you offer a higher quality service or product? 
  2. Do you support a lifestyle that would appeal to your audience? Are you mission-driven in an area that people would want to support such as a women-owned business? 
  3. What emotions do you want your audience to feel when they see your content? How would this help them choose you over a competitor?

 

Voice and its tone can seem daunting when you’ve got multiple people managing different messaging for your brand. You’ve got someone writing captions for social media, and someone else doing website design and messaging, and someone else writing your blogs. How do you get everyone to harmonize? You should set up a style guide where you define the company voice and how it should be used, much like having a brand style board with the fonts and colors and other things you use specifically for your brand. You can also have someone who’s well-versed on the brand voice review the content before it’s shared. What matters most here is consistency, because you want to build familiarity across all channels for your consumers. When your audience switches from your Insta to your blog, they should see the same voice.

Consumers are 4 times more likely to buy from a company that they feel a connection with. If a customer is looking at your social channels and they don’t feel a connection to your messaging, they’re as good as gone. If they came there to buy something, they’ll simply buy it. But if they’re looking to compare to other brands, you’ve gotta make a good impression fast. You have an average of about 15 seconds before they move on. This is why your brand voice can be so important. Your brand should serve your target audience. Learn how to talk to them. Don’t be shy to ask for feedback and tune into how they respond.

While you can take some inspiration from other brands, at the end of the day, you need to stay true to yourself in how you want your brand to be. (inspirational, we know) Your brand is unique, and it deserves its own voice. Be authentic in whatever that means for your brand. Still not sure how to go about creating or revamping your brand voice? We’d love to be your vocal coach and help you perform well on the social media stage.

 

Written by Nicole Bordelon

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