WHAT DOES YOUR BRAND VOICE SOUND LIKE?
When your brand speaks, what does it sound like? Is it a man, or a woman? Millennial, or a boomer? Do they speak in proper English, or do they use a little slang? Does it sound like a hurried text message? Or, a well thought-out statement?
How your business speaks using the various marketing platforms is known as your “brand voice.” You might view it as more of a personality for your business, the voice you use to communicate with your customers. The question is, what does your brand voice sound like? Take, for example, these three statements:
1. sale today!!!!!! 20% off everything!!!!!
2. Today ONLY: 20% off our entire stock, including sale items. Hurry, while supplies last!
3. Hey y’all! We thought you’d like to know EVERYTHING in the store is 20% off today (yes, even sale items)! Come on down, say hello, and take advantage of this one day sale! See ya soon!
Yes, your brand has a voice.
All three statements give you the same detail: you’re having a sale. However, the way the message is conveyed changes the way you digest that information. We’ve all seen examples of the first line scrolling through social media. A quick, very enthusiastic message that decided to forego capitalization. The second, more matter-of-fact approach offers a little more detail. Then, in the third example, a much more personal, inviting message.
So, which one resonates with you more?
Who are you speaking to?
That’s more of a rhetorical question. We all will react differently, because we all have our own personal voices that read and process these statements as they relate to us as individuals. While one may strike a chord with you, it might have the opposite effect on your best friend. The key is to have a definitive voice that remains consistent.
So, who is the voice of your brand? When you send out an email, a Facebook post, a blog, or even a radio ad, does your brand voice consistently sound like your brand? Is it identifiable? Could someone hear the ad, read the post or email, then have some idea of who it could be from without hearing the name?
The more consistent you are in your messaging, your grammar, and especially your tone, the more recognizable your brand voice will become.
Before you start defining your voice, however, it’s a great idea to, in a sense, personify your brand. If your brand was a person, what would they sound like?
An easy (and very logical) starting point is considering your target audience. Who are the customers you are trying to reach? Understanding who your customers are will help you dictate how you might craft your brand voice. Try to imagine how they would communicate with you in person, on the phone, via text message, email, etc.
Hold on, don't get too crazy!
There are, of course, two sides to every coin. So, while it is important to make sure your voice is reflective of the audience you are trying to reach, it is equally important that your voice also be reflective of what your business represents.
For example, if you ran a health food company, using sharp, snarky attitude might not be the best look for your brand. While that approach has worked for some big name brands, a recent study from social media software company Sprout Social found that “snarky” was the behavior consumers wanted to see the least of in their messaging.
The most desirable behavior from that study? Honesty. And that’s not surprising given the wealth of misinformation out there with false advertising, bait-and-switches, among other misleading advertising techniques.
So, as you work to develop your brand’s voice, keep those things in mind. Take all the liberties you want to be fun and creative, but don’t lose track of what your ultimate goal is: to connect with and gain the trust of your customers.