When most people think of branding, they don’t immediately consider the brand voice, or personality of a company. In many professional circles, branding is associated with visual assets, from the logo a business uses, to the colors and images in its marketing campaigns.
However, there’s a lot more to a brand than just what it looks like. Brands are essentially carefully cultivated personas companies use to connect with their target audience on an emotional level. As such, they need to convey a specific “identity” or personality not just with their image, but also with their messaging, tone of voice, and language choices.
Here’s everything you need to know about brand voice.
A brand voice is essentially the distinctive personality a company conveys through its messaging and communication strategy. When attempting to connect with a specific target audience or buyer, companies use certain kinds of language and speaking styles intended to resonate with that customer.
A brand voice is one of the tools companies can use to differentiate themselves from their competitors, and strengthen their emotional connection with customers. For instance, if a company wants to be perceived as fun and friendly, they may use a lot of informal language in their messaging. A brand trying to appear sophisticated and professional may use more technical, formal terms.
Brand voice is influenced by the flow of the words a company uses in sales and marketing strategies, as well as their style of language, and overall personality. Once created, a strong brand voice template should govern all of the messaging a company uses, whether they’re writing newsletters, creating TV advertisements, or designing videos and podcasts.
Effective branding is how companies separate themselves from their competitors, and develop a meaningful rapport with their target audience. Today’s consumers aren’t just looking for the best prices and features from their products and services. They want to interact with brands who share their values, demonstrate specific personality traits, and deliver unique experiences.
Through an effective brand voice, companies build emotional connections with the audience they want to serve, presenting themselves as “human” entities with distinctive character traits. Alongside other branding elements, such as logos and color palettes, brand voices help to convey what makes a business unique. You can use your brand voice to convince your customers you’re reliable and trustworthy, or capture audience attention with humor and intrigue.
A good brand voice template also helps to direct the content and messaging produced by a company, to make it more impactful. According to one study, 33% customers said a distinctive personality was one of the main things that helped a brand to stand out from the competition.
Learning how to create a brand voice is one of the first things any business leader should do when developing an identity for their organization. There are no hard and fast rules around what a brand voice should sound like. Some companies are humorous and playful, others are professional and formal. There are even well-known brands who distinguish themselves by being a little rebellious.
To create the best brand voice to boost your business results:
1. Define your Brand Essence
The first step in developing a strong brand voice template, is understanding what makes your company unique. Business leaders should take the time to define a few key elements of their core brand before they start working on any messaging or marketing campaigns.
For instance, ask yourself, what is the main promise you make to your customers in regards to your products and services? What kind of solutions do you offer, and what makes your business stand out from competitors? What’s the vision of your business, and the mission you hope to achieve (Aside from making money). Most importantly, how do you want people to perceive your brand?
Do you want to be seen as highly educated and authoritative, friendly and compassionate, or youthful and fun?
2. Identify your Target Audience
The best brand voices enhance sales conversations and improve the results of marketing campaigns by adhering to the expectations and needs of a specific audience. Before you start working on your brand voice, you should have a clear idea of what kind of audience you’re trying to reach, the kind of language they use, and what sort of terms they’re familiar with.
It may be helpful to create some user personas, which highlight the key demographics and characteristics of the customers you’re trying to connect with. Think about what kind of language they’re likely to use when searching for your products and services, and whether they’ll be familiar with technical jargon and complex terms.
3. Know your Competition
When you’re analyzing your target audience, it helps to examine your competitors, to find out what kind of tones and personalities your customers are already responding to. Assessing the messaging and communication strategies used by other brands can help to inspire you when you’re creating your own brand voice and personality.
At the same time, evaluating the competition will also give you a chance to differentiate yourself from the brands you’re competing against. For instance, if most of the companies in your industry use a relatively sophisticated and authoritative voice, you might benefit from using a more friendly, accommodating tone, which makes your brand seem more accessible.
4. Create style and tone guidelines
Finally, it’s important to ensure your brand voice is consistent across all the channels you use to interact with your customers. If you have numerous members of staff and contactors working with your company, provide them with guidelines and documentation to help them convey your voice correctly. You may create brand voice templates, which demonstrate the kind of tone you want your employees to use, as well as the language you’d like them to avoid.
Documenting the components of your brand voice correctly will help to ensure consistency, and make sure your identity remains strong across every channel.
Sometimes, the easiest way to start creating your own brand voice, is to look at examples of successful companies who have created their own distinctive personalities. There are various great examples of brand voice out there, but here are a few worth looking at:
Your brand voice is something you’ll develop over time, as you learn more about your industry, target audience, and company. However, there are a few steps you can take to improve your chances of developing a successful personality. For instance: