In the world of branding, differentiation is a primary driver of success. However, it’s increasingly challenging for brands to stand out in a noisy, crowded marketplace where countless brands are competing across multiple channels for audience attention. One of the most effective ways to differentiate your brand and stand out from the crowd is to develop your own distinctive brand voice.
Brand voice is how your brand expresses its personality and messaging, the tone in which you engage with your audience. Brand voice involves not only what you have to say, but how you say it—through word choice, medium, and presentation. A great brand voice will genuinely reflect your brand’s personality, vision, messaging and brand promise in a way that truly resonates with your customers, empowering you to strengthen your brand differentiation and ultimately boost your bottom line.
The following top three tips will help you develop and use your brand voice to best effect — and are proven brand stratgies we use with our clients.
Top 3 Tips for Developing Your Brand’s Voice
1. Who Do You Think You Are?
The first and most vital step to building a brand voice is to understand who your brand is, it’s personality and what it stands for, and what you are endeavouring to consistently deliver, through your brand promise, to your customers.
Image via www.katespade.com
Unfortunately many brands fail from the start, because they haven’t develop their brand profile using a system like the Personality Profile Performer™, which provides the foundations, direction and development parameters for a brands’ tone of voice. It’s also really important to understand that the personality of your brand and how it expresses itself and does things has a big impact on customer perceptions, who consequently help shape a brands tone of voice through their interactions with it, particularly online.
Regardless of what you want your brand to be, it is imperative to ensure that your customers relate to your brand vision. If your perception of your brand is contrary to that of your customers, out of alignment, then the brand voice you develop will not ring true—and this disconnect will alienate your customers. Your brand voice must be authentic in order to be effective.
2. Making Your Brand Voice Personal
Developing a personal voice ensures that you’re presenting customers with a brand, rather than a commodity. A commodity is a product or service that’s largely price driven, used with little thought to what it stands for, and has no real compelling reason to use that same product or service again, apart from price—but a brand is something customers find emotionally compelling, can get behind, remain loyal to, and encourage others to purchase and use too.
In order for your brand to be successful it needs a brand voice that is personalised, compelling, and accessible. Your brand voice should represent the hallmark of your brand, and convey an authentic honesty that reflects your brand’s values, story, platform, and market positioning.
Creating a personal brand voice requires establishing the personality of your brand in a way that reflects or influences customer perceptions, as discussed above, and then identifying and structuring communications throughout your company in terms of syntax, viewpoints, semantics, and word choice to amplify that personality.
Image via www.lush.co.uk
Even within the same product categories, brands can have very different and distinctive personal voices. As an example, beauty companies Lush and L’Oreal offer many of the same types of products—but the brand voice for each company is unique.
The language Lush uses in its marketing and brand collateral focuses on the eco-friendly qualities of their makeup, while L’Oreal’s word choice and descriptions draw upon science and innovation. Here’s how each of these brands describes their moisturisers:
Lush: In these little pots is every last ounce of our experience and expertise, along with a world of high quality, natural ingredients.
L’Oreal: Proven science, cutting-edge innovations captured in luxurious textures for a sumptuous skin care experience.
Within these descriptions, you may also note that Lush takes a more direct and conversational tone, while L’Oreal conveys greater sophistication through sentence style—which matches the high-end fashion perception of the brand.
3. Choosing the Right Channels and Keeping Them Consistent
It’s a multi-channel world out there, and not every channel is effective for every brand message. What sounds engaging as a spoken message, such as a YouTube video or a radio commercial, may fall flat in a different medium like text or graphics, and vice versa.
Once you’ve established your brand voice, underpinned by the direction from your brand profile outputs, it’s important to ensure your messaging is adjusted to suit the marketing channels you’re using to establish that voice—and further, that you’re choosing the channels where your audience is likely to receive your message and hear your voice and potentially engage with or respond to it. If your brand voice targets Millennials, for example, more traditional channels like television commercials, and print advertisements are unlikely to deliver much return on the investment.
But regardless of the channels you use, consistency is the key to a powerful and effective brand voice. The brand voice is a reflection of your brand promise, and should be cultivated to infuse every piece of brand collateral and every touch point, from your website to your customer service representatives and the way your employees answer the phone. Developing a consistent brand voice will drive greater customer engagement and loyalty, increasing your brand value and your revenues.
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So, what do you think?
• Have you focused on developing a brand voice? What’s the personality and tone of your brand?
• Do your customers’ perceptions match your own views of your brand?
• How well do your marketing messages align with your brand voice?
• What is the personality of your brand, and does your voice authentically reflect that personality?
• Does your brand strategy include using the appropriate and relevant channels to reach your target audience? Does your brand voice come across distinctly through those channels?
• How consistent is your brand voice? Is it reflected across all of your brand collateral, touch points and communications channels?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!