What Does Your Brand Voice Say About You?
Think about your own voice. You alter its tone to express a mood or to make a specific point. You can change the volume or the pitch, but this does not change your personality. It’s still recognizable as your voice.
That’s what you want for your business brand. You want a voice that is recognizable and stands out above all the noise. In order to do this successfully, focus on consistency and repetition: All your marketing materials should be created with the same voice, and this voice must be presented to your clients and prospects on a regular, ongoing basis.
Do you have a mission statement? If not, look back at our earlier article, A Brand on a Mission. If you have one, does it describe your mission in words that portray your brand? Check the words used in the “About” section on your website. This should be an abstract version of your mission, and it should speak in your brand voice. In other words, its personality should reflect not only your mission, but also your values.
If you’re not sure if your brand voice is clear, there are a few things to do:
1. Create a Brand Voice Chart. Here's an example:
In the first column, list about three characteristics that define the culture of your brand. In the Description column, use a phrase to tell how and why you fit the characteristic. The Do and Don’t columns are for you to follow when creating brand visuals or communications.
When you do this exercise, be honest and try to avoid using aspirational characteristics. Instead, if you have brand growth goals, accurately use your current brand voice, but work towards the goals you want to achieve. This brings up an important point. Your brand voice can, over time, be updated to represent revisions to your company, such as accomplishments, product changes, or industry expansion.
2. Review all of your existing sales and marketing materials. Depending on how they came to exist, some may already reflect your personality. Everything else needs a refresh. Here’s a test I learned from The Content Marketing Institute: if you read a piece of content and based on its voice it could belong to your competitor, change it!
3. Educate your staff and writers once you have your voice defined. Be sure that all employees who make social posts or other communications on behalf of your company are fully committed to presenting your brand properly.
4. Your voice should be part of your Brand Style Guide. Include your Brand Voice Chart and list words and phrases (also called drivers) that should be used in brand communications.
Knowing who your brand is makes all the difference. Speak in your brand voice proudly. It represents who you are and what you offer to your market. When you understand and embrace your brand voice, you’ll be authentic to what it stands for. And your customers and prospects will notice.
Until Next CHIME,
Jean & Effie