Most entrepreneurs recognize marketing as an invaluable way to craft a distinctive identity, as well as a necessary component for running a successful business. However, maintaining a strong and consistent company-wide brand voice is often overlooked. A brand voice is the distinctive way a company presents itself to its audience and should be consistent across all communications, including social media, emails, blog posts, and website content. And while this can vary depending on the context (e.g., an annual report will look different than a marketing email), it’s important to define and create a strong brand voice and communicate it with your entire team.
In today’s competitive atmosphere, it can be easy for a company to get buried in the noise. Your brand’s voice is a unique way to make your business stand out from the crowd, and it should be recognizable in all of your company’s communications across any channel or platform. Think of your brand’s voice as its personality: the way that customers identify and remember your business, possibly even before seeing your company name.
A brand voice can be many things: powerful, motivating, absurd, funny, professional, educational, etc. For example, in recent years, the beauty company Dove has become known for its uplifting and positive brand voice that promotes self-love and inner confidence. And Nike’s famous tagline – “Just do it” – has long been associated with confidence and athleticism. When you think of Harley-Davidson, the words “rugged,” “adventurous,” and “aggressive” might come to mind.
Your brand voice should provide insight into your company’s specific culture and vision, and it should be about more than making a hard sell. It’s how you create an emotional connection with potential customers and establish that all important, unforgettable first impression.
Just as important as creating a distinctive and strong brand voice is consistency in its usage. Consistency sets a confident tone for your brand’s communications and promotes familiarity and feelings of comfort among potential customers. And besides making your business more recognizable, consistency suggests reliability and follow-through in every interaction, which is appreciated by consumers across all industries.
A consistent brand voice also signifies trustworthiness and transparency, something that 94% of consumers say is important to them when choosing where to make a purchase. And customers have more choices than ever before, so it’s important that your business has what it takes to stand out in a positive way.
Not surprisingly, 67% of consumers have reported an increase in their online shopping since the beginning of the pandemic, so maintaining a dependable brand voice across all channels should be a significant focus of any business with an online presence.
Understanding the importance of developing and maintaining a consistent brand voice across all company content and communication is essential, but achieving it is often easier said than done.
Create a strong and distinguished brand voice by first analyzing your company’s values: What is your company’s mission and philosophy? What is the unique edge your company has over the competition, and how can you best communicate this to consumers? Be sure to clearly identify your target audience, and if you’re unsure about it, consider a survey (such as through social media) to gain clarity on your customer demographics and who you’re most likely to reach.
Review any existing content (marketing materials, newsletters, social media captions, website content, etc.) – you may already be presenting some aspects of a brand voice to customers without even realizing it. Use your product or service as the inspiration to communicate your brand’s “persona” and consider the tone you’d like to set for future content and interactions.
When you’re ready to begin developing a brand voice and implementing it company-wide, take it one step at a time. You don’t want to overwhelm your team, and you want to make sure that your brand voice is being applied effectively and consistently. Consider the following guidelines for communicating your brand’s voice to everyone involved in creating your business’s content:
The first step to establishing a strong brand voice is deciding what you want to say and how you want to say it. Create an accessible and centralized style guide for graphics and content with standards that establish the elements of your brand’s voice and how you want to be perceived. Many different components go into crafting your brand’s overall voice and style, including colors, images, logos, and the tone of written copy. A style guide is a “living document” and can be added to or changed as your marketing goals evolve.
Consider using a content management tool, such as Content Studio, to create a cohesive brand and stay organized. With everything in one place, teams across all departments, from content creation to accounting, can easily collaborate and reference the materials they need.
Not sure what to include in your style guide? Check out our resource on the top 10 things to include in your style guide.
Companies evolve over time, and so do their customer bases. Trends are constantly changing, and new ideas and content are always appearing on the scene. What works for a company in its early days may eventually become outdated, and you may need to rework your brand voice as your product line or target audience expands. Think of this as a good thing! If your brand doesn’t update as times change, you may start quickly falling behind more current competitors.
Also, take advantage of your most valuable resource: your team members. Frequently seeking feedback from them is a good way to get a fresh perspective and ensure your brand voice aligns with the direction and mission of your company.
Engagement with customers can be an effective way to distinguish your brand voice and maintain the consistency you’re looking for. Creating long-term relationships with customers not only showcases your authenticity, but it also helps you to learn more about your target audience. Having a unified voice throughout every customer interaction, whether it’s through email, social media, or the comments section of a blog post, lets customers know what to expect and signals that you value their feedback.
Create guidelines on how each team member should communicate with customers. While you don’t have to have a catchphrase, it’s important to build awareness of your product or service by utilizing your company’s voice consistently.
Creating a brand voice looks different for every company, but it’s important to apply it consistently across all communications and platforms. Keep your target audience in mind every step of the way and consider what they’re looking for as you develop and roll out your brand. Make sure your brand voice guidelines are easy to understand and accessible to your team, and always be open to feedback and style updates.
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