Brand voice refers to the way a brand speaks, whether on social media, in press releases, commercials, and email campaigns. Well-known brands like Nike, Chipotle, and Apple speak in a distinct voice that is recognizable across all communication channels, helping drive brand awareness and engagement within their respective industries.
Every brand needs to take time to establish and develop its voice because without it, their words are just noise in a busy world. Here’s what it takes to find your brand voice.
1. Research your industry.
Typically, brands in finance and insurance speak in a very formal and professional voice, whereas fast-food companies and clothing brands have a lighter, more casual tone. But that doesn’t mean your brand has to follow the crowd. Take the time to research companies across a broad range, from startups to traditional businesses, to see which ones are truly connecting with their audience and identify creative ways these companies are getting their messages across.
2. Consider audience background, needs, and preferences.
The next step is to research your audience. Find out what their interests and personalities are and think about how your brand can speak on a level they can relate to. For example, if you’re a forward-thinking finance company that is trying to disrupt the status quo, you need to carefully consider how the brand voice will walk the fine line between sounding intelligent yet bold, without coming across as a rebellious teenager or a stuffy professor.
3. Create a brand persona to understand personality.
A brand persona is simply a profile of the brand as if it was a person you’d meet on the street. Identify the brand’s age, skills, hobby, lifestyle, shopping habits, taste in music and film, and values. You could also create a visual board with images of these characteristics to help you define brand personality.
4. Identify three keywords to describe brand voice.
Now you’re ready to come up with three words that describe the way your brand will speak. Avoid coming up with three synonyms, such as professional, formal, and intelligent, since this doesn’t give you much room to explore different moods. A few interesting sets of keywords you could consider are:
- Kind, reassuring, invigorating
- Energetic, educational, supportive
- Playful, inspiring, cheerful
5. Connect the brand voice to business objectives.
Last, but not least, clarify how the brand voice will be used across various departments and communication channels to achieve business objectives. From sales and customer service to marketing and operations, the brand voice must be used correctly and consistently by every employee that represents the company, both internally and externally.
Consider creating communication guidelines for each department and highlight the benefits of using the brand voice — not just for the company, but for the employee as well.
A well-defined brand voice will empower employees to succeed in their individual roles and help the company grow. Take the time to create a clear and consistent brand voice and you will reap the rewards.