Want to build a business brand that creates a lasting impression? Give your company a voice that your customers want to listen to.
When you think of the brand Apple, what comes to mind?
All around the globe, Apple is perceived with this idea. Their slogan, Think Different, communicates a premium brand that has broken the mold. Across all its advertisement platforms, they convey these qualities with a minimalistic aesthetic. It goes in sync with their aim of providing an uncomplicated user experience. This efficiency and consistency have now become standardized for its customer base.
So how has Apple promoted this image in the minds of its collective audience? By consistently communicating its branding elements with a distinctive voice.
Your customers’ perception of your business is based on your branding. This perception is not passively conceived, but actively created by the business through brand voice. Think about the messages you send to your customers. Or your interactions with stakeholders at every level. All these messages and interactions collectively formulate your brand’s voice.
As a business owner, you must create a brand language for your company that customers cannot miss. To help out, we have created a guide with all the information you need to develop a voice that people want to hear!
Today, customers have several options for a single product or service. Hence, businesses are spending big bucks to create a unique image by which they can stand out. Even if your company does not interact with customers directly, you have to ensure you are always around. This presence is crucial to a business's survival and is created through branding.
To understand how impactful the concept of brand voice is, let us switch positions. Think from the lens of a consumer and not a business owner.
In these examples, you are being told something. A message is being conveyed to you about the respective business. Maybe it is about their story, their values, or even why they are a great company. And the message is communicated in a specific or memorable way. This style of communicating is the brand voice.
Your brand voice personifies your brand and adds a relatable, human touch to it. In other words, it gives your brand a distinct personality that can be recognized by your target audience. This recognition breeds credibility, which ultimately builds brand loyalty.
So, what goes into brand building and finding a voice that turns prospects into loyal buyers?
Building a brand voice is as much a creative process as a strategic one. There is no single mantra to create the perfect brand voice for yourself. However, we have listed a few foundational steps for creating your brand language. Make sure to tailor them to the needs of your brand strategy, and you can find your voice in no time!
First things first, the mission that is at the core of your business should be reflected in your brand voice. Every organization works with specific foundational goals and values. Looking at these aspects to design your brand voice is a great place to start.
For example, imaging your brand aims to disrupt an industry with new-age technology. Your voice can then sound ambitious, optimistic, and forward-thinking. Or if you are an eco-conscious brand, you might have a warm, caring, yet honest voice.
Once your goals and values are determined, finalize the customers to whom they will cater. Brand voice is built around the qualities of your existing and potential customers. This is known as understanding your buyer’s persona.
The buyer’s persona is a character-based representation of different types of customers. This can include demographics, their motivations, pain points, and more. Then you create fictional characters, each personifying a different customer behavior.
How can you understand this behavior?
Businesses are constantly competing for the attention of their customers. If you are new to the market, you need to know your competitor’s brand voices are already being spoken. Analyze their messaging to understand how you can distinguish yourself from the noise.
Determine the values around which the other players in the market have built their voices. Review customer response to the brand voice of your competitors. You can do that by following it across multiple platforms. Assess their online presence and engagement. Look out for the messages they send to their consumers. This can also tell you what resonates best with your audience.
Just like an individual has distinct personal qualities, a brand voice has its own traits. These traits contribute to the essence of your brand. Your brand voice should consist of values that your customers hold. It should speak the language that they understand. For example, if your target audience is people aged 60 and above, you cannot speak in Gen-Z slang.
When you think of your brand as a person, list out some adjectives that come to mind.
These traits can give you a better understanding of how your brand should be perceived.
When doing a creative branding exercise, you want to make sure that you take calculated risks. This involves understanding the likes and dislikes of your customers. Do not incorporate messages to which your customers can react negatively.
The best way to do this is to eliminate what you are not or do not want to convey. You can adopt a ‘this versus that’ brand marketing strategy. Start by making a list of the adjectives that your brand voice stands for. Against this, make a list of adjectives your brand voice does not stand for.
For example, your final output might look like this:
At the end of this exercise, the contrast that fleshes out will give you a clear idea of your brand voice.
Your brand voice is often conveyed through multiple platforms, digital or physical. Thus, you must ensure your brand communicates the same message across all interactions.
Use style guides and brand templates to map out the characteristics of your brand voice. A style guide is a documented usage of your brand voice and language. The rules for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and more are included in this document.
A brand voice template or chart is a tabular document within your style guide. It lists all the features you have outlined in the steps above as well as the DOs and DONTs. It also provides references for translating your traits into a piece of communication.
For example, it tells you how the attributes of ‘welcoming and helpful’ can be executed in the form of a message.
Take a look at Starbucks’ or Mailchimp’s Style Guide for more inspiration.
People trust your brand voice because its personality appeals to them. They connect to features depicted in your message, and it strikes the right chord. So, once you create your brand voice, it should not die down. You can ensure this by balancing consistency, innovation, and practicality in your voice.
All the mediums via which your brand speaks should have uniformity in messaging. How you choose to deliver that message depends on your creativity. But, ultimately the message has to be synchronized.
For example, your brand runs a social media campaign that supports climate control. Post this, you cannot advertise or use anything that adversely affects the climate. Such deviations can cost you the trust of your customers. Moreover, it can confuse potential buyers.
To maintain consistency, you can follow the following exercises -
We live in a world where social, economic, and cultural boundaries are constantly shifting. This means that the values of your consumer are also changing. Owing to that, you cannot be rigid with the brand voice of our business. Incorporate current market trends in your voice to stay relevant to your audience.
If consistency ensures trust, then innovation ensures satisfaction. Both of these are extremely important for business sustainability. For example, consumers are increasingly aware of animal cruelty through cosmetic testing. Several skincare brands have updated their voice to convey that their products are cruelty-free. Communicating this in brand collaterals gives customers the satisfaction of being responsible consumers.
Make sure your services are in sync with your brand voice. Your business should deliver the quality and experience that your brand voice promises. This forms the practicality of your brand voice.
44% of consumers believe a brand's communication stands out because of its quality of customer service. The former goes down, and the latter follows.
In the long run, it is the quality of your services that will add value to your brand voice. So, if you don't have practical results to portray, your brand voice ceases to stand out.
Isn't it fascinating how brand voice can make or break your business? All it takes is a few simple steps of creative branding to develop your desirable voice. And remember to throw in a bit of experimenting here and there, especially in the initial days. You can try out different messages or content pieces to see what sticks. Examine if certain aspirational traits do not work for your brand. And be flexible with refreshing your brand voice if needed. With that, it is time to create your own powerful brand.
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