Just like logo and design systems tell your brand’s story visually, the way a brand writes, speaks and sounds is a fundamental part of your expression. A strong brand voice creates a compelling experience for your audience by activating personality to communicate purpose. Developing a clear brand voice is a crucial part of building a better overall brand identity, and key to creating impactful content.
It takes time to carefully craft an authentic and distinct voice. Getting there means outlining the unique set of language principles and writing tactics that guide sound and style in order to consistently deliver on your brand’s experience.
If you’re not sure what your brand voice sounds like, these tips will help you begin to establish your brand voice, instantly improving your branded content and enabling you to communicate with your audience more effectively.
Tip #1: Know Your Audience
Before you can communicate effectively with your audience, you need to know who they are. What is important to them? What drives them away? How are they interacting with your brand from day to day? Understand the answers to these questions and tailor your content in a way that speaks to your audience and works for their lifestyle.
Manhattan Mini Storage has a bold, savvy tone of voice and relevant messaging that connects with the trials and tribulations of being a New Yorker.
Tip #2: Start a Conversation
Voice provides an opportunity to activate personality and humanize brand by sparking a direct dialogue with your audience. Imagine a real-life conversation you might have with someone about your brand — you probably wouldn’t spend the whole time selling yourself. Ask questions, tell stories and engage with your audience on a human level.
Southwest Airlines uses a helpful tone with conversational language and direct questions to humanize its brand and interact with people on a personal level.
Tip #3: Avoid Style Inconsistencies
Your brand voice sets expectations for your audience and helps them understand who you are and what you’re like to interact with. Be as consistent as possible with the style of your language and tone in order to avoid confusing your audience and diluting your brand identity.
From its packaging to social media, method maintains a consistently light, playful tone along with its characteristic use of all lower-case text.
Tip #4: Dare to be Different
If your industry has traditionally stuck to a single style or tone, breaking out of the status quo can allow you to differentiate yourself in a unique and memorable way. Trust your audience to adapt and appreciate a change in the way you sound. After all, your audience is made up of flexible, complex humans that are not defined solely by profession or specific demographics.
Oscar challenges the stiff, corporate voice that permeates the insurance industry by embracing a warm, witty tone that speaks simply and from a human perspective.
Tip #5: Always be Yourself
At the end of the day, brand voice needs to be an authentic output of who you are and what you stand for. Don’t feel a need to jump on the latest bandwagons or trends if it isn’t true to your identity. Use your brand’s core purpose, goals and personality to drive content creation and express yourself from there.
Sawyer Schweitzer is a Consultant, Insights and Strategy at Monigle