There are many elements of your business that contribute to its success, but perhaps the most important (and intangible) is your brand. From the visual design of your ads to the reputation of your customerservice team, your brand has a voice, and identifying it can improve many aspects of your operations. By understanding the importance of this voice, identifying the characteristics that articulate it, and honing in on your desired perception, you too can take advantage of this powerful tool.
First, it’s important to understand what “voice” is in a marketing sense. Simply put, it is how you say things and what language you utilize when talking about your products, services, and business.
Your voice creates a culture that your customers will recognize and relate to. If properly implemented everything your business produces (emails, website copy, social media messages, etc.) will all have this same tone. Well utilized, a clear voice will connect you to your customer through consistent rhythm, pacing, word choice, and aim.
Defining Your Identity
So how can you craft this elusive unique voice for your brand? The key lies in identifying the following three traits:
● What your brand is
● Who your target customer is
● What you sound like
Maintaining a voice that’s consistent with your current marketing efforts will help strengthen your reputation, identifying your target customer will help craft a voice that resonates with them, and determining what your voice will sound like will help craft the language you use.
While these items can be challenging to nail down, the following steps will help you identify the points that separate you from competitor and help you craft a clear voice that communicates efficiently and personally with your customers:
1. Identify your company’s values- Why was your company started? What is the driving force as to why you are in business? It should be clear from your mission statement, catch phrase or tagline.
2. Pinpoint any basic human values your company embodies- Perhaps your company is more spiritual focused or abstract. Identify what these are.
3. Note what it is about the way your company works that is different- What makes you stand out from your competition? Noting this difference will help show you your priorities and values.
Constructing Your Message
Once you have distinguished yourself and know clearly who you are it is time to select language. There are several linguistic considerations to weigh.
The first is formal vs informal language. This will largely be denoted by your audience. Ask your team which will appeal more to your customers: “Here is an opportunity we would like to bring to your attention” or “Hey there is going to be a great sale coming up!”?
The next is technical vs. simplified language. Depending on what kind of business you are and the education level of your base audience your vocabulary will need to accommodate their reading level. In addition, B2B and industrial organizations will need to deliver language that meets the technical knowledge of their target audience.
Among the more subtle aspects of your voice is colloquial language. If you can make pop culture references and the vast majority of your audience will understand them, inserting some slang into your voice is an option. However if you have an older or more traditional audience you might want to stray away from these. This can be largely dependent on the geographic location of your audience.
The final and most niche consideration is swearing. Rarely there are companies who can get away with swearing as part of their brand voice. Less extreme swear words such as “hell” or “damn” might seem insignificant to you but can still have an impact with your audience. If it is a significant part of your voice proceed with caution.
Once you have developed a clear banding strategy craft your brand voice is an essential next step. A clear brand voice is a simple tool to help your consumers relate and better identify with you, improving your customer service, recognition, messaging, and revenue.