Brand Voice is the single most important part of your Brand -and yet all too often, it takes a back seat to the visuals. Averaging 7,000 + words a day, humans do words all day, every day, and so does your business.
NIKE – JUST DO IT ← Three Words, Three Syllables, That Together Have Forever Changed Public Perception. Your customers may stop by because of your logo, but they will stick around because of your Brand Voice.
-Words. The right words at the right time and in the right place can be your greatest asset or your undoing. Think about how you speak to your customers today compared to pre-internet presence. Different, right?
Whether you’re hearing about Brand Voice for the first time or want a refresher, you’ve arrived at the one-stop article and How-To Guide on Creating Your Brand Voice. Let’s do this.
10 minute read time
|What Is A Brand Voice |
Any time you write or speak as your businesses, you’re using Brand Voice. Business cards, website copy, job ads, hell -even your Google profile uses it, but are you using it to your advantage?
Most people toss around their voice without a second thought, not realizing that they’re flinging around seriously valuable real estate.
Check out these sale ads. If you passed these two signs on the road, which would you remember? What can you infer about their business by their sign?
Admittedly, example one opted for a tired, generic expression. Whereas the second example didn’t sell at you. They spoke to you, likely causing you to smile. At the very least, you know that their Brand is light-hearted, approachable, and funny.
What can you say about the first sample? -Not much.
Brands are the result of psychology and creativity harmoniously colliding at full-speed. To turn a passerby into a sale and a single purchase into a life-long customer, you have to build a relationship with your audience.
Which of the two would you consider having a relationship of any kind with? My money is on the latter.
Every company has a Brand Voice, but it takes personality to make it compelling.
RECAP >>> Brand Voice Is Anything My Brand Says – ✓
Brand Voice & Personality
Is your hair standing straight-up from all the personality that just hit ya upside the head? Even if you don’t like our Brand Voice – I guarantee you, you’ll think about my sites again.
They’re websites…no tech bells or whistles, but in five seconds flat, you know exactly who the BYOBrand Podcast and Writing Wit are and what to expect.
A Brand Voice is your Brand’s personality incarnate. The words you use and in what order matter.
“I’m not sure, sir. Would you mind greatly elucidating the matter for me? “
“What? I don’t understand you -explain.”
“Go back. You lost me. “
“Excuse me, can you repeat that? I had trouble understanding you. “
Do you see what I mean?
All four sentences ask the same question. Yet, just by the words used and the order they were used in, readers have a solid idea of the speaker. A Strong Brand Voice instantly identifies who you are as a company by infusing your personality.
For customers to make an emotional connection, you’ll need to become more than someone selling a product. You’ll have to become a Brand who uses your Voice and uses it well.
“When Someone Scrolls Through Your Site or Reads An Ad, The Voice They Should Hear In Their Heads Should Be Yours. “-Hannah Ellaham
Consider your company’s personality. Are you funny? Ironic? Friendly, Cozy? Whatever you are, accentuate that through your Brand Voice. That’s called Tones of Voice, but I’ll save all that for another podcast episode.
RECAP >>> A strong Brand Voice leverages my personality – ✓
Finding Your Brand Voice
Finding your Brand Voice starts by taking a good look at your Core Values .
Values are the hyper-specific words that articulate who you are as a company and what you stand for. What are yours?
Here’s an example Value and application from Writing Wit
Without the Brand Voice, values are hollow, meaningless words – confident, customer-centric, friendly, witty But, when you apply your Core Values to what you say and do….
What Are You Even Doing If You Aren’t Getting Witty Wit It
Can you see the difference?
By itself, the Value feels like going on a date with someone who says how thoughtful they are. As we all know, you can say something all damn day, but you have to live it for it mean anything.
Think of each value as a blueprint, profiling your principal character traits. Are you fearless? Then, be confident when you speak. Rather than asking your customers, “Can I help you with anything? I’ll be right here if you do” (which has always had a tinge of the sales stalker lurking in the corner) Take a more assertive approach, “Hi there! Are you searching for something in particular?
Once you’ve digested your Values and how they impact your personality, next, it’s time to refine and polish using headlining features.
If your Ideal Customer Avatar was browsing your site and you had 8 – 12 seconds to win them over, what qualities does your Voice need to immediately convey to capture their attention? Whatever those traits are for you, those are your Headlining Features.
There are two types of Headlining Features : Primary and Secondary.
Beginning with sample below as a guide, think about your Brand’s Personality and your customers. Ask yourself,
What Does My Audience Respond To?
Are There Defining Aspects Of My Personality Which Differentiate Me From My Competition? Of Course, There Are! What Are They?!
Which Values and Beliefs Do I Share With My Audience?
There are probably an infinite number of attributes you want to include in your Primary Features list. However, I caution you to write a list with no more than two.
Stuffing the 100 colorful traits of your Brand into 8-12 seconds will leave people confused, wondering if there’s a tinge of bi-polar in the mix as well.
Next, I want you to dive deeper into the constructs making up your Brand Personality. When someone describes your business to another person, what are the first two character traits you want them to say? Those are your Secondary Features!
Opt for the features that substantiate your Core Values, strengthening the entire Brand. Typically, these qualities are inherent characteristics, so immersed in your ethos, you almost forget they’re there. Some prompts that may help along the way are :
What Actions Does Your Organization Do On Auto-Pilot?
Why Do You Do Them?
What Positive Affect Does It Have On Your Customers?
What Do Those Actions Say About You?
Both the Primary and Secondary Feature excerpts are from a Brand Guidelines recently crafted for a client, waging a conscious campaign for change, putting people and planet first! You can find out more >>> Learn More.
The role of Headlining Features, both Primary and Secondary, is to clarify your Brand Voice. Examining your purpose and persona lends insight, but I can’t stress enough the inherent value of writing it down. Writing solidifies concepts and ideas offering a 50ft. perspective of the nuances that make you -you. Plus, if there are any errors or tweaks that need to be made… you’ll find it with this exercise.
RECAP >>>The key to my Brand Voice and its personality lies in my Core Values – ✓
Best Brand Voice Example Ever
Ultimately, there’s no denying the power of visuals. It’s often the initial enticement, but an Excellent Brand Voice is the glue that keeps ‘em coming back for more.
Do you want to see what a Voice is truly capable of?! This silver-tongued verbal genius has honed theirs to perfection.
Poo~Pourri is the royal flush of brand voices everywhere. These verbal geniuses took the world by storm, talking seriously sh*t. Oh, poo puns…so very many to choose from.
Hear No Do, See No Do, and Most Definitely Don’t Speak Do. Seemingly, that was America’s M.O. pre-Poo~Pourri.
Post-Poo~Pourri, we all do the do and now we speak about it #2. This porcelain gilded company dropped the farce, bravely opening the conversation, taking a load off our minds and, frankly, our bums.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, compare products and Brand’s Voices five years ago to today. Try to remember how Brand’s approached us about socially taboo topics.
Poo~Pourri is so potent, we now have products like period panties in our Instagram feeds. They did more than drop a deuce. They dropped the cultural mic.
Before we knew their products, we knew their Brand because of their Voice.
Lastly, if you’ve been deprived of the pleasure of Poo~Pourri’s antics, I’ll leave you with a link to one of the greatest, videos in commercial history. You’re welcome.
P.S. If you ARE Poo~Pourri or one of their brilliant branding/ marketing members. I Love You and we should seriously talk sh!t together on the BYOBrand Podcast. It never hurts to put it out there. The universe might just send you #gold
Brand Voice Checklist
Nailing your Voice is all about honing in on your special sauce -competitive advantage -the stuff that makes you irresistibly who you are, then, targeting that at your audience.
While your Voice may indeed be the best thing on the internet (well done, btw), there are basic brand voice guidelines that companies with a strong Brand Voice all follow.
Why Your Brand Voice Is Important
This is how I explain the importance of a Brand Voice to my clients and now to you, dear badasses, with a good ole’ fashion, story :
You know those times when you’re going about your day and stumble into Zeus incarnate or for you gents, a bombshell?
For two seconds, you feel like karma’s benevolence is occurring in real-time, and damn, you deserve it.
Silently, you thank the powers that be -until they open their mouth. Suddenly, you find yourself recalling that person you flicked off before turning into the car park.
Brass tax, if you’re looking for a single-purchase shallow dalliance kind of customer… GO VISUALS ONLY! If you want people to develop a more meaningful relationship with you, where the masses spread the gospel of your glory, make sure your Brand Voice is on-point.
It’s Also Important Because…
#5 It Defines You
It’s how you express your personality, telling the world who you are beyond what you sell. Your business is what you do. Your Brand is who your business is. See, what’s inside does matter!
#4 Be Recognizable
Why is Auto Zone different from O’Reillys? Walmart from Target? I’ll give you a hint…starts with Brand and ends in ‘oice.’ The consistency and cohesion of that Voice is paramount, guys.
Your business cards should look and sound like your site. Your site should mimic your packaging. When all of your collaterals scream you, you become unforgettable
#3 Buttresses Your Values
Yes, I did look for a reason to use the word ‘butt’ professionally – moving on.
Consumers no longer purchase from Brands because their parents did. They support companies whose ideals and beliefs are a reflection of their own.
Your Brand Voice allows you to put your values into play without saying, “Look at me, I’m so transparent!!” Instead, print where you sourced your ingredients.
Say it, don’t spray it.
Do you purchase a gift for someone you love from a company you feel ‘meh’ about? …I hope not.
Gifts mean brownie points. Typically, we purchase from businesses we think kick ass or Brands that speak to us. Speaking requires that lovely alto of yours.
#1 Limits The Noise
Your Brand Voice makes you El Capitan of the way the world perceives you. Whether you choose to exercise that Voice or not, people are still going to form an opinion and find a way to talk about your business.
When you consciously give customers that language and a way to describe you, they’re more likely to repeat what you tell them than play a game of telephone with your Brand… and we all know how that turns out.
Are you the visionary behind a business? Then, YOU already know your Brand inside and out. It’s the third person in your relationship, and the nag that wakes you up with a kick to the brain at 2 am with yet another hair-brained scheme for business domination.
Don’t overthink it. Take out a scrap paper and start scratching your thoughts. Who are you? Who do you want to be? What do you want people to feel? At its core, THAT’s your Brand Voice.
Today’s Grey Poupon Moment (One of the Original Brand Voice Experts)
I’ve seen some serious and some not so serious, yet equally awesome Brand Voices in my time. If you think you have something EPIC on your hands and want a hand, your time has arrived.
At the end September, the BEST Brand Voice in the thread below will be selected by 3 Writing Wit Creatives to get a free hour consult with yours truly.
To Be Considered : In The Comments Below >>>
- Tell us a bit about your Brand and Voice
- Give us a brief rundown on how we can help
- Finally, Either in the comments or by private message tell us the best email address to reach you, so we can let you know that you WON!
May The Odds Be Eva In Ya Favor!