In every type of marketing, you utilize your brand voice. However, many smaller startups struggle to find this voice. It can be a challenge, after all. A brand voice is more than just a slogan or a pitch, it encompasses everything the brand stands for and it is part of every message. If you’re still working on putting your brand voice “into words” so to speak, we’ve put together five tips that may help you through the process.
1. Start with Three Words
To establish a compelling brand voice, it’s crucial to begin with a strong foundation. One effective way to do this is by limiting yourself to three words that succinctly capture the essence of what you want your brand to represent. Think of these three words as the pillars upon which your brand voice will be built.
These words should embody the core values, personality, and identity of your brand. They should convey the emotions and feelings you want your audience to associate with your products or services. For instance, if you’re running a fitness brand, your three words might be “energetic,” “motivational,” and “authentic.” These words give you a solid starting point for shaping your brand’s voice.
Once you’ve identified these three words, use them as a reference point throughout your branding journey. They should serve as a compass, guiding every piece of content, every interaction, and every marketing message you create. By keeping these words in mind, you ensure consistency and coherence in your brand’s voice.
Remember that these three words are not set in stone; they can evolve as your brand grows and adapts to market changes. However, they should always remain true to your brand’s essence. With this foundation, you’re well on your way to developing a brand voice that resonates with your target audience and sets you apart in the marketplace. Now, let’s move on to the next step in finding your brand voice.
2. Set Yourself Apart
In a crowded marketplace, setting your brand apart from the competition is crucial. Your brand voice should not only be distinctive but also uniquely yours. Here’s how to achieve that:
- 1. Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Begin by pinpointing what makes your brand special and differentiates you from competitors. It could be a unique product feature, exceptional customer service, a specific mission or ethos, or even your brand’s history. Your USP serves as the foundation for crafting a brand voice that resonates with your target audience.
- 2. Emphasize Your Distinctive Qualities: Instead of dwelling on what you share in common with others in your industry, focus on highlighting your unique qualities. Whether it’s your brand’s quirky personality, innovative approach, or the way you solve a specific problem, these distinctive qualities should shine through in your brand voice.
- 3. Consistency Is Key: While being unique is important, consistency is equally vital. Ensure that your brand voice aligns with your USP and distinctive qualities across all touchpoints, including your website, social media, advertising, and customer interactions. This consistency helps reinforce your brand’s identity and fosters trust with your audience.
- 4. Know Your Audience: Understanding your target audience is fundamental in setting yourself apart. Tailor your brand voice to resonate with the preferences and values of your ideal customers. Speak their language, address their pain points, and tap into the emotions that drive their decisions.
- 5. Be Authentic: Authenticity is a cornerstone of a compelling brand voice. Don’t try to mimic others or adopt a voice that doesn’t reflect your brand’s true identity. Authenticity builds trust and credibility, which are essential for long-term brand success.
- 6. Evolve Over Time: As your brand grows and evolves, so should your brand voice. Stay attuned to changes in your industry, audience preferences, and cultural shifts. Adapt your voice as needed while staying true to your core values and unique qualities.
By focusing on what sets you apart and crafting a brand voice that authentically represents your distinct identity, you’ll not only attract your target audience but also establish a memorable and lasting presence in your industry. Setting yourself apart becomes a pivotal part of your brand voice and sets the stage for successful brand communication.
3. Listen to Your Customers
Your customers’ perceptions and feedback are invaluable resources when refining and honing your brand voice. Here’s how to actively listen to your customers and use their input to shape your brand’s voice:
- 1. Gather Customer Feedback: Actively seek out feedback from your customers through surveys, reviews, and direct communication. Pay close attention to the words and phrases they use to describe their experiences with your company or brand. These descriptors can provide insights into how your brand is perceived and what aspects resonate most with your audience.
- 2. Identify Common Themes: Analyze the feedback and look for common themes or recurring words and phrases. Are customers consistently describing your brand as “trustworthy,” “innovative,” “friendly,” or perhaps “efficient”? These descriptors can serve as building blocks for your brand voice.
- 3. Embrace Positive Feedback: Positive feedback can help reinforce the aspects of your brand that are already resonating with your customers. Consider incorporating the positive descriptors into your brand messaging to emphasize and amplify these strengths.
- 4. Address Negative Feedback: Negative feedback offers an opportunity for improvement. If customers consistently mention areas where your brand falls short, use this feedback constructively to adjust your brand voice. For instance, if customers perceive your brand as “impersonal,” you can work on incorporating a more personal and empathetic tone in your communications.
- 5. Test and Iterate: Once you’ve identified descriptors and feedback from your customers, test them in your messaging and content. Evaluate how well these descriptors align with your brand identity and resonate with your target audience. Be willing to iterate and adjust based on the response you receive.
- 6. Stay Current: Continuously engage with your customers to stay attuned to shifting perceptions and evolving preferences. Customer feedback is not static, so your brand voice should also adapt over time to remain relevant and appealing.
- 7. Incorporate Stories and Testimonials: Incorporate customer stories and testimonials that align with your brand’s desired voice. These real-life examples can reinforce the authenticity of your brand and resonate with potential customers.
Listening to your customers and incorporating their input into your brand voice demonstrates that you value their opinions and are committed to meeting their needs. By doing so, you can create a brand voice that not only resonates with your audience but also builds trust and loyalty over time. Your customers’ words can become powerful tools for shaping and refining your brand’s communication strategy.
4. Inspire Results
An effective brand voice goes beyond mere communication; it should inspire action and drive results. Here’s how to infuse your brand voice with the power to motivate customers to take meaningful actions:
- 1. Define Clear Goals: Start by identifying the specific actions you want your audience to take. Whether it’s making a purchase, subscribing to your newsletter, sharing your content, or any other desired outcome, clearly define your goals. Your brand voice should be aligned with these objectives.
- 2. Use Persuasive Language: Craft your brand messaging using persuasive and compelling language. Highlight the benefits and value that customers will gain by taking the desired action. Show them how your product or service can solve their problems, meet their needs, or enhance their lives.
- 3. Create a Sense of Urgency: Encourage immediate action by creating a sense of urgency in your brand voice. Limited-time offers, exclusive deals, or time-bound incentives can motivate customers to act promptly rather than procrastinate.
- 4. Appeal to Emotions: Emotions play a significant role in decision-making. Use emotional storytelling and language to connect with your audience on a deeper level. Whether it’s tapping into their aspirations, fears, or desires, emotional resonance can be a powerful motivator.
- 5. Empower and Engage: Empower your audience by showing them that their actions can make a difference. Encourage them to be a part of a larger cause or community that your brand represents. Engagement fosters a sense of belonging and commitment.
- 6. Highlight Success Stories: Share success stories, testimonials, or case studies that demonstrate how others have achieved positive results by taking the desired action. Real-life examples can inspire confidence and trust in your brand.
- 7. Consistency in Call to Action: Ensure that your calls to action (CTAs) are consistent with your brand voice. Whether it’s “Shop Now,” “Subscribe Today,” or “Join the Movement,” the language and tone of your CTAs should align with your brand’s overall voice and message.
- 8. Test and Optimize: Continuously test different approaches to inspire action and measure their effectiveness. A/B testing can help you refine your messaging to maximize results.
- 9. Be Authentic: While inspiring action is essential, authenticity remains paramount. Your brand voice should always reflect your brand’s values and mission. Avoid using manipulative tactics or false promises that can damage trust in the long run.
By infusing your brand voice with the power to inspire results, you can guide your audience from passive observers to active participants in your brand’s journey. Motivated customers are more likely to convert, engage, and advocate for your brand, ultimately driving the results you aim to achieve. Harness the strength of inspiration to fuel the success of your brand.
5. Understand Voice is Ever-Evolving
Recognizing that your brand voice is not static but rather evolves over time is essential for long-term success. Here’s why understanding the evolution of your brand voice is crucial:
- 1. Adapt to Changing Times: As society, culture, and consumer preferences change, so too should your brand’s voice. Take a cue from successful companies that have adapted their messaging to remain relevant. For example, the beer industry has shifted from targeting exclusively blue-collar men to appealing to a broader range of demographics. This evolution allows brands to stay in tune with the evolving tastes and expectations of their audience.
- 2. Embrace Growth and Expansion: Your brand may start with a specific target audience or niche, but as you grow and expand, your audience may diversify. Your brand voice should adapt to resonate with these new demographics while maintaining its core identity. This adaptability allows you to tap into new markets and opportunities.
- 3. Stay Competitive: In a competitive marketplace, staying relevant is vital. Your brand voice can be a strategic tool for setting yourself apart and outperforming competitors. It may require periodic adjustments to differentiate your brand and meet the changing demands of consumers.
- 4. Reflect Brand Evolution: Your brand’s values, mission, and offerings may evolve over time. Your brand voice should reflect these changes authentically. For instance, if your company started as a small artisanal bakery but has since expanded into a national chain, your voice may need to adjust to convey consistency, quality, and a commitment to local communities.
- 5. Listen and Learn: Continuously gather feedback from your audience and monitor trends in your industry. Use this information to inform your brand voice evolution. Be open to learning from your customers and adapting accordingly.
- 6. Maintain Core Values: While your brand voice evolves, it’s essential to preserve your core values and the essence of what makes your brand unique. Evolution doesn’t mean abandoning your roots but rather enhancing and adapting them to meet the changing landscape.
- 7. Communicate Changes Transparently: If you make significant changes to your brand voice, communicate these changes transparently to your audience. Explain why you are evolving and how it benefits them. Transparency fosters trust and ensures your audience understands your brand’s journey.
- 8. Test and Iterate: As you evolve your brand voice, test and iterate on messaging and communication strategies. Measure the impact of these changes on audience engagement, conversion rates, and brand perception. Use data to refine and optimize your approach.
By acknowledging that your brand voice is ever-evolving, you position your brand for longevity and continued relevance. Embrace change as an opportunity to connect with new audiences, meet shifting expectations, and stay competitive in a dynamic marketplace. A flexible and adaptive brand voice is a valuable asset that can drive your brand’s success over the years.
At the end of the day, realize that your brand voice shouldn’t be something you have to force, it should feel natural. If you are having to work at it way too hard, it could be that you’re going in the completely wrong direction. Take a deep breath, relax and let the words flow naturally. You’ll be surprised what you already understand about your brand’s voice, that you didn’t realize you knew.
Starting with three words provides a strong foundation for your brand voice, representing its core values and identity.
Identify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), emphasize distinctive qualities, and ensure consistency while staying authentic and evolving over time.
Gather feedback, identify common themes, embrace positive feedback, address negatives, test and iterate, and stay current to refine your brand’s voice.
An effective brand voice should inspire action, use persuasive language, create urgency, appeal to emotions, empower and engage, and maintain authenticity while setting clear goals.
Understanding brand voice evolution helps you adapt to changing times, embrace growth, stay competitive, reflect brand evolution, listen and learn from your audience, maintain core values, communicate changes transparently, and test and iterate for long-term success.