May means “brand month” here at Spodek & Co. Last week we explored the four corners of brand personality, and today we want to show you some exercises that will help nail down your brand voice.
What the Heck is Brand Voice?
Most people immediately think of images when they hear the word “brand” – but a brand is so much more than an eye-catching logo. In fact, brand personality, brand voice and brand imagery work hand in hand to help create a holistic representation of what your brand stands for.
Your brand voice is your brand personality out loud – emails, newsletters, websites, social media properties, and copy you might write for graphics and videos. In fact, images, logos, and should match your brand voice also (and if that sounds strange, watch this space for an upcoming blog post on this very thing).
Your voice is the heart of your corporate identity and ensures that every aspect of your business works together seamlessly. Matches each other. Makes sense. Having three or four voices or styles of outward-facing communication only serves to confuse potential clients and/or customers, and eventually will have an impact on your bottom line.
Nailing Your Voice
If you’ve worked to establish your brand personality, you’re halfway there. And if you’re an already established company just looking to refresh your brand, you’re even closer. You might only need a few tweaks and updates.
If you’re unsure of where to start, or unsure about what your particular brand’s voice should sound like, here are four exercises that will help you nail down a brand voice that perfectly says what you want it to say:
Build out one ideal customer profile. Who is your ideal customer? Old or young? Are they hipster and urban, or buttoned up and rural? What do they do, think, feel? Keep an eye on people you know and like who fit that profile, or create a test group with friends and family!
Take a hard look at anything you’ve already created. Do you have a website and blog already up and running? Social media platforms established? Even graphic branding needs to be audited. Be brutally honest. Is your brand voice consistent across the board? Does it compliment your ideal customer profile? Sometimes it helps to look at an established brand you already love and have a look at how they do it, and more importantly, why you like them so much.
Would you rather? Take the old party game of “Would you rather this or that?” and switch it up a bit. Try a “We’re THIS but not THAT!” exercise when thinking about brand voice . “We’re conservative but not stuffy.” or “We’re fun and funny but not snarky and sarcastic.” That sort of thing. This really helps drill down on your brand and how you want it to be heard and interpreted.
Create hard and fast rules. Always, always, always have a brand guide available for staff – ALL staff. Your brand voice must be used by everyone, from designers to copywriters to community managers to interns to webmasters. And of course, the C-suite as well! This not only helps cement your brand voice for your consumer, it helps avoid mistakes or unfortunate errors in tone, and protects your industry reputation and trust.
There are many really creative exercises you can do to determine a brand’s voice and personality, depending on where you are in the grand scheme of entrepreneurship and/or owning a business. But they all lead you back to one place – consistency across the board.
Whether you’re witty, wild, serious, informative, fun and flirty, or bold and brave, nailing down your brand’s voice ensures that your brand standards are maintained. If your brand were a person, would you feel you could trust them, no matter the scenario? If you answered yes, then you’ve done a good job crafting your brand, and nailing down its voice.
What are your thoughts on brand voice? Did you have a hard time figuring yours out? Or have you had to shake it up and change your brand voice over the years as either your company or the marketplace changed? I would love to hear from you!