What comes to mind when you think about branding elements? Most people first think of the visual identity: graphical elements, colors, fonts, and photo styles.
One big element of branding that many people tend to forget about is brand voice. Let’s dive into what voice means and why it matters for your branding.
What Is a Brand Voice & Why Is It Important?
A brand voice is the way you communicate your company to your target audience. It is the way you storytell what you offer, mission statement and values, and company distinctives.
Just as you have a unique way in which you present yourself to others, your company should also have the same.
A strong brand voice is important so that your audience can instantly recognize you. If you aren’t consistent with your messaging, your business will quickly get lost among all the other brands vying for consumer attention. You need to have one cohesive voice for your company for consistency and clarity.
You should develop consistent messaging for every sphere where your brand will show up, including:
- Company website
- Social media platforms
- Blog posts
- Print collaterals
Once you have nailed down the way your brand speaks, be sure to create brand guidelines for all your content marketing initiatives. This will ensure that everyone on your team understands how to communicate your business message.
Questions To Help Determine Your Brand Voice
We’ve now determined what a voice is and why it’s important, but how do you figure out how to nail it down? A lot of people find it difficult to talk and write about their company.
A great exercise to help determine your brand voice is to ask yourself these questions:
If your logo was taken off your website (or print flier, email, billboard, etc.), would people still recognize your brand?
This question can be a huge gut punch for many companies. It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of running a business that your brand messaging gets put on the backburner. Finding a way to differentiate yourself through your content is crucial.
Read through your website’s content as if you had never heard of your company before. Does it sound like a cookie cutter has produced the same product across a variety of sites? Or does it have an element that makes you remember it?
What three words would you use to describe your brand?
We all hate to get asked this during a job interview, right?!
As hard as it is to talk about ourselves, this question can really help narrow down what your business values and offers to its audience.
Just as you would prepare for this question in an interview, take some time to come up with the three words that describe your brand. Then, give the reasoning behind why you chose each word.
If your brand was a character from a movie or tv show, who would it most likely be?
This sounds like a silly question on the surface, but it should get your brain juices flowing.
Think about iconic fictional characters and their traits. Would your brand be factual and to the point like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory? Is your brand sarcastic and witty like Chandler from Friends? Or do you exude sophistication, command, and respect like President Jed Bartlet from The West Wing?
Even if you don’t watch tv or movies, you can think through what your brand would be like if they were to take human form. What personality traits make your business uniquely you?
How do you want people to feel when interacting with your brand?
Emotions and feelings play a big role in buyer behavior. How does your personality make them feel? Do they heave a sigh of relief that you’re going to fix their busted pipe? Are they inspired to support the mission of your non-profit organization? Will they buy your product after reading a funny and detailed description of how it will solve their problems?
Think through the emotions that you want your customers or clients to feel when they see your brand: happy, confident, informed, at peace, inspired. This will help nail you to define your brand.
What phrases/adjectives/words do you want to make sure are NOT associated with your brand?
The questions above get to the heart of who your brand is, but you also want to make sure you define what you are not.
Are there cliche buzzwords in your industry that make your skin crawl? Do you see advertisements for brands where you just don’t jive with their messaging?
Make a list of words, phrases, and messages that you consider not on brand for your company and why they are off limits for your messaging. This will be extremely beneficial for any of your team members who create content for your company.
Examples of Distinctive Brand Voices
Now that we’ve established a baseline for establishing your branding, let’s take a look at a few examples of brands with a distinctive tone of voice.
Photo Source: giphy.com
Old Spice has been creating men’s toiletries for over 80 years. But, it is instantly recognizable due to its edgy and manly branding.
You may remember their iconic commercial “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” that caught everyone’s attention back in the mid-2010s for its hilarious depiction of what a man could smell like if they used Old Spice products.
On the homepage of their website, their tagline is “Smell Confident.” Even their About page is cleverly titled “School of Swagger.”
You can also read hilariously branded tidbits on their Twitter feed.
Through this branding, Old Spice sets themselves apart in the men’s care industry. Men will likely go to the deodorant aisle and choose Old Spice because they remembered the funny branding OR because the messaging resonated and they want to be considered more manly.
Photo Source: coca-cola.com
Coca-Cola is one of the most recognizable brands across the world with its bold red graphics and timeless script font. But, even if you removed their graphical elements, you’d still recognize their company.
Coke’s brand voice evokes feelings of happiness. Think about every commercial you’ve seen by them over the years: polar bears sharing a glass bottle of Coke after a day of sledding, a large Coca-Cola sitting between two friends at the movie theater, or even a family reconciling their differences at the dinner table with a Coke. You see each advertisement exuding the happiness that Coke brings.
Through their years of service, Coke has used their brand voice to make people feel happy, content, and refreshed.
Dove is another beauty care brand, but this one is focused mostly towards women. Their brand voice inspires confidence, promotes change, and drives home the message of authenticity and realness.
Their brand campaigns center around women accepting who they are instead of constantly trying to fix themselves.
The first message on their website states:
“Beauty is not defined by shape, size or color – it’s feeling like the best version of yourself. Authentic. Unique. Real. Which is why we’ve made sure our site reflects that. Every image you see here features women cast from real life. A real life version of beauty.”
Dove really stands out in the beauty industry due to promoting realness and being comfortable in your own skin.
These are just a few examples of distinctive brand voices. Your business may not be as large as these, but that doesn’t mean it can’t take a unique voice and find a way to be memorable to your audience.
How will you make your brand stand out among the crowd?
Get Help Finding Your Brand Voice
The team at Eldie are experts in branding and content messaging. We’d love to help you nail down your brand’s voice. Whether you’re starting a new company and need help determining your brand’s voice from the get-go or your established company needs help narrowing down multiple perspectives into one cohesive voice, we can help.
Ready to take the next step? Schedule a free 15-minute discovery call with us to discuss your branding needs.