Behind every great brand is a great brand voice strategy, whether you realize it or not.
For example, the brand voice for Wendy’s fast food is snarky, punchy and quick-witted, but never vulgar. The brand voice for Arby’s is bold, blunt and boisterous, but never obnoxious. And here at Filament, our brand voice is savvy, imaginative and authentic, but never arrogant.
Brand voice (also known as “verbal identity”) serves as a direct link between your brand and your customers’ perception of your brand. If you’ve ever engaged with any of the brands mentioned above, you may see how those adjectives help describe how those brands speak through their messaging channels.
If your brand is regularly speaking to your customer base without a voice strategy, you could be missing out on a large opportunity to amplify your messaging, customer recognition and overall brand experience. Let’s take a closer look at what brand voice is and how you can make it work hard for your business.
What is brand voice?
Brand voice, quite simply, is the way a brand talks to its audience. It’s the wording and tone of the brand messages used in various communication channels. And, it’s an essential part of a brand’s overall identity.
Why’s it important?
Much like your logo and color scheme, your messaging should be consistent, recognizable and meaningful to your audience at every interaction. Every time a customer experiences your brand (whether through emails, social posts or website activity), your messages should look, feel and sound the same.
Without a defined brand voice strategy in place, your messaging is at the mercy of each writers’ interpretation. A writer may want to write your brand messages with an Australian accent (might sound odd, but stranger things have happened). Others may write in a very dry and technical tone (yawn). The summer intern may feel like using a fun and lively tone (the energy is nice, but is it right for your brand?).
Defining a brand voice strategy will help streamline messaging into distinctive, meaningful copy your audience can identify and recognize. Even if your logo isn’t attached.
So, how do I define my brand’s voice?
Defining a brand voice is no small task. But it can be highly beneficial to your brand and bottom line. Use the following outline to help define your brand voice:
1. Identify the types of messaging your customer base is engaging with most.
2. Find out how those messages relate to your core values and core branding materials. Do they match up?
3. Once you have identified a series of messages that align with both your audience and your brand, build a large list of adjectives that describe those messages.
4. Rule out the adjectives that aren’t distinctive, such as “honest” and “loyal.”
5. Keep the adjectives that make your brand unique (what makes your brand, your brand?).
6. Narrow the list to 3-5 of the best adjectives that you want to represent the voice of your brand.
7. Add adjectives that define what your brand is not (for example, your brand voice may be savvy, but not arrogant).
8. Take this final list of adjectives and put them in a brand voice document, along with examples of how your brand voice may look in various messaging channels.
9. Make the brand voice document available to every employee in your company.
10. Stick to the brand voice document, and don’t stray from it.