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What is a Brand Voice?

You’ve probably seen or heard this buzzword around lately in the content marketing space, especially if you’re an online entrepreneur. But this term is one that can be applied to any size business and is equally useful to brick & mortar and online enterprise.  If you’ve been finding it difficult to establish your brand voice, or you’ve seen the term around and can’t even with it right now, this post is for you.

What exactly is a brand voice?

Brand Voice is simply the style in which your brand communicates with your target audience. This includes the language you use, the writing/prose style, type of delivery method, how you respond to customers directly, and the tone of your overall message.

Still struggling to grasp the concept? It often feels vague on purpose, right? Think about your visual brand. Surely, you’ve seen graphic designers rant about how important a cohesive brand is. If you consider what your visual brand means (the look and feel of the visual elements including logo, colors, website, social media images, etc.) then your brand voice is just an extension of that. It’s the cohesion of the look and feel of your brand with your tone and communication method.

Why is brand voice important for my business?

The entire goal of branding your business is for instant recognition. What you really want is for someone to see an image from your social feed, or your logo or website, and think “ah, this is from this business/person. I know them, I like them, I trust them. Take my money.”

If you’re producing consistent, valuable content in the same voice, you’ll quickly become distinguishable from the rest. At least to your audience. They’ll be able to read a tweet, a Facebook post, a blog post, etc., and recognize it as yours. Just as you can easily pick out your favorite director or author or poet from the crowd because you recognize their style and voice.

If you’re putting out content that doesn’t feel consistent, people will be confused, especially if you sound different across platforms and delivery methods. While you will need to shift how you deliver your message depending on the platform you’re using, it should still sound like you or your brand.

Simply put, if your brand isn’t communicating effectively it won’t be successful. Disjointed brands struggle to resonate with audiences, and have a hard time maintaining long-term relationships.

Think of your brand voice like a personality for your business.

Now, if you are your business, as a solopreneur, service provider, coach, or consultant is, your brand voice (or “personality”) will ideally be your personality. Roughly. This feeds into that whole authenticity topic, which is something I’ll devote an entire post to in the future.

This still applies if you’re running a business or brand outside of yourself, as well. But you do have a bit more flexibility here. Instead of tailoring your brand and voice to who you are as an individual, you’ll tailor your brand/voice to your businesses personality. Meaning you get to establish what it is your brand stands for, represents, and values.

Important elements in developing a brand voice

Obviously, your brand voice should be unique to your company or business, otherwise, there’s no point. If your plan to develop your brand voice is to just copy the leader of your field I want you to slap yourself, take a jog around the block, sit in a shame corner, and come back when you’re ready to be a big kid.

Now, for those of you that are back, or didn’t have to leave in the first place, here are some important elements that your brand voice should include:

  1. Your target audience
  2. Tone/Style
  3. Messaging
  4. Platform
  5. Grammar/Usage

Remember, also, that your brand voice can (and probably should) shift over time. While your core values and messaging might be the same (like with big brands like Nike or Apple) the way you communicate with your audience, the things you say, and your audience itself may evolve and change. You have to be constantly evaluating how your communication is working and make necessary changes to maintain connection and relevance to your audience.

Consider a style guide

Ideally, this style guide will include guidelines and rules for your visual and written communications all in one document. Content informs design informs content informs design. These two elements need to be used in conjunction to build your brand. Don’t neglect one for the other, please. For the love of god.

So, what should your style guide cover? I got you, boo:

Design Aspects

  1. Logo style and usage
  2. Brand colors
  3. Branding elements (patterns, textures, etc.)
  4. Templates

Writing Aspects

  1. Your target audience
  2. What platforms you use and how often you publish to them
  3. The topics you cover/your messaging
  4. Goals for your organization/business
  5. Tone/style
  6. Grammar/usage
  7. Formatting

Check out my Branding Your Business board on Pinterest for style guide ideas:

Still struggling?

If you’re still struggling to identify your brand voice, perhaps it’s because you don’t have your brand story or messaging/purpose clear. I’m releasing a free training and workbook on September 9th to help you develop your brand story. This is a great starting point that will give you the clarity you need to nail down your messaging and content strategy.

Sign-up and I’ll email you the training and workbook on Saturday.

 

What is a Brand Voice?

 

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