Finding Your Brand Voice

Whether you are a large company or an individual intent on branding yourself–one thing is certain: you you must have a voice that screams your brand. This is a part of your brand’s story!

Here are 5 essential steps to reaching a conclusion:

Target Market and Mission:

It sounds like ‘Marketing 101’, but this is a very important step. When you are having a conversation, do you speak exactly the same way to everyone? No. We all adjust our tone or style depending on the situation and audience. You need to know to whom you are speaking in order to make your adjustments and best attract your target market. as well as be heard by them both distinctively and accurately. If you know them well enough you can make references towards interests, or concerns, in their lives and they will know you’re listening and they will feel heard!

Ask Yourself: Who are you? What is your mission? Formulating this statement is part of your brand building process, so don’t skip this step. This is your mission, the moral to your story; it’s the core of the brand you are building and establishes your foundation.

Context and Relationships:

Who are you to these people you are targeting? Are they existing customers? Are they being exposed to you for the first time in an ad? Did they see you in Twitter but don’t follow you? How intimate are you? Basically, it comes down to your relationship with this target. Imagine you have a customer you have had for years and then someone brand-new walks into the door. You would speak to the new customer differently–you’d be more guarded with the new customer while searching to establish that new relationship. However, you’d be more relaxed with your client you have had for years, wouldn’t you?

Depending on the channel you are speaking, whether it’s your email newsletter or blog, where you would be capturing more of a target that is more intimate with your company, you can express your full voice, but in social media or an ad you want to give a taste of your voice with more reverence.

Ban the Words:

Whoops, did you say that? When dealing with multiple people (employees, contractors, agency) expressing your voice in your offline and online marketing and communications, it is good practice to insure you avoid a “whoops” by developing a “No-No” list. We are not talking swear words (doesn’t hurt to point those out though), we’re talking about words that are used in main-stream culture–you want to avoid associating those with your voice. For example, say you are an upscale restaurant you may want to avoid using the term “foodie”. Make sense?

Sometimes its easier to list what doesn’t work for you than what does work. Avoid words that just don’t say “You” to your audience!

Approachable and Conversational:

What does it mean to seem human? Warm, approachable, open, empathetic? Your voice should seem like a comfortable conversation with a friend. This doesn’t mean you have to escape professionalism, but make a habit of finding the balance of speaking like an approachable friend and as a professional. Step away from the sterile coldness and into a place that creates the warm and fuzzy feeling, where trust and loyalty are synonymous with your company name.

Education:

Be a source of education for your target. What information can you put out there for your target market that would interest them that also relates to your brand. This is not an opportunity for “me! me! me!”–actually you should be communicating 80% of your marketing as education. That means: Information that will enrich your targets lives within the categories that relate to your product or service. This education helps build a relationship, trust and loyalty. Be transparent!

 What rules have you made for your brand? We’d love to hear them!

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