Ah, it’s good to be back. Today, we’re going to be talking about something I’m pretty passionate about in the world of marketing: branding. Specifically, brand voices. My introduction to the world of branding was everything it should be thanks to my branding professor in college. He was exciting, inspiring, and funny. He was passionate about branding and had an extremely successful career in it. To make it short, let’s just say I never missed one of his classes. Wherever you are, Professor Diego, I hope you are doing well. Let’s get back on topic and take a look at what makes your brand voice so important.
Why Is Your Brand Voice Important?
Well, I’m glad you asked. Your brand voice is the lifeblood of your overarching brand. You may want your brand to be confident, simple, and straightforward, but without the proper brand voice, nobody will know! Take a look at Apple and the iPhone. Every year we get a new iPhone and they sell millions of them, even with minimal changes year after year. There are phones out there way more capable than even the best iPhone. So why does Apple continue to have so much success? Their brand voice. Apple’s brand voice is confident, intimate, and it communicates quality. We don’t buy the iPhone because we know all the technical specs. If we really cared about that, most of us would probably look elsewhere. We buy iPhones because of the way their brand voice makes us feel.
Now, let’s take a look at how to determine your brand voice.
Your brand voice should be different from your competition. (I mean…duh) At the very least, it’s an identifying characteristic. At the very best, people are choosing your products or services over your competition simply because of the way you communicate. Wow, who knew marketing was that simple? So how do we act on this? First, take a birds-eye view of your content and compare it directly to your competitors. What’s different about your web page? Your social media? Your core values? Literally anything that you could differentiate from your competitors.
Take note of everything different about your content. Once you’ve done that, you’re one step closer to having a unique brand voice. Here are some examples of content you should be analyzing:
- Core values
- Promotional videos
- Promotional graphics
- Print ads
- Business cards
Once you’ve completed a thorough analysis of your branded content, we can move on.
Narrow it down
Now let’s take a look at these unique characteristics you’ve taken note of. Without disclosing too much about our ultra top secret branding processes, I’m going to guide you through the process of choosing the best words to describe your brand. First, make a list of words that describe you. I’m talking like 20-30 words. Select your 15 favorite words from that list and continue narrowing it down until you have 3-5 words. To quote the late great Billy Mays, “but wait there’s more.” When you have your 3-5 favorite adjectives, I want you to hop onto google and find strong synonyms. Don’t be excited, be passionate. Don’t be original, be authentic. See what I’m saying? The key to the branding process is to do it differently and make sure people know about it. When you set a foundation of strong adjectives it trickles up and makes everything you do with those words stronger. Call it “trickle up marketing.” I really need to trademark that…
Still stuck? Let’s phone a friend.
In the world of marketing, surveys are always your friend. Nothing compares to a good ol’ fashion focus group. Surveys and focus groups are a fantastic way to obtain valuable information about what customers think about your brand, your voice, and more. Other benefits include:
- Honest answers
- Learning consumer mindsets on competitors
- Large reach
After you have narrowed down the list, you have an idea of what your brand voice is. Feel free to expand on each of these words with synonymous adjectives to give your team a better idea of what you’re going for.
For the visual learners…
Now we have to come up with some guidelines for the copywriters that will be responsible for communicating your message to consumers. To do that, we’ll need to create a brand voice chart. A brand voice chart outlines the dos and don’ts of communicating with your brand voice. You can easily create a brand voice chart in google drive or word, whichever you prefer. Here’s an example of a brand voice chart. It really just compares what you are to what you aren’t. Simple as that. It’s important to have a brand voice chart available to every member of your team. It’s equally important to have consistency with your brand voice. Consider printing out copies of the chart and handing them out to your team members.
Now that you’ve got your brand voice chart ready to go, make sure you go over some examples of work that really hit the mark of your brand voice. If your content creators have a vague idea of how and what to communicate, you lose individuality and, therefore, money. So there you have it. You’ve gone through the process of identifying your brand voice. But maybe you’re not a fan of what you’ve come up with. Not a problem, we’ve got a fix for that!
Starting from scratch
Now, let’s run through a hypothetical situation. Say you went through the process we just went over and then decided you want to change your brand voice entirely. How would you start from scratch? First, you need to take a look at a handful of external factors that are critical to developing your brand voice from scratch. Start off by taking a close look at your target market. Who are the major players and how does their brand voice help them attract clients? What kind of voice is there an opportunity for? Make sure you have a good idea of how to communicate to your target audience what problem you solve in the industry.
Take a deep dive into researching demographics and psychographics to fully understand the people you’re targeting. After that, it’s time to come up with a voice that works well for your industry. If you’re an energy drink company, you need to be exciting. Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar are all heavily involved in extreme sports and have powerful and exciting brand voices. This shows that marketing with extreme sports can be successful. At the same time, while the major players within the industry focus on extreme sports, you could be supporting an entirely different industry. This takes us to my next point.
Avoid copying your competitors.
Like I stated at the beginning, individuality is key to stealing customers from your competitors, If you copy what they do, what reason do they have to switch? Make sure your brand voice is easily identifiable, attractive, and consistent.
Look for outside inspiration.
Take a look around and gather examples of branding that resonates with you. It’s okay to take inspiration from other companies, in fact, we encourage it with our branding process. We encourage our clients to make lists of logos, songs, packaging, movie characters and more that they feel represent their brand and what they stand for. If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything. Word to Alexander Hamilton.
And there you have it. Follow these simple steps and you’ll have a strong idea of your current brand voice and how to change it! Looking for more help? Get in touch with our team at LMH Agency. Cheers!