What is brand voice? Why does brand voice matter? What difference does your brand voice make to your business and your customers?
Good communication is vital to your business’s success. The way you communicate – your brand voice – reveals your values and your personality. This personality enables customers to emotionally connect with you, and that connection is why they will eventually take positive action to invest in your products or services. To put it bluntly, if you took away your expertly designed logo from your website or social media channel, would anyone know who you are?
According to HubSpot research, 86% of consumers prefer an authentic brand personality on social networks. And how do you portray honesty? With words and actions. Those words are why your brand voice matters.
It may not be immediate, but over time, each interaction with a consistent and honest brand voice generates engagement. Engagement leads to sales. The sales lead to trust. Trust turns customers into brand advocates. Brand advocates actively share their appreciation for your brand and what it offers. And they are priceless!
Ask yourself what your brand stands for. Why did you start the business? Your first answer might be money, but you must look beyond your financial gains and consider what the purpose of your business truly is. You must also think about who your ideal customers are. If you know who you are, and you know who your customers are, it’s far easier to write content that connects them.
Next, consider the four primary tone-of-voice dimensions, identified by Nielsen Norman Group:
These points are a great place to start if this is the first time you’ve thought about your brand voice. They help pinpoint what you want to sound like, AND how you don’t want to sound.
For example, if you are a mental health business, your voice might be more respectful and serious but not irreverent and funny. If you are a motivational speaker for hire, your voice may be enthusiastic and casual, but not formal and matter-of-fact.
If you want to examine these dimensions further and truly get into the detail, check out Nielsen Norman Group.
Have you ever spoken with someone and thought they didn’t sound as though they were being ‘real’, or they made you feel as though they were not truthful? Think about that when writing – you need to stay consistently authentic to be believable, and to ensure your audience stays comfortable and connected.
So, you’ve defined your brand voice and you stick to it during your writing – on websites, collateral, blog posts, and social media etc. But have you asked your customers what they feel when they interact with you? Do the two match up? If not, you need to relook at the voice and tone, or how you’re using it.
Don’t fall into a trap of telling people you are something you’re not or talking in a way that doesn’t match who you really are. For example, don’t use words that imply that your business is caring about the environment if it isn’t. If you voice your sustainability and your actions don’t match your words, you are, and appear inauthentic. People WILL see through it because your actions don’t support your voice.
Mailchimp’s Style Guide shares that its “tone is usually informal, but it’s always more important to be clear than entertaining.”
It is 100% relatable to marketers and other users. It uses creativity and humour, tapping into the fear of hitting the ‘send’ button on pieces of email marketing. If you’re ready to send an email from Mailchimp, you’re faced with the image of a finger hovering over a big red button. That makes you sweat, but it’s funny. So, its quippy one-liners are visually supported by its imagery.
“Just Do It”. It doesn’t get much more motivational than that. Nike generally receives one big tick from marketers on its brand voice. The brand’s logo and slogan are matched by its use of language to inspire movement in EVERYONE around the globe. And that starts with its mission statement:
“OUR MISSION: BRING INSPIRATION AND INNOVATION TO EVERY ATHLETE* IN THE WORLD.
*IF YOU HAVE A BODY, YOU ARE AN ATHLETE.”
If you are unsure where to start with your brand voice, or need help with your overall marketing strategy, drop us a line and we’d be happy to help.