How to Craft Your Brand Voice to Rise Above the Noise
We’ve all experienced some variation of this: you receive an email or text message, supposedly from someone you know, and something about it just feels off. And that suspicion is triggered by the fact that the message just doesn’t sound right. What’s that all about?
How could a piece of writing sound like anything? Well, the fact is when we read written communication—especially from people or brands we feel like we know—our brains assign a voice to it. And, thankfully, many a would-be scammer or phisher is revealed because we somehow instinctively know the voice of that email or text message simply doesn’t match the voice of the sender we recognize and trust.
Now imagine a phone call (that antiquated practice we used to engage in regularly before emailing, texting, IMing, and Slacking became the norm). Even without caller ID, we can easily register when we hear from someone we know. That’s because we recognize the caller’s voice. And this recognition goes well beyond tonal quality. The caller’s voice is defined by their tone, inflection, familiar phrases, and vocabulary. Based on that our brains verify in a matter of nano-seconds, that yes, this caller is who they claim to be. The mere sound of a voice has delivered to us the essentials of meaningful communication: familiarity, consistency, and connection.
All this underscores the crucially important role that thoughtfully crafting a brand voice plays in establishing connection and trust with your target audience through every touchpoint of your digital communication.
Consumers prefer brands with strong, unique personalities. In Sprout Social’s 2020 Index, for instance, 40% of consumers listed memorable content as a factor that helps brands stand out. And memorable content, distinct personality, and compelling storytelling are all the byproduct of a consistent and recognizable brand voice. Just as we attribute personality traits to a human voice, we do the same when processing the voice of a brand we engage with.
If your brand were a person, what kind of person would it be? What kind of voice would it speak with? Bold? Cautious? Humorous? Formal and academic? Assured and declarative? When informing a target audience and motivating them to act, successful brands devote the time and effort necessary to nurture and amplify their particular voice—and to ensure that their voice stays consistent in all their communication on their website, in their social media, in their press releases, and even in their internal communication.
In an ideal world thought precedes speech, just like a compelling brand voice. You must carefully and strategically craft a brand voice by excavating all other aspects of the brand. In fact, a brand’s voice is really the culmination of many of its qualities.
When honing your brand voice, first examine your brand’s personality, along with its audiences. The voice employed in things like website copy should sound like it organically emerges from your brand’s personality. And, just as importantly, it should be a voice that is recognizable and reassuring to your target audiences.
For instance, a brand that wants to assert itself as a thought leader and trusted information source on matters of, say, economics or medical research, should communicate with a voice that evokes a sense of informed insight and cool-headed analysis. Whereas a brand that seeks to engage website visitors through playful banter or lighthearted humor is more apt to adopt a friendly, inviting voice, signaling that they are so confident in their brand that they can be jovial about its features and benefits. In certain forms of communication, humor can also solidify a universal bond with audiences.
An authentic brand voice takes work to establish. It’s the byproduct of a brand audit that strategically examines the totality of your organization’s marketing materials and campaigns. Over the years, we’ve guided numerous companies through enlightening and informative discovery sessions that reveal both challenges and opportunities around their brand voice. These conversations have allowed our teams to help our clients craft authentic brand voices. As a deeply experienced digital agency with marketing professionals who know how to ask the right questions, we can translate our research and discussions with you into a seamless technology experience that speaks in a trusted brand voice your audiences will recognize.
We invite you to use your voice to contact us and begin a conversation about how we can help you define or refine your brand’s voice.