You may have heard the words ‘brand voice’ before, but you might not know exactly what they mean. In the simplest way, your brand’s voice is a part of your corporate identity and branding, and represents what your brand stands for. It is, literally, the voice that your consumers will hear when they interact with your brand. Therefore, whenever they read something or hear something that comes from your brand, it should always represent your company and should remain consistent over time. When it comes to social media management, having a clear and established brand voice is crucial to creating a trustworthy online presence that consumers are willing to engage with.
Firstly, what is a brand voice?
When it comes to building a brand, there are two parts; corporate identity and branding.
Your corporate identity is made up of all of the visual aspects of your brand, for example you logo, website design, email headers, social media, print ads, product design, uniform, etc. They all appear as a part of one cohesive brand because of your chosen colour palette, fonts, and a consistent style used across them all.
Branding refers to the relationship between your brand and your consumers. Basically, it is what consumers feel about your brand when they come into contact with any part of your corporate identity – and the goal is, of course, to build brand awareness and customer loyalty.
Within all of this lies your brand voice. It is the words and language that you choose to use on your website, your social media platforms, and newsletters. It is the ‘personality’ of your brand. The words that you choose to use directly influence the way that your brand is interpreted online and plays a large role in the way consumers feel towards a brand.
So, how do you create it?
It can sometimes seem daunting to be creating a personality for a brand. After all, a brand is an abstract thing rather than a person, right? This may be true, but your consumers are people. They interact with each other, their friends and families, on the same platforms that your brand exists. Therefore, to interact with them properly, you need to be speaking their language.
And there lies one of the beautiful simplicities of building a brand voice; take from your consumers. One of the easiest ways to start creating is to look at who you want to interact with your brand. Look at who they are, what they like, and how they interact online. You also need to look at your mission statement and what your company stands for. Then all it takes is to merge the two concepts.
Let’s break it down:
1. Look At Your Mission Statement
This is an easy place to start things off, because it should be easy! Look at your company and consider what you want to be putting out there into the world. What are your company’s values? Your brand’s personality should align with those values.
Are you looking to be a brand that is perceived as professional, confident, and informative? Do you want to come across as more friendly and informal? Do you want to be a friend to your consumers or a place they come to for expert advice? Of course, you can be a combination of any of the above, and more, it is just important to figure out what your brand is.
2. Look At Your Consumers
Once you have figured out what you want your brand to represent you can turn to your consumers. There are actually two parts to this: the consumers you have and the consumers you want (hopefully these will become the same thing, but if you are changing or adjusting your branding there might be a gap between them).
Firstly, look at the consumers that you have, pick a few of them. You don’t need to stalk them on Instagram or Twitter for weeks, but they can be a good representation of who your audience is made up of, and what they like. Use the analytics that you have as well, and include those stats into your research. Then, come up with the consumer that you want, research them, find a few examples. What do they like, who do they follow, and how do they interact with brands?
Once you’ve done some cursory research, you can build your ideal consumer. This is where you find your brand voice.
3. Build Your Ideal Consumer
This is a great exercise for building a brand voice and reflecting on how your brand is perceived. It is simple; literally create a profile for your ideal consumer.
- are they male or female?
- a young adult or middle aged?
- do they have a full time job?
- are they an entrepreneur?
- who do they follow on social media?
- what TV shows do they watch?
- what do they like to eat?
- what drink do they order at a bar?
- what are they doing on the weekends?
Once your have created this person they will tell you a lot about who you want to be finding your brand. The answers to these questions should represent the answers that your consumers would give.
4. Create Content For The Ideal Consumer
Take a look back at what words and values came up when you were looking at your company’s mission statement. How do they compare to the ideal consumer that you have created? Hopefully there should be an overlap! If the two ideas complement one another then you are on the right track to creating content that will appeal to your consumers and represent your brand at the same time.
Lastly, you need to create content. This is where everything comes together. Look at your research and the words that you have chosen to describe your company and your consumer. Are there words in common? Are there words and phrases that you saw your consumer’s using a lot online? Those words should appear in your content.
At Sleet Consultancy, we always ask our brands to provide us with a few of these words, words that they like and that they are happy to be associated with the brand. These say a lot about personality and tone. For example:
One social media might make use of phrases like: “fantastic” “gorgeous” “exquisite” “the estate” “we are honoured” “we have had the privilege of”
Another might use: “buzzing” “great” “so much fun” “what are you doing this weekend?” “bubbly” “friday night” “have you seen …” “lekker”
It is easy to see that these two collections of phrases come from very different brand and are aimed at very different sets of consumers.
Why Is It Important?
In conclusion, while you might have no trouble drawing in consumers with standard posts online and might not think that it is worth it to build a voice and personality for your brand, in this technological age customers have the upper hand. They choose who they want to follow and if they do not feel like they have a personal connection to your brand then they might just unfollow or let your brand disappear into the algorithm of a Facebook timeline.
Basically, consumers expect a personal experience now. They want to build trust and loyalty to a brand and if they can relate to what is being said they are more likely to stick with you.