Your brand voice is the tone, language, and style you use to communicate with the rest of the world. It helps capture the idea that there are actual people behind a business or organization. It’s an important part of your branding and deserves more attention than many business owners give it.
There are lots of ways to say something:
- Pardon me, madam, would you be so gracious as to pass the salt?
- Can you please pass the salt?
- Pass the salt, please.
- Pass the salt.
- Yo, pass the salt.
- I need the salt.
- Slide that salt down here, bro.
- Man, this chicken is really bland…
- GIMME THE #%@&*$ SALT! NOW!
And as you can probably see, how you choose to say things can reveal a lot about who you are, and it can have a huge effect on how people respond to your message.
Every brand should define its voice and apply it consistently. Of course, not all business communication is equal, and it’s perfectly reasonable to vary the formality of your voice depending on circumstances. But overall, your public-facing writing should all sound like it comes from the same person, and it should sound relatable to your target audience. That creates a sense of authenticity and familiarity for them, and that in turn leads to trust.
Honing Your Brand Voice
Here are some basic steps for developing your brand voice:
- Identify three characteristics you want to convey through your voice
- Identify three characteristics you don’t want to convey through your voice
- Study how your competition communicates and find a way to differentiate your voice
- Find brand voices you like and pinpoint why you like them
- Find brand voices you don’t like and pinpoint why you don’t like them
- Listen to how your target audience talks and fit in
- Tailor your voice to the age, education, and other characteristics of your main demographic
- Think about how much your target audience knows about your industry/products/services
- Go with simple and conversational over trying too hard, formality, and boring
- Use direct, actionable language
- Avoid industry/marketing words and phrases that send the wrong message for your brand and target market
What it largely comes down to is figuring out exactly who you’re talking to and speaking to them in a way that sounds approachable and real. If you do that consistently, you’ve nailed a major part of your branding.