As a millionaire, business guru and editor-in-chief of the mighty Forbes Magazine, Steve Forbes isn’t a bad candidate to take business advice from.
Your brand is the face your business presents to the world. If your business was a person, its branding would cover which kind of clothing it wears, what food it eats, where it hangs out and, of course, how it speaks.
As a copywriter, it’s the speaking part I help with. The brand ‘voice’.
What exactly is a brand voice?
Put simply, it’s the way your company’s personality comes across when you communicate. Whether you’re writing a social media post, a script for a TV ad, or a flyer, your brand voice should always be consistent.
The idea is that by having a distinct personality that comes through in all your communications, you’re becoming more than just a business. You’re actually developing a character that people will remember and relate to.
And in a crowded digital landscape, it’s more important than ever to show a little personality.
A carefully-considered brand voice humanises your business. As business owners, we want our products or services to be the best they can be, so we work hard on them.
But don’t forget that behind the product is a person, or a team of people, with their own personalities, values, opinions and experiences. There was a reason the business started in the first place, and a story behind why you do what you do.
The art of storytelling
As human beings, we’re hardwired to listen to stories. From the earliest days of our ancestors sitting around the campfire or drawing pictures in caves, we were telling tales to each other.
Don’t worry, I’m not diverging into anthropology. There’s more to using storytelling in your marketing than following in the footsteps of your ancestors, and it’s rooted in science.
The act of reading or listening to a story releases oxytocin in the brain, which in turn, causes us to feel empathy. It’s that sense of empathy that makes people want to buy from you.
You can’t argue with science.
It’s even more reason to get to the root of who you are as a brand, so you can put together your business’s very own story.
Getting started: who are you?
The first thing to do is get introspective. Developing your story goes beyond rehashing basic details like what year you launched, whose idea the business was, and what you started selling.
Your story will also act as an insight into the personality of your brand.
If you’ve got a company mission statement, whip that out and read it again. If you have any particular aims and values as a business, write them down. Look into what makes you special, what sets you apart from everyone else in your field. Pick out any points or ideas that you have about your business that could help you tell your story and create your brand identity.
Who are you talking to?
Once you’ve got a good grip on who you are and why you’re different, it’s time to think about your audience.
Who are your current customers or clients, and what does your target market look like? Where are they hanging out? What interests do they have? What’s their demographic group? You might even want to look at what other brands they buy from and engage with.
Building up a picture of your target audience is extremely useful when it comes to creating a brand voice. Some companies even go so far as to create detailed personas of their target audience. These personas can go into depth about all aspects of their target customer: their age, gender, social demographic, hobbies, shopping habits, and even preferences and opinions.
Combine the research you’ve pulled together about your company with the research you did into your audience, and you’ve got a good base to work from.
Developing and using your brand voice
Now you can get specific. Based on your story, personality and target audience, how are you going to communicate?
Are you going to be playful, elegant, simplistic, kind, uplifting or blunt? Formal or informal? There are endless possibilities, and it can be fun to brainstorm and try out ideas.
Your story should inform every decision you make about your brand voice, though, so keep that at the heart of it.
Write out some guidelines so everyone in the company, from your marketing team to your customer service department can follow it. Or if you’re heading up a one-man-band you can refer to it when you come to create a new marketing campaign or design some new documents.
Once you’ve solidified your voice, remember to use it across all methods of communication, just as you’d use your brand colours, logo and fonts across everything.
Consistency across your website, social media, advertising, emails, letters and even packaging will help you grow a strong brand identity.
No matter the platform, stay true to your voice.
One of the biggest plusses of having a strong brand voice is that people will start to recognise how you communicate, and bond with you over it.
You might be selling exactly the same thing as your competitors, but it’s your personality that’s going to close the deal.
People buy from people.
Let me help you express yourself
If you’re struggling to develop a brand voice, or need someone else to take the reigns entirely, I can help.
Contact me for a complimentary 30-minute consultation and I’ll help you get to the root of your brand’s personality, and develop a brand voice that speaks to your ideal audience.