Ever had a conversation with someone, and midway through, that person completely changes their tone, style, and energy? Imagine speaking with a prospective client, and they go from polite and proper to animated and aggressive. Chances are, you would be completely thrown off and walk away from...confused. That’s exactly how customers feel when a brand doesn’t have a clear, consistent, and specific voice.
Brand voice is the unique characteristics and personality your business adopts to communicate to your audience. Your voice sets the tone for how your business is perceived and the standard of your customer’s expectations.
Now, we understand that you, the owner, cannot do everything for your business. We get that some tasks must be delegated, but it’s on you to establish the voice for your brand. If you’re like many small business owners when it comes to establishing a voice for your brand (confused, a little lost, and overwhelmed), don't worry. We got you! Here are four quick tips to help you develop a unique voice that will set your brand apart from the competition.
Know Your Brand
The first step in developing a brand voice is to know your brand. Before you start trying to connect with your audience, you and your team need to know your brand inside and out. Ask yourself a series of questions to get a deeper understanding of what your brand is and what it stands for, like:
What is your purpose?
What’s your secret sauce, the thing that makes you unique?
What do you value?
Who’s the competition, and how do they present themselves?
Think of three words to describe your brand.
Once you and your team can answer these questions using the same or similar words and ideas, you know you have a fully defined brand identity.
Know Who You Are and What You’re Not
To establish a consistent brand identity and voice, it’s important to know who you are and what you’re not. Using the ‘We’re this, not that’ exercise is a great way to find out your brand's unique characteristics.
“We’re __________, but we’re not __________.”
Repeat this several times until you have four to five sentences that fully reflect who you are and how you will present yourself to your audience.
Know Your Audience
The next step in developing an effective brand voice is knowing your audience. Who are you talking to? In our daily lives, we adjust the way we speak and the words we communicate based on who we’re talking to. You wouldn’t talk to your best friend and the CEO of a Fortune 500 company the same way. Unless, of course, your best friend is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. For the rest of us, with basic but great best friends, the following rule applies: mold your communication to the audience you are directly speaking to. Confused about who your audience is? If you need a great resource on finding your audience, catch the replay to our DIY Marketer Series: Finding Your Audience here.
Know Your Competition
To stand apart from the competition, you must first acknowledge who they are.
Knowing who your competitors are is a great way to ensure you’re not mimicking their style and voice. While you want your voice to stay appropriate to your industry, you mustn’t fall into an industry stereotype. If every company within your industry takes on a similar brand personality, it’s hard for your audience to tell you apart. But if your company breaks the mold and embraces an appropriate yet unique personality, you will stand out from the crowd.
Applying these tips, you’re well on your way to establishing and maintaining a successful relationship with your audience. Because let’s face it, people buy from businesses they like, know, and trust. And remember, be flexible. Your company’s priorities may change with time, and so should your brand’s voice.
Need help finding a voice for your brand or just a second set of eyes to provide some insight? Let us know! We’re here to take your marketing to the next level and help your business grow. Give us a call at 256-648-3210 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.