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Building a strong brand helps a company make an impression on consumers—ideally, a positive one that leads to increased awareness, recall and loyalty. In addition to your brand’s story and visual elements such as colors and logos, the voice you use to communicate across all channels also needs to be congruent with your company’s stated values, vision and purpose.
By employing a consistent brand voice, your company can build a reputation, gain recognition within your industry and community and stand out among competitors. Once consumers recognize your brand voice, they can relate to it, which further cultivates a sense of loyalty.
To learn how to create a brand voice that both appeals to your current customers and attracts prospects who may have never heard of your company before, see the expert tips the members of Forbes Agency Council share below.
1. Focus On Voice From The Beginning
Authenticity and consistency are vital to brand voice, and the strongest voices are developed alongside other “core” elements of branding such as positioning and visuals. Focus on voice—including through exploration of it in workshops and audits—from the beginning of your brand development process. Once developed, integrate this voice across all touchpoints, both verbally and visually. – Howard Breindel, DeSantis Breindel
2. Employ Brutal Honesty
Employing brutal honesty means cutting all filler, hyperbole and marketing speak and getting straight to the truth. Talk to your potential customers as you would a close friend. Respect their time and use your messaging to deliver real value that makes the buying process easier for them. When backed by customer-centric policies and processes, this approach builds trust and encourages loyalty. – Scott Greggory, MadAveGroup
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3. Help Every Employee Learn It
Help every employee learn it, adopt it and integrate it into their work. It’s not a true brand “voice” if it’s only spoken through crafted advertising copy. – Neil Bedwell, Local Industries
4. Identify Your Core Values
Identifying your company’s core values is the first step to developing a brand voice. Then, put these values into action for employees, customers and prospects. You can’t say you care about social good and then avoid calling out issues that impact society. Accountability and empathy are part of our TAGFEE code (transparent, authentic, generous, fun, empathetic and exceptional), guiding what we speak about and how we do it. – Sarah Bird, Moz Group at J2 Global
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5. Use The Language Your Clients Use
If you are working in a niche market with niche needs, it is important to speak as your customer does, using the same terms. We have a lot of success when we use the language our clients use, especially in our written content. – Dave Oury, Medical Leverage, a communications company
6. Don’t Listen To Everyone’s Opinion
Be ruthless about not taking everyone’s opinion into account. Too many cooks in the kitchen will ruin a brand’s voice. Have strict guidelines that are to be followed and be consistent in applying them. Don’t let a vocal minority impact the majority of people who like your brand. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
7. Use Your Three Keys: Purpose, Values And Story
When your brand is able to clearly articulate what it stands for and believes in, you will attract and connect with your ideal team, clients and even vendors. Use your three keys—purpose, values and story—to anchor and unify all of your communications. Relying on your three keys will cultivate a strong brand voice that is apparent in all aspects of your business. – Fran Biderman-Gross, Advantages
8. Show That Your Company Is Made Up Of Individuals
The best way to create a voice that resonates with people is by illustrating that your company is not a nameless corporation, but rather a collection of individuals, just like your customers. People fear giant corporations, but they love companies that are down to earth. Be active on social media, engage with your customers and show them live, behind-the-scenes videos. Your customers will relate to that in a big way. – Jason Hall, FiveChannels Marketing
9. Identify A Natural And Differentiating Brand Archetype
Identify a natural and differentiating brand archetype for your company. If your competitors are all speaking from the voice of a “creator” or a “ruler,” map your company to see if you can stand out from the crowd by adopting a “rebel” or “magician” archetype. Leveraging archetypes that are based on the work of Carl Jung and rooted in human needs can create a natural “swim lane” for your brand voice. – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing
10. Know And Understand What You Believe In
What does your brand value, and why? Once that is defined, all messaging backs into it, and you inherently know what an authentic communication strategy is and what it isn’t. Authenticity derived from the position of a clearly defined value set creates a strong voice. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group
11. Create An Internal Brand Avatar
Behind the scenes, internally, create a brand avatar. This is literally creating a “person” to act as the brand voice. Have fun with it. Identify their likes, dislikes, lifestyle, motivators and so on. Everything done on behalf of the brand should pass the litmus test of being something this person would say or do. It is a fun way to stick to one voice. – Suzanne Rosnowski, Relevance International
12. Know Who You’re Speaking To
Your voice should resonate with your target audience’s questions, pain points and even linguistic preferences—storytelling versus data, for example. Who is your ideal customer? Paint a picture of them in your head: What are their interests? Hobbies? Family or lifestyle? Then, speak to them directly. Remember, if you are trying to “speak to everyone” then you are speaking to no one. – Bernard May, National Positions
13. Define Your Brand’s Personality
A strong voice is built on a clear, distinct and actionable definition of your brand’s personality. You have to be able to answer questions around your style and tone, just as you would describe or define them for a person. Built from the brand’s personality, then, are clear voice principles that can directly and immediately guide your writing tactics. Those steps form the foundation of a strong voice. – Justin Wartell, Monigle
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Author: Expert Panel®, Forbes Councils Member