You may have stumbled across various large companies having exchanges with one another on social media platforms and wondered what they’re up to. The short answer is that they’re building their brand voice.
We like to think of many companies as just brick-and-mortar stores that offer products and services, but they are so much more than that. There’s a reason why we associate brands like Mercedes-Benz and Rolex with luxury, and it’s more than the products they sell. They’ve created a personality — and a distinct voice — for their brands.
If you want to continue to grow in your industry, I recommend that you try to do the same.
The Importance Of Building A Brand Voice
Many long-standing companies have a clearly defined sense of purpose and a personality, as they understand that their customers relate to their brand on an emotional level. To develop and showcase your brand’s purpose and personality, be consistent in your message delivery and use a strong, unique brand voice.
It is through a unique brand voice that you can build connections and trust with your target audience. Also, the chances are high that you’ll attract more followers to comment on and share your content.
Follow these tips to find your brand voice.
Understand Your Core Identity
Before moving forward, it’s important to understand your brand’s core identity. Make sure you have a clear definition of who you are and the reason why your company exists.
Understand these three core identity factors: your mission (what you do), your vision (why you exist) and your values (how you achieve your goals). Once you’re confident that you understand these three factors, you can proceed with finding your brand voice.
Identify Your Target Audience
Different brands/companies are expected to communicate differently. A service provider, for instance, would likely want to address its audience differently than processing and manufacturing brands would.
Identifying your target audience is the first step toward finding your brand voice. Ask yourself who you’re speaking to, and then figure out the best way to communicate with them.
Through Google Analytics, email lists or simply just by asking, you can find out who your audience is, where they like to be online and how they communicate. Use this information to your advantage.
Above all, be authentic in how you address your audience. This makes it easier for your potential clients to connect with you.
Interrogate Your Team
Knowing how the world perceives your brand starts with your own staff. Don’t be afraid to ask them how they see the brand.
Include all levels of your company’s employees, including the junior level, the senior level and the founders. Compare the results you get and take note of the reappearing responses. The information you collect will not only help you identify common perceptions about your brand but also inconsistencies.
From there, you can begin to solidify the impression that you have on your customers. Any ad you create, social media post you publish or customer question you answer online, in person or even on the phone, creates an impression. Make sure that your brand voice is heard in every interaction, and your customers will know what to expect from you.
Review Your Content
At first, you may be tempted to concentrate more on what you want your brand to be instead of paying attention to what your brand is now. Examine the content you’ve created so far, and figure out how you currently communicate.
Dig into your recent social media posts, blog posts and newsletters. What common trends do you notice in the content?
Take note of the unique words and descriptions that you use. If, for example, you notice that your tweets and blog headlines are edgy, then there’s a good chance that your audience sees you as such. Use this insight to your advantage and build your brand voice around it.
Think of your brand as a fictional character you’ve created. Once you know how people expect him or her to think and act, you can apply that knowledge to any situation.
Once you’ve established your brand voice, consistency in how you communicate is key to creating recognition among your customers. There are two main areas to consider to help you be consistent:
• Sentence Length: You can use sentence length to communicate in a certain tone of voice. If you want a voice that sounds pithy and fun, consistently use shorter sentences. If you want to sound eloquent and commanding, use long sentences. Long sentences with different structures can be melodic. Short sentences, on the other hand, are straight to the point.
• Vocabulary: Make an outline of the vocabulary you’d like to use in your content. This includes the possibility of swearing and slang. It might seem odd to include this, but some companies have found it to be successful, even in their own company name. Slang can help you relate to a younger generation, while swearing can make you sound edgy. Slang can also turn off people who don’t understand it, and swearing can alienate you from people who find it offensive. Not using either can give off a sense of professionalism, but you risk not relating to people who use both daily. This goes back to understanding your audience, how they like to communicate and what message you would like to send them.
To ensure consistency for your brand, also document your brand voice guiding principles. This can help you:
• Guide new team members on what’s expected from them regarding the content they post on behalf of your brand
• Identify brand weaknesses and existing gaps
• Provide an outline of requirements to ensure effective project management
Finding your brand voice is important because it’s a representation of how your customers are likely to think about your brand. It also can help you customize your content and encourage your potential clients to relate to it. In my experience, this leads to the creation of consumer loyalty, which is something that every company is looking to earn.