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What Does Your Brand Voice Sound Like?

What’s in this article:

  • One of the quickest ways to stand out in any industry is to establish a brand voice
  • Narrow down the elements you want to exhibit and communicate them more effectively with the following tips

One of the quickest ways to stand out in any industry is to establish a brand voice — the persona and tone that helps customers quickly identify your content. As with any marketing strategy, however, consistency is essential. With the following tips, you can narrow down the elements you want to exhibit and communicate them more effectively.

Speak in a voice that resonates with your audience

Some social media experts suggest that your brand voice must reflect the way customers talk. While that’s somewhat true, it’s a bit of a simplification — the goal of a brand’s voice is to give your brand a personality that is identifiable and understood by your audience. Your language will need to resonate with a target market but still express a certain level of authority and confidence about your area of expertise.

Let’s use Dollar Shave Club as an example. One underlying theme of its marketing campaigns is absurd humor, reflected in everything from videos to social media posts. Yet these jokes never treat hair care or related products as silly. Instead, these jokes help Dollar Shave Club’s millennial, always-online audience feel comfortable with the brand — which in turn lets them consider buying its products a little more seriously.

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Avoid jargon wherever possible

Whatever tone you ultimately strike, the most consistent way to get customers on your side is to avoid technical jargon. In most cases, the language businesses that use while developing a product or service will not be the language your audience uses. There are exceptions, such as when you’re trying to reach a highly technical audience, but generally it’s a good rule of thumb to keep your branding simple and easily understandable.

This point is where writing like your customers talk absolutely applies. You must adopt your target audience’s vernacular so they’ll be in a better position to see the value of your product. In today’s world of personalized marketing, letting customers know you speak their language will go a long way towards forging those important long-term relationships.

Create a brand voice chart

Whether you’re trying to create your brand voice or analyze one you’ve already adopted, a brand voice chart can be an immensely useful tool. It lets you segment and analyze tones you wish to strike while highlighting directions you may not want to pursue.

To begin, generate a list of adjectives that represent your brand persona. Are you bold or casual? Formal or informal? Scholarly or straightforward? Create a comprehensive list and try to narrow it down to three or four adjectives that best summarize your voice, whether they reflect the existing tone or the one that’s intended.

From there, enter these into a spreadsheet and expand upon them.

Create columns for an adjective description:

  1. Breakdowns of how a voice with this trait would communicate
  2. Breakdowns of how a voice with this trait would not behave

Once this table is complete, all marketers should refer to it when writing for your brand channels. Consistency is essential, as you’ll need to deploy the same voice across social media accounts, email, blog posts, and more.

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Aim for personality, not sensationalism

There’s just one more detail that marketers should keep in mind — brand voices aren’t meant to be clickbaity. Many often look at the success of quirky social media accounts like Wendy’s and assume replicating that model will guarantee success.

There’s a fine line between drawing attention and being a sensationalist. What’s more, your customers will probably know the difference. The good news is that if you can tell the difference, your brand voice has a far better shot at standing out from the crowd.

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