Some of the simplest questions in marketing can leave even seasoned business owners stumped.
What is your brand voice?
More often than not, this question is met with pause. That’s because if you haven’t made it a point to create and maintain a true brand voice, you’ve likely been overlooking it all this time. And if you’re spending on marketing and advertising, the gravity of the question multiplies. A cohesive brand voice is the common thread throughout your marketing strategy, from your website, content development, and email marketing to social media, digital advertising, and any outdoor advertising.
So, we’ll ask again: What is your brand voice? It’s understandable if you have more questions than answers. Let us explain the basics.
What Is Brand Voice?
Just like people have unique personalities that shape how they communicate and interact with others, a brand should carry a distinct voice that reflects its values, mission, and identity. Think of your brand more as a person than an object or entity. After all, the brand is talking to people.
With the visual that your brand is a person, now picture how you want that person to be perceived by your audience. This will lead you to the early workings of your brand voice in not only what you say, but how you say it. And remember, branding isn’t about you or your personal preferences. It’s about connecting with your customers, inspiring your team members, and making your marketing more relatable.
What Does Brand Voice Mean?
Brand voice is intangible and therefore subjective—but that doesn’t mean it can’t be clearly defined. To give the concept more substance and begin to envision a process for developing your brand voice, consider these key elements:
- Tone – Your brand tone can be friendly, formal, playful, authoritative, empathetic, humorous, or so on. The tone may vary based on context but will generally be anchored in daily brand communication. Together, voice and tone shape how a brand speaks to its audience, ensuring resonance, differentiation, and a memorable experience across touchpoints.
- Style – In brand voice, style denotes the manner of expression, influenced by language choices. The style may be casual, professional, technical, or colloquial, mirroring the brand’s identity and shaping its connection with the target audience. Integral to brand voice, style dictates how messages are delivered in alignment with the brand’s values and personality.
- Consistency – A consistent brand voice is crucial to build trust and recognition. Whether in advertising, social media, customer support, or any other communication, the brand voice should remain consistent. This extends to grammatical guidelines as well.
- Authenticity – An authentic brand voice mirrors the genuine ethos and values of a brand. Consumers gravitate toward brands that communicate transparently and sincerely. You’re not necessarily “creating” your brand voice, but more so establishing it.
- Alignment – Your brand voice should speak to your target audience on the things they care about, in the everyday language they use. By understanding your audience’s nuances, you can tailor your voice to resonate with them effectively and align with their buying preferences.
- Storytelling – Narratives are powerful. Whether it’s through a blog post or a case study, the essence of your brand voice is frequently conveyed through storytelling to strengthen your brand’s emotional connection with your customers.
- Positioning – Your brand’s stance in the market can help guide your brand voice in a certain direction. A luxury brand, for instance, might embrace a sophisticated voice, while one catering to kids would likely have a more energetic voice.
When wielded with intention and clarity, brand voice can be one of the most powerful tools for building a lasting, loyal connection among your audience.
How to Find Your Brand Voice
Developing a brand voice requires a deep understanding of your brand’s values, mission, and personality. It involves careful consideration of the target audience, competitive landscape, and the desired emotional response from customers. In the process, you’ll need to ask and answer important questions, such as:
- Who are we at our core, and what unique value do we offer?
- Who are our ideal customers, and how do we genuinely resonate with their values and aspirations?
- What sets our voice apart from competitors to make us unmistakable in the market?
- As our brand grows and evolves, how will our voice adapt to stay relevant while remaining true to our roots?
- In moments of challenge or controversy, how will our voice reflect our commitment to authenticity, transparency, and responsibility?
There are a few different ways you can go about creating your brand voice:
- In-House – Tapping into the expertise of your internal marketing team can be a sensible move. However, given their existing workload, time constraints might impede progress. This is exactly the kind of project that can sit for months with a busy in-house person or team. Plus, in-house efforts might miss out on external perspectives when asking those soul-searching questions that help uncover a purposeful brand voice.
- Freelancer – Partnering with a freelance copywriter can be fruitful if they have a track record of developing brand messaging and not just content writing. They should have a proven process and relevant samples; without either of those two requirements, you could be setting yourself up for a let-down. Additionally, freelancers generally don’t provide complete marketing solutions, which will be needed to not only implement your brand voice but also integrate it with your visual branding.
- AI – We know you’re wondering if artificial intelligence can churn out your brand voice for you. The answer is…kind of, not really. AI companies are rolling out brand voice generators, but the output still relies on your input. If you’re not an experienced marketer and copywriter, you’ll likely receive something that feels auto generated and doesn’t quite capture your vision. At their very core, AI models don’t have emotions, feelings, or personality (all the things your brand voice needs). When used incorrectly, AI can be counterproductive and ultimately deplete your brand voice. With all that said, you can certainly use AI to generate words, phrases, and ideas as thought starters.
- Agency – Most companies that are serious about investing in their brand will usually opt to partner with an agency like Netwave to take them through the process of branding and brand voice development. We bring the unique perspective of having developed many brands in various industries, and apply our depth and breadth of experience to truly differentiate your brand. Additionally, outsourcing puts the responsibility on us to complete your brand voice quickly and smoothly. Then, we have an entire team to handle all your marketing needs while quietly reinforcing and refining your brand voice over time.