How does your brand speak?
“Blah, blah, blah.” That’s what your customers and audiences are hearing all day long. They’re bombarded with information from businesses on the radio, TV and social media platforms. To cut through this noise and reach them, you need to hit a different pitch to the rest.
You might think your brand naturally speaks differently from competitors. But if you don’t make a concerted effort to stand out, you can fall back into using standard cliches and terms. Particularly if different team members are working on your copy without any guidelines.
So, what are the business benefits of establishing a brand voice and how can you find yours?
Why bother with a brand voice?
Before we take a look at the advantages of creating an effective brand voice, it’s important to be aware of a few key terms. These are often used interchangeably but have very specific definitions, as follows;
• Brand personality: these are the traits and characteristics of a brand e.g. open-minded or brave.
• Brand voice: this is the way a brand’s personality is expressed, including the types of words and phrases used.
• Brand tone of voice: the way a brand’s voice adapts to different platforms, audiences and formats while staying consistent.
Each of these links closely together. So as the business owner, you should include each of them in your brand strategy. By doing so, your company will start seeing the benefits set out below.
It helps you stand out.
Creating a distinctive brand voice will make your business stand out from the noise of online chatter, crowded TV advertising, busy OOH media landscapes and, most importantly, your competitors. Even if you’re not talking about your service or products’ USPs, an effective tone of voice will distinguish you within the marketplace.
For companies operating in niche markets, using a tone of voice that’s true to your business will make you more noticeable and appealing to target audiences. Rather than speaking to everyone with a blanket strategy, your brand voice will cut through to those who’ll be most receptive to your message.
It boosts SEO performance.
Squeezing in target keywords isn’t enough to achieve good Google rankings these days. The introduction of EEAT guidelines has brought this more closely into focus. As businesses now have to demonstrate ‘experience’ alongside ‘expertise’ of the topics they’re discussing in their content.
This means companies can’t just share messages and information in a generic way. To really rank well in Google, they also need to give a unique perspective. Using a distinctive voice to communicate means businesses can put their expertise and experience across in a way search engines will favour.
It engages with the customer.
You will have heard the classic term, ‘people buy from people’. By giving your brand a personality (and voice) you’re creating human-like characteristics that your target audience can connect with. Creating a brand that speaks like your audience and understands their needs will help to build brand loyalty and emotional connections.
An effective tone of voice will also communicate three traits most important to customers – authenticity, consistency and trust. Indeed, 86% of customers say they prefer authentic brands and 46% of US consumers say they’d buy more from brands they trust. Plus, 68% of businesses have experienced revenue growth of 10% or more by improving their messaging consistency.
What does a good brand voice sound like?
Each brand’s tone of voice is unique to its business. However, looking at effective examples can help you distinguish and define your own company’s brand personality. Here are some brands that have established successful personalities and voices for their brand.
Helpful and empowering.
Mailchimp’s mission is to help SMEs grow. The brand’s friendliness and sense of support come through consistently in its messaging. Aspirational, positive and empowering, the Mailchimp brand talks like the business coach everyone wants.
This shows target customers that the business understands their needs and helps to build strong affiliations. In turn, this creates a sense of trust and loyalty between Mailchimp and its prospects even before they learn about the benefits of the email marketing tool.
Naughty yet nice.
As the brand name suggests, Nak’d has a tone of voice that’s the definition of tongue-in-cheek. By riffing off their USP (the fact they only use raw ingredients in their bars) Nak’d breaks through the crowded snack market in a unique, captivating and creative way.
By playing with sexual innuendos, the Nak’d brand has carved out its own distinctive voice in the health food space. The cheeky tone creates a sense that their bars are ‘naughty yet nice’ treats. Just as chocolate bars have been advertised using a sensual tone (think Flake and Creme Egg), this healthier alternative takes a similarly effective approach.
Honest and unashamed.
Reflective of its home region, the Yorkshire Tea brand personality takes a characteristically straight-talking approach. From telling far-right activists ‘not to buy their tea’ on social media to pleading with target audiences in their OOH advertising, the brand’s tone is as refreshing as its product.
By focusing on ‘doing things properly’, the brand reflects the traits of the region it originates from, presenting a personality that’s truly authentic. Taking a stand against prejudice on Twitter, ethically sourcing their tea and prioritising product quality are just some of the actions that demonstrate how this brand’s values are as human as its tone of voice.
Fun and endearing.
Pip & Nut undeniably love their nuts – and so do their followers! The energy of this passion is clear in their infectious brand voice, whether it’s fun nut-based word-play or customer comments taken straight from social media. The brand’s personality is perfectly aligned with the products and the team’s values, creating a succinct and cohesive voice across every touchpoint of the business.
Affectionately referring to their customers as “nutters’ or “squirrels” in line with their product, the peanut butter maker has created a brand community formed from a collective love of nuts. This strengthens the customers’ sense of belonging and loyalty, encouraging a wider audience to get involved.
How to find your brand’s voice.
If you want to create a distinct brand voice as effective as the examples above, where do you start? Well, below are some good pointers to set you off on the right track.
• Understand your audience and create a persona that aligns with their needs, characteristics and demographics.
• Define who your brand is and build a personality profile based on your core business traits and values.
• Align with your business objectives and goals to make sure your brand voice offers real strategic value.
• Create tone of voice guidelines that will help your team apply consistent messaging, campaigns and communications.
• Review your brand voice regularly to ensure it stays up-to-date with any new formats or changes in your audience’s persona.
Having worked with a range of businesses to develop their brand personality, our team can help guide you through this process. Working closely with your team we can help you discover, develop and deploy an effective brand voice that aligns with your business.
Read more about our Branding process and the methodology we apply when working on a brand/rebrand project with a client, click here
Give us a call on 01926 754038 or drop us an email at email@example.com and one of the team will be in touch for an informal chat.