Creating A Great Brand Voice Part One
To be successful in business, you must have a great brand voice. It needs to convey the right message, tone and image. Here's how to create exactly that.
Brand voice is the foundation of your business image. There is an endless list of impressions you can give and all fit different types of enterprise. A children’s entertainer who markets themselves as serious and reserved isn’t likely to get the gig. Likewise, people will avoid a funeral director who appears fun and jovial. It’s vital that you get your brand voice right because the consequences of using the wrong one can be catastrophic. So how do you do just that? Here are five tips for finding a brand voice that’s spot on.
1. Who Is My Audience?
Who are you looking to appeal to? The funeral director wants to speak to people who are grieving. Their brand voice, therefore, needs to be empathetic but not overbearing. They should convey sympathy whilst making clear they will remain very much in the background. It needs to be evident that they know how to guide people through the funeral process, but also that they are willing to be directed, too.
On the other hand, who is the children’s entertainer’s audience? If you said young kids, you might want to think a little more. Yes, obviously appealing to children is crucial. However, the real customer, the person handing over cash and controlling the booking, is the parent and perhaps, on occasion, a teacher. A children’s entertainer needs to speak to both those they will be entertaining and the paying client through their brand voice.
2. How Does Your Audience Talk?
There are many ways to find this out. You can look at your competitors’ marketing. You can visit social media pages. You can network among groups who have influence in your field. Anywhere and everywhere you can get exposure to individuals directly involved in your industry, both personally and professionally, will help to teach you how they speak. You then use this to craft your brand voice in a way which relates to them.
If you’re thinking that would be easier to do as a children’s entertainer than as a funeral director, you’d be right... to an extent. Obviously, socialising with parents who, let’s face it, are probably some of your friends anyway, getting involved in a PTA if you’re a Mum or Dad yourself, or helping out at local youth groups, are easy to do. However, with a little thinking, funeral directors have all these opportunities, too. It’s almost guaranteed that you know people who have lost someone. Talking to them in the immediate aftermath would be seriously insensitive but asking for their input once they’ve had time to grieve (I’m talking at least a year), handled respectfully, is certainly possible. So is speaking with groups which help people with grief, hospices, and even medical staff involved in end-of-life care.
3. Where Do I Start With My Brand Voice?
Your brand voice should inform every bit of marketing you do. That’s why it’s a good idea to start with the mission and value statements of your business. One thing to be aware of is whether your company sells widely contrasting services or products. In that case, you need statements which are flexible and can relate to, as far as possible, everything you offer.
4. What Is Your Brand Tone And Personality?
If your brand were human, what kind of person would it be? Fun and bubbly? Reserved and serious? Calm and relaxing? Exciting and trendy? Smart and clever? Really dig in and make ‘friends’ with your brand. What you discover about ‘them’ needs to inform everything you do relating to its voice.
5. Does Your Current Voice Work?
Using point four, question whether your current voice is doing the right job for your brand. Sometimes with just a little tweaking you can get a far more effective brand voice. Don’t be frightened to change it entirely, though. Sometimes what initially seemed like a good idea could actually be doing more harm than good. Be bold, brave and, if necessary, don’t just revise but revolutionise your company image.
More ideas for helping you craft the right brand voice for your business next week.