What is a brand voice? How do you find it? How do you define it? Your brand voice is an essential, independent factor of your brand that dictates how you communicate with your target audience. It should represent your overall tone and brand personality. Your voice is not just what you talk about – it’s what you say, how you say it, who you say it to. Knowing your voice helps keep your content in line with your business’s values and goals. It assures that your message is portrayed and interpreted clearly and accurately.
So how do you know what your voice is? There are hundreds of things you could consider when discovering or creating your brand voice, but we’ll start small. Keep reading to find out seven tips to make sure your brand voice is pitch perfect.
1. You Can’t Speak Without a Voice
A brand voice is a necessity for a cohesive and successful brand. Justine Musk says, “When you are a presence that lacks a voice, you create an empty space that another voice – a dominating voice that knows no boundaries – is only too happy to fill.” Your voice can make or break your online success. You have to establish a clear-cut tone and personality or customers (or competitors) will do it for you. If your voice is too passive or neutral, people will make assumptions or you will lose credibility for straddling the fence. Find a voice that will appeal to your target audience and run with it (you can’t please everyone).
2. Choose a Voice That Helps Accomplish Your Goal
Before defining your voice, you should already have defined your company’s vision and mission statements. Now choose a voice that will help you to accomplish that. Each time you publish something to cyberspace, ask yourself if your content and tone is helping you reach that goal. For example, if you work in the hospitality industry and your goal is to deliver luxurious vacations to your audience, you need a voice that is calm and inviting while also maintaining a high-end, classy image. It is important to see your business from every angle. Always consider what you want to communicate to your reader and if what you’re communicating is what they need.
3. Choose the Right Medium
Your medium is how you choose to communicate your views, whether it’s through podcasts, videos, informative articles, blogs, vlogs, etc. The right medium is different for every business and it is directly related to your voice. Find what works for your brand and don’t be afraid to do a little experimenting to find it. You just have to see what your audience responds to! If you’re selling a product or experience with a strong visual aesthetic, incorporating a lot of videos and photography into your content might be your best bet. If your customers come to you for information, they may respond to blogs better. Find the right platform for your brand and the rest will come naturally.
4. Don’t Let People Put Words in Your Mouth
The channels you use and who you quote and link to speak volumes. While it’s important to expand your reach by mentioning other people, products, or events and to expand on your own company’s knowledge by referencing external articles, you must always consider your source. The people you quote and the websites you link to affect your voice and become a reflection of your brand. You might only link to one article or retweet one quote, but that brief mention could unpack a controversial history. (Just think of what happened when Donald Trump quoted Mussolini.) Always do your research to avoid tying yourself to a sinking ship.
5. Align Your “Atmosphere” with Your Voice
Your brand voice isn’t only influenced by words and text. The atmosphere and overall design of your brand represents you just as much as what you say. From color to fonts to graphics, how you design your website, social media, logo, and even emails relates to your identity. You have to remember: a picture is worth a thousand words! Any visuals, graphics, pictures, or videos you use contribute to your brand voice. Layout also plays a huge part in how your voice is interpreted. Creating a strong and identifiable atmosphere is essential for a powerful brand voice and a successful brand.
6. Use the Right Grammar and Vocabulary
You’ve heard it all before: check your spelling, watch your grammar, be politically correct, use proper punctuation… And it’s all true! Each of these things can completely transform a voice. Improper grammar can ruin your credibility and make your company seem inexperienced, uneducated, or untrustworthy. Vocabulary is a valuable tool that is often overlooked. The variation of words you use should depend on your audience. You want to ensure you sound professional and knowledgeable, but without going over your reader’s head. You also do not want to be bland. Simplify your point creatively.
7. It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It
We might hear this a lot, but it could not be more relevant. How you say things is one of the most crucial points to consider when developing and maintaining your voice. Have you ever interpreted an email or text the wrong way? This can easily happen with what you put online. You want to use everything in this article to ensure that what you say is understood the way you intended and for the benefit of the business. Knowing your audience is vital in deciding the tone you speak. You wouldn’t speak to your CEO the same way you would speak to your niece or nephew. Be very careful how you word things. Vocabulary, punctuation, and atmosphere must all intertwine to keep in tone with your voice.
Today’s online world may seem simple, but letting your voice fade or change could prove detrimental to your business. Cohesiveness is key and you want everything in your business to mesh and create the ideal image and voice that you represent.