Creating a voice for your brand

Wouldn’t it be cool if when your company started talking, your customers knew it was you even before you introduced yourself?  It’d be kind of like it was in the olden days before caller ID, when you picked up you knew it was Aunty Sue just from the way she launched into the boring-est story of all time without checking first who she was speaking to.  And while you don’t want your customers to be rushing off to find their mums, that instant identification is gold.

So how can you achieve something like this?  It’s all about giving your brand a personality and delivering a constant voice in all communications.  Here’s some tips on how to get started:

  1. Define

If you haven’t already done so, define your brand personality.  This is essentially allocating human traits to your brand.  Are you funny and kooky, casual and friendly, knowledgeable and trusted?  Are you serious?  Are you weird?  Whatever it is, write it down.  Brand guidelines documents are useful for this. Developing the voice is more specifically defining the tone of voice you will use. Do you need to be authoritative?  Or witty?  Or informative?  Or warm and fuzzy?  And how will you know?  This is all about delivering what your target audience wants.  You need to understand them on an intimate level and speak to them in a relevant way that ensures they are receptive to your message. Frank Body, a Melbourne based beauty products company do this exceptionally well.

  1. Differentiate

You also need to make sure you are differentiated.  The best brands offer a unique proposition.  “But I’m selling staples!” I hear you protest.  Doesn’t matter.  Even purveyors of fine staples, widgets and other commodities can separate themselves from the pack.

  1. Be authentic

Above all, make sure it’s authentic.  If you are not groovy, don’t try to be.  Your audience will see through you in a heartbeat. The digital age has created an era of transparency as people have the power to tweet, blog and post about any brand they like (or don’t like). Being inauthentic or not delivering on promises can result in a brand being completely slammed online.

  1. Test it

You should test it out…on family and friends or ideally a sample of customers.  Develop sample communications with differing styles and see which ones resonate.  But don’t worry too much about getting it wrong…you can always adjust down the track if you need to.  Youth travel brand Gecko’s Adventures tried out a quirky, irreverent style with advertising lines like “May your heart be light, your step swift and your stories f***ing epic”.  After about 6 months they realised it was leading to increased web traffic but not sales, so they have decided to ditch the swearing and try a different angle.

  1. Be consistent

Once you’ve got your voice defined, make sure whoever it is that is developing your communications adopts that persona, each and every time.  Circulate your brand guidelines document, or if you’re a larger company, consider an employee immersion event.  Consistency is king in ensuring your customers get the experience they are expecting.

If you would like help in developing the voice for your company, help is readily available.  Good luck – and may the voice be with you.