It’s not what you say – it’s how you say it. I know, it’s pretty cliché, but it’s true. Especially when it comes to your brand voice.
The voice is your herald, it announces your arrival. It has the power to inspire or extinguish, to praise or belittle. To create or destroy. It can take many forms – a mighty shout across ages or a subtle whisper of profound influence. It’s your clarion call, your aural signature.
But most importantly, it’s your call to adventure.
Your brand voice is it’s personality made manifest – and more. It makes you unique through a mix of tone and character. If it’s wrong, your message will fall on deaf ears.
So, it’s important. But so is everything in branding. What makes the voice such a powerful tool in your arsenal?
What is the Brand Voice?
The brand voice is how you sound to your audience. The voice is made up of many different facets that blend together to create an impression on your audience. There are many factors that make up a brand’s voice, but the most commonly used are language, character and tone.
The type of language has a sway over how your brand is perceived. How you write or speak will have an effect on what your audience feels. For example, using difficult, technical language may show the brand as highly knowledgeable, but less accessible. On the other hand, slang or casual language can create a more open feel. You may notice that certain brands tailor their language to their audience – this makes them seem more approachable.
The character of the brand creates a mannequin that the other areas of brand voice clothe. A rebel brand may have a naturally irreverent voice, whereas a ruler brand will be more authoritative. Understanding your brand archetype can help you find a starting place for your voice.
The tone is the mood you convey. It’s more subtle than the language and character, but no less important. How you use your words can have a major influence over your audience. Is it hard or soft, professional or casual? Minor changes in tone can create entirely different reactions, so it’s important your tone matches your message.
It’s not just the literal sounds you make, but what they represent. As much as any other part of the brand, the voice will tell your audience something about you. It can also create feelings and emotions, subtly influencing the audience to think and feel a certain way.
Why is it important?
The voice is important because it plays a vital role in communicating the brand message. And if the message is off, it’ll result in ideal customers avoiding the brand. The voice is an important way to carry the message, building a narrative that itself carries certain emotions and feelings. When done right, the voice has the power to create followings and instil devotion. Done wrong, and it can drive the audience to your competitors.
As a story-telling species, the voice has always been important to us. A well spoken tale has the power to captivate, and so does your brand voice. Brands are now building stories, so a voice that matches is essential.
Audiences remember how you make them feel, and the voice is a vessel for the feelings associated with your brand. As such, an audience will build an image of your brand based on how the voice made them feel, which can be a more powerful connection than a visual device. Once this feeling takes root in your audience, it’s hard to change it, as this may be perceived as inauthentic. This means that it needs to be close to your message and ideal values. But getting it right can be tough.
Getting it right
The voice is how the brand communicates, and as with anything else, it needs to be consistent. All communications, both written and spoken, should carry the same tone. This helps the brand sound consistent, which will help to associate feelings and actions to the brand. As with any other part of the brand, keeping things consistent is absolutely vital.
And the voice is so easy to get wrong.
For starters, many people often struggle to find the correct voice, which can mean their ideal customers don’t want to connect! Though finding the brand voice can be a lot of trial and error, the most important things to remember are who you are trying to market to and who your brand is. Knowing who you are marketing to helps find a voice that will resonate with them. Knowing who your brand is (it’s values, vision, mission etc) will help to build a unique, authentic character. Obviously, there needs to be some crossover here to make sure that the voice actually lands!
The true power of your Brand Voice
It’s all well and good looking great – but if you aren’t saying things right, who’s going to pay attention? That’s the power of the brand voice – it can create or destroy perception. And once a perception is there, it can be hard to move.
More than many other parts of the brand, it’s what your audience will remember. There’s an adage I like for this effect – ‘when someone shows you who they are; believe them.’ Basically, the voice is trickier to fake. You can put a bunch of awesome visuals together, but if the voice doesn’t convey the message, or if it feels unauthentic, the audience will notice. And when they do, they won’t feel the emotions you want associated with your brand.
Finally, it’s also what calls your clients to embark on the adventure of working with you. Remembering the stories and messages you show them will create feelings associated with your brand, making them more likely to want to work with you.
So take the time to figure out what your voice is. Then go out there and shout (or whisper) your call to adventure.
The right people are waiting to hear you.
Want to get your voice sounding just right? Book in for discussion here and let’s start uncovering your unique sound.
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