How to Establish a Brand Voice
Take a second to think of a business and its unique branding choices when embarking on the journey of how to build a brand. How is their branding interwoven throughout all of their platforms? Maybe the business has chosen a unique color scheme that pops out among the competition. Perhaps the business has chosen a memorable tagline or logo.
Branding a startup (creating the overall aesthetic of the business’s identity) is a vital part of making a business stand out. Encapsulating the purpose of the business with specific font, colors, and logo sets the stage for the brand’s voice to shine.
Brand voice is how a business conveys its personality and brand values to the intended audience.
The aesthetic of a brand is important, but it relies heavily on the brand voice to carry it.
There’s no doubt that it is difficult to be heard in the rapidly-moving and competitive marketing ring. It is easy to be tempted by the comparison game as a new business fighting to establish your brand identity. The branding may be on point, but a business will never be set apart if it tries to mimic the voice of its competitors.
How can a business establish their brand’s voice that speaks to its target audience while remaining authentic?
What is Your Message?
If you’re curious as to how to increase brand awareness, managing your brand message is a big part of it. Think about how your intended audience will view your brand message. If that seems an overwhelming starting point then use these prompts to break the ice.
- What are the core values of our business?
- Name the top 5 strengths of your team.
- What do you hope customers gain from using your product/service?
- How do you want customers to feel when they shop with your business?
Using these prompts will help you to answer three important questions:
- Why does your business exist?
- What sets you apart from businesses similar to yours?
- What is the underlying promise that you have for customers and employees alike?
Having clarity on your business’s overall brand message is essential to establishing a voice. A business can promise just about anything, but customers can spot inauthenticity faster than a business can cover it with marketing strategy. Figure out the most authentic message that describes your business. Your business’s voice will follow immediately in these next steps.
Know Your Audience
Wondering what is brand equity and its significance? Establishing and getting to know your target audience is the backbone of any marketing strategy. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to have a message. The message needs a voice that will be representative of your brand identity. You have to know who is on the other side of your ads, email campaigns, and social media platform. Ideally, a message would reach everyone, but it doesn’t.
Having a target audience will allow your message reach those that want to be reached by your brand. For example, it would be great if everyone wanted to purchase maternity clothes, but it turns out that’s not the case (surprised?). So, the brand voice for a maternity clothing boutique is going to have to appeal to women.
Take an honest look at who’s buying your product, and do your best to define who that audience is. You can also take things a step further by segmenting your audience into various categories with similarities in character or demographics. For example, a B2C may have a unique brand voice in their marketing materials when it comes to speaking to customers but may alter it slightly in marketing materials for business partnerships.
If your product or service is niched down like our example then you’re already halfway to establishing your brand voice. You know your audience and now it’s just a matter of knowing what to say and how.
Take the target audience that you and your team made and expound on that. Creating two to three personas for your audience is advantageous for you and your customer. This exercise will allow you to humanize your audience and cater directly to them in all of your marketing efforts. If you are not receiving expected feedback, it may be time for rebranding.
Here is a quick example of how the maternity clothing boutique could implement personas into their brand voice.
late twenties, first time mother, professional
|fun, light hearted, encouraging||#momboss #ootd #workingmom|
From there, the boutique could flesh out their personas by adding a mom of multiple children, a single mom, an athletic mom, etc. Giving a persona to your customers will allow you to communicate clearly with your team. Your writers will be able to advertise to a specific demographic with personas in place. For example, the boutique’s sale on blazers would appeal directly to “Abby”.
The ‘3 Word’ Exercise
If someone asked you to describe your business in three words, what would you say?
As detailed as marketing requires a business to be at times, it’s worth being able to quickly summarize your business’s overall vision/goal. What are words that you want your customers to use when describing your business?
Does your business meet a need, fix a problem, or create an opportunity?
Who does your business serve?
Are families better because of your product?
Going back to the earlier example, it would make sense that the maternity clothing boutique would want its customer base to describe them as comfortable, reliable, and trendy.
The three words that you choose aren’t just to describe the business itself, but the emotions it elicits. Virtues are also descriptive words that you can consider (i.e. trustworthy, loyal, respectful, etc.) Establishing your three word summary of your brand will help you to solidify your voice.
Perfect Your Content
Marketing strategies ebb and flow with the growth of any business. If you are back to the drawing board and rebranding then don’t worry. Finding your brand voice takes time and is a positive indicator that your business is growing. Before you spend a lot of time rebranding your business entirely, sift through older content and repurpose it.
Use older blog posts to show the growth of your business and the direction it is heading in by doing a side-by-side comparison in a new post. Do throwback posts on social media to pave the way for your new branding.
Existing customers will want to know why things are changing. Here is your chance to level the communication playing field and get everyone on the same page. Your brand voice needs to come across as a strong and confident presence rather than a whisper. Don’t be held back by old content, but use it to promote the great changes that are to come.
Your brand voice is going to be what you use behind the scenes to navigate your business. Knowing your brand voice will keep you from rushing into new products that aren’t part of your vision. It will help you to keep your sanity when you’re tempted to compare yourself to every business that has a platform on Instagram. Your brand voice will be what provides consistency for your team and your customers. There are companies that any of us can think of that don’t know who they are. They may be trendy and they may be generating sales, but they are inconsistent in what they offer, their pricing, and their reviews.
It isn’t enough to make sales. Sales don’t always equate to repeat life-long customers. Again, businesses change almost constantly. There are setbacks and chapters of difficult adaptation. Consistency will always bring you back to the center. It pays to know who you are as a business and to stand by your brand voice.
Another part of ensuring consistency is making sure your digital properties are in-sync with your brand voice. Your email marketing, website, and Messenger Marketing should all have a distinguishable brand voice and tone.
Know what your business’s message is. Establish who your target audience is and create personas to help humanize them. How would you describe your business in three words? Knowing this will weave into the personas you create and the message you want to convey. Don’t ditch old content just yet! Repurpose what you can with the resources that you have. Your brand voice isn’t hard to find. Take time to evaluate all of the tips in this post with your team. We’d love to know what you learn as a team.
ManyChat went through the brainstorming process just like you are. We discovered how we wanted to help businesses, the services we wanted to specialize in and offer, and how to corner the market on that service. Take a browse around our website! You can see that we ended up knowing just who we are and who we want to support (you!).