Building a Brand Voice
If your very ladylike grandmother suddenly started using language more suited to a rapper, you’d find it a bit jarring, right? The tone of voice we usually use gives people a picture in their minds of who we are, what we stand for, and where we’re coming from. The same is true of your business—your brand voice helps customers recognize and relate positively to you. So the question is, how do you go about building and maintaining it?
Why Brand Voice Matters
What you say and how you say it is key to building a picture of your business and the solutions you provide. If your company was a person, its brand voice would be made up of the words he/she chose, and the context in which those words were used. This has a direct influence on how people see and relate to your business.
Three Steps to Building Your Brand Voice
Now that you understand what brand voice means, it’s equally important to know that when it comes to authentic, authoritative communications, your brand voice is critical. Follow these three steps to build a successful brand voice that speaks for your business.
Ask yourself how you want others to see your business. Do you want to be tech savvy, reliable, and friendly? It’s important to account for how your customers already see you. You can easily do this by taking a survey, or simply asking questions. If you don’t like the responses you receive, use that to motivate the kind of brand voice you wish to have.
Now listen to your customers. How are they communicating on social media, online forums, and at events? Is the tone generally relaxed or is it formal? Imagine your business as a person joining in on the conversation and analyze how well you fit.
Once you have a good idea of how your target audience communicates, set up guidelines for your brand voice with clear limits. A simple piece of advice I like to follow is to add a limit to every positive word you choose. An example of this rule is setting limits such as you want your business to be friendly, but not overly familiar, or professional, but not stuffy.
How to Keep Your Voice Consistent
Now that you have your brand voice remember to enforce that anyone communicating on behalf of your business stays within the guidelines you’ve set. A great way to do this is to set simple reminders throughout your office and plant. Internal posters, printouts, and kits containing advice and samples can easily be distributed to employees at any time. Be sure to include a list of words that work and words to avoid. Examples of how to offer sentences—and even examples of how not to communicate—are all great materials to include.
Building a brand voice is one of the most important things your business can do for not only public image, but communicating with customers and prospects as well. What you say matters, but how you say it has equal weight. So start paying attention to your brand voice today.
John Foley Jr. is the CEO of interlinkONE and Grow Socially. John and his team help printers get on a strong path to marketing success. Their approach includes software solutions, consulting, Website development, marketing audits, and strategic marketing plans. interlinkONE’s software solutions for the print industry include their marketing automation platform, MAX, and ilinkONE V8. Learn more about MAX: Marketing Automation. Executed. by visiting MarketWithMAX.com, John at JohnFoleyJr.com, and his companies at interlinkONE.com and GrowSocially.com.