What Is Brand Voice? 5 Mistakes You Could Be Making.
A brand’s voice is the particular personality it conveys to its audience through words and phrases. It includes the language and tone used in communications like text-based content, printed materials, verbal interactions, videos, and other multimedia content. However, it can also be part of the visual language the brand uses in things like infographics.
An easy way to understand this is to think of brands as people. When you first meet new people, you use certain language or discuss certain topics. The language you present is your “voice.”
Brand voice is an essential part of branding but it’s not the same thing as branding. Your brand is a collection of values, ideas, and associations that exists in your customer’s mind. When they think of you, this is the image that comes into their mind. The voice, on the other hand, is the actual language you use in order to convey your brand image to your customers.
Voice is important because it’s a key part of identifying your brand. You know what your organization stands for, but how do you get your target market to understand that? You do that through speaking to them using this voice.
To help further clarify, here are a few key features of a brand voice:
- It uses language that’s appropriate for your target market. It speaks in a way that the customer expects it to speak. A coffee shop’s voice should sound like a coffee shop.
- It conveys the organization’s values. Through the words and tone used, it explains the organization’s core values. Your audience members know that you’re on the same team, as these values should resonate with them.
- An organization’s voice is unique. It sets one apart from others in the market. When your audience members hear your voice, they know without a doubt that it’s you.
- An organization’s brand voice is consistent. It never strays from its consistent tone, language, and values. This creates trust in the minds of your audience. If a person encounters marketing materials from an organization that are “off” from their brand image, this can create a disconnect.
Businesses large and small, and in every field or industry, have to purposefully define and implement their own brand voice in order to successfully create an image in the mind of the customer. A strong, clear voice allows an organization to cut above all of the other noise, and also clearly explains to people what it is all about.
5 Mistakes You Could Be Making with Your Brand Voice
Your brand voice is the personality of your brand. Your customers need to see a consistent voice in all of your communications that speaks directly to them in order to successfully build a relationship with them. Here are five common mistakes you could be making with your brand voice.
- No Clear Message
Just like your personality in regular life, your brand voice needs to tell people who you are. It should deliver a message that conveys your organization’s core values. If you’re a company whose core values are innovation and bold risk-taking, your communications with your customers need to say that. If the main core value you want your audience to resonate with is security and reliability, this is what your tone and voice should say. Make sure you have a clear value to communicate.
- Assumptions not Observations
In order to define and craft language that speaks to your audience, you need to know your audience well. Too many organizations rely on their assumptions rather than on objective observational data. You may think you know your audience, but get out there and talk to them and gather their feedback so that you know for sure.
- Lack of Consistency
If your voice isn’t consistent, cracks begin to appear in your branding. People won’t see you with the feeling of trust you need them to have. Make sure that your voice is consistent everywhere you’re communicating with the public, whether it’s your website or a YouTube video.
- So What?
Even with good core values based on customer data and consistency, you still may suffer from lack of originality. What good is a well-crafted brand voice if you just sound like everybody else? You need to make your voice unique, just like the different aspects of your personality make it uniquely yours. This is how your brand stands out from the crowd.
- Too Rigid
Finally, your brand voice will crash and burn if you don’t pay attention to the changes in your market and update accordingly. It takes a great deal of work to define and implement a brand voice, but it also requires occasional review and, if necessary, changes. Maintain good two-way communication with your audience and watch your competitors and the market for changes. This is how you keep your voice relevant and your brand vital.
Deb Alcadinho is a brand strategist and small business advisor. She is the founder and CEO at Westshore Women’s Business Network. She has over 20 years experience in marketing, branding and sales, and has owned 7 businesses. She lives in Victoria BC Canada.