Your brand voice isn’t so much about what you say. It’s about how you say it.
Sometimes it’s more compelling to show rather than to tell. With that in mind, here are several examples of companies that use brand voice effectively to distinguish themselves in the marketplace:
Skittles uses a playful brand voice in its approach. Comparing your food item to an infectious disease might not sound like a good idea, but its Skittles Pox commercials turned that unlikely scenario into a positive.
That same tone is consistent with its online and print content marketing. A playful and unique tone permeates all of the company’s content.
Old Spice also uses comedy – and sometimes just plain weirdness – to set itself apart from its competitors. Somehow, they made deodorant interesting and memorable across all platforms with this unique brand voice.
Dove weaves a message of hope and encouragement throughout its brand voice. Its persona emphasizes responsibility and body image awareness. Its tone is soothing and inspirational.
Apple’s brand voice focuses on simple and clean design. The company’s brand voice is direct and to-the-point…and also hip. Look at how the new iPad Air and iPad Mini are being described by Apple. In less than 10 words, they perfectly describe the reason to buy the new products versus previous versions.
Walmart trades on its everyday-low-price brand. Although its brand has evolved from “Everyday Low Price” to “Always Low Prices” to its current “Save Money. Live Better,” its brand voice has stayed consistent.
Nike uses its brand voice to inspire people. It’s iconic “Just Do It” tagline is part of everything they do and every content marketing message they send. They are a cheerleader for people trying to achieve. It’s become so connected with the company that they don’t even have to use their own name in their marketing messages.
Finding Your Brand Voice
So how do you find your brand voice? You cannot copy someone else and hope to be successful. You need to be authentic and it needs to reflect your brand values.
Here are the 6 steps to create and implement your brand voice.
1. Create A Customer Profile
In order to create a brand voice that resonates with your customers, you need to have a strong understanding of exactly who they are and what they like.
These buyer personas are generalized representations of your ideal customers. It helps to craft content and messaging by being able to talk directly to them. The best messaging reaches people emotionally and shows that we understand their needs.
- Hold old are they?
- Do they have kids?
- What issues do they care about?
- What other products do they buy?
- What are their life goals and aspirations?
- What makes them happy/sad/mad?
A good place to start is talking to your best customers.
2. Decide Who You Want To Be
Your brand voice needs to speak to your ideal customers, but it also needs to reflect who you are.
- Is your company focused on making the world a better place?
- Are you solving problems?
- Are you the low-cost leader?
- Do you provide a niche product or service?
These are just a few of the questions you will want to ask. A good place to start is talking to your own employees and asking them to describe what’s unique about your business.
This isn’t something you can force. It is important that you are true to yourself and live the brand. If potential customers even get a whiff that you’re not being genuine, they will lose trust.
3. Turn These Qualities Into A Personality
The next step is to translate these qualities into your brand’s personality. If your brand was a person, think about how they would talk and the way they would interact with potential customers.
- How would you speak to a potential customer?
- What tone would you use?
- What words and phrases would you use (or avoid)?
One marketing business suggests describing your brand voice in three words. Is your brand fun? Is it creative? Is it reliable? Is it reasonably priced? Once you’ve identified the three words, add descriptive language to each one.
4. Examine Your Competitors
Before finalizing your brand voice, you will want to take a look at the brand voice that your competitors are using as well. You may find an opportunity to position yourself differently.
If they’ve been in business for 100 years, you may be able to use a brand voice that is youthful and fresh to position them as stodgy. If they are the newcomers and you’re the one that’s been around for a long time, you may be able to position yourself as reliable and dependable.
5. Create A Brand Voice & Tone Guide
One of the keys to making a brand voice work for you is consistency across messages. Everything should relate back to the brand and use the brand voice. You need to create a set of standards and guidelines for how you want to communicate, what messaging should sound like, and how you would like to communicate your value to potential customers.
Make a brand voice chart by taking your three words and transforming each into a sentence or two about what you stand for and how you want to be perceived. Then list the things you must do to meet these brand expectations and the things you should avoid doing that would counter them.
6. Regularly Review For Consistency
You can’t be irreverent one day and serious the next and expect your brand voice to resonate. In order to be effective, you need to be consistent in tone and voice whenever you deliver your marketing content message.
When you have your brand voice dialed in, you want people to be able to identify your company, service, or product without seeing your name.
Creating Your Brand Voice
You may find that you don’t already have the three words to describe your brand. Your customers or your team may not know what the attributes that make your company stand out. That is OK. Creating your brand voice will take time. The more customers and stakeholders you talk to, the clearer it will get.
As the folks at Nike would say, “Just Do It!”