Jun 30, 2022 — Markerly Editorial Team, 4 min read
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Does your brand rely on your logo for recognition? If you’re not careful, audiences can become confused when you run marketing campaigns without a recognizable brand voice. Think about recognizable brands like Nike or Disney. They all share one thing in common: a strong brand voice.
As companies develop, brand experiences tend to become disjointed. When you leverage social media influencers and freelancers, this problem can become even more apparent. Today, many consumers rely on these types of reliable public personalities to decide on their next purchase.
Whether it’s copy on your website or an Instagram post, your brand voice is what makes your brand recognizable, trustworthy, and respected in your industry. In this article, we’ll look at six simple steps to build your brand voice.
The first step in building your brand voice is to start by considering content that you’ve already made. When examining your content, it’s important to consider all types you have available. When gathering your content, don’t discriminate. Every piece of product, from your website copy to even business cards, should be included.
Today, many brands utilize automated text messaging reminders for information, scheduling, and surveys. These customized messages are another way to reflect your brand voice, so be sure to include them as well. The important component in this first step is that it’s crucial to include everything your organization produces. This is because everything is a reflection of your brand’s voice.
For example, LEGO, one of the world’s largest toy companies, utilizes LEGO mini figures as business cards. Consider how this clever advertising gimmick reflects the brand voice of LEGO. When analyzing your brand voice, even something like this should be included.
Once you’ve gathered everything together, start removing examples that aren’t unique to your brand. Look for qualities that are specific to your brand and that you want to embody.
Once you have the pieces of your brand together that you feel accurately reflect the direction you want your voice to take, place them together and gather your most important content creators and owners of the brand identity. Again, it’s important to include a wide variety of people in this process. Do you leverage online influencers? How about sales team members that use literature to find new clients? Whoever it is, bring these content creators together to discuss common themes across pieces of your brand identity.
As you work, think about how you would describe your brand’s personality to someone else. One useful exercise is to treat your brand like a person and then describe that person to someone else. The next step is to identify traits that are specific to your brand.
At this point, your key creators should come together and brainstorm about your brand. Continue identifying traits and build a list of them.
Once you’ve identified your traits, it’s time to dive deep. Describe your traits in detail. For example, you may work for an Internet security firm. Your team may describe one voice characteristic of your brand as “brave.” This could deeply be described as unstoppable, fearless, or trustworthy.
At this stage, it’s important to be open-minded. Ask your creators and leaders, “where do we want to take this brand?” It’s possible that your current collection of media demonstrating your brand voice isn’t where you want to be, and that’s okay. Nothing is set in stone, so consider missing pieces and find a way to incorporate them.
Towards the end of this stage, you should be feeling fairly confident about how the voice of your brand is shaping up and how your creators and influencers can use it in marketing.
The next stage is where you use your previous findings to create a model for your brand’s voice. A popular way to build a brand model is to utilize a brand voice chart. A brand model and voice chart are key for creating a reference tool that ensures all of your content uses the same voice.
In your voice chart, utilize three columns for every primary characteristic you identified. The columns should give a brief description and then be accompanied by some do’s and don’ts. If you find it necessary, you can expand this table as needed. Occasionally, some characteristics may require additional columns to better describe them. Let’s take a look at a sample chart for our Internet security firm:
|Brave||We’re willing to tackle any security issue, no matter the threat.||– Stand up for what’s right
– Advocate for your client
|– Turn away from problems
– Make an easy choice because it’s convenient
|Reliable||We’re available whenever you experience an issue.||– Acknowledge and respond to needs
– Provide 24/7 uptime
|– Make excuses
– Fail to perform duties
|Secure||We know how to protect valuable data, whether it’s personal, financial, or essential.||– Put protecting information first
– Actively seek to eliminate security flaws
|– Permit security gaps|
This stage is all about educating your staff about how to leverage your new-found brand voice. Meet with your team; this means anyone that creates content and communications. At this stage, walk them through your brand chart and your organization’s voice.
When meeting with your team, go through examples that have a strong voice. An effective exercise to make people engaged is to take old content and give it new life by having people work alone or in groups, to reimagine the content with your newly-defined voice. Once you’re done, provide your team with access to your brand model for easy reference.
These style guides will be crucial for your team and influencers to plan, execute, and reflect on marketing campaigns. Soon, you’ll start to see the powerful effects of these types of integrated brand voice efforts.
Finally, continue to improve your brand voice. As you revisit your voice, revise and reimagine it. This means coming up with new examples that describe your organization, and its role. Tracking your time to make revisions can be helpful too. It will help you target what areas need more work, thereby giving you a better idea of where your focus should be in the future.
The Japanese term kaizen was perfected by Toyota on their assembly lines. Kaizen is a useful business term for continuous improvement. Leverage kaizen-style thinking when it comes to your brand to engage in continuous improvement.
Continuous improvement means revisiting your voice again and again. Continue to meet with your team and explore what changes need to be made. Today, competitors frequently enter the market, or old ones may leave. Use these changes as an opportunity to revisit your brand’s voice.
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.
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Reading Time: 4 minutes