Your brand’s personality is a combination of visual and verbal communication that helps identify it as a distinct persona. Visuals typically include things like brand logos, while verbal communication, or your brand voice, is a bit more complicated. A brand has a distinct voice that makes it immediately identifiable. This voice is affected by things like the length of your words, the type of words you choose, and the type of jargon you incorporate.
Let’s visualize this example.
You have a brand that sells clothing for young teenagers. What is the best way to tailor your brand voice towards your target market? You probably don’t want to use language that’s too academic or jargon that will go right over their heads. Furthermore, you likely don’t want to sound too stuffy or stiff either.
You can see how things can get really tricky. While you may have the content ideas in mind, but how do you deliver great content while keeping your brand voice consistent?
To make your brand sound more relatable, identifiable, and an authoritative figure in your industry, you need to develop a brand voice that utilizes the right vocabulary and tone.
Here are 5 tips to help you find your brand voice.
1. Your Content Must Represent the Heart of Your Brand
The heart of any brand consists of:
A brand voice is the personification of these four combined. Having these four elements laid out clearly is the first step in finding your brand voice. Start by going over all the previous content you have generated, ranging from social media posts, to videos, and even podcasts! Critically analyze these against your core beliefs. The goal is to be able to identify a subset of your existing content that adequately embodies the core beliefs of your brand. In other words, audit your existing content.
2. Find Three Words To Describe Your Brand
Before proceeding, have anyone and everyone working on content for the brand take the short brand voice questionnaire. Your sample audience can range from PR personnel to customer services to even the brand’s owners. The questionnaire is designed to critically evaluate what people think your brand is trying to personify. Additionally, it will also help inspire discussion points for later.
Next, gather your team of content creators and anyone directly involved in the process. Together, thoroughly go through your content and identify three words that adequately describe it. Do these words match the ones previously picked out in the questionnaire when describing the whole brand?
For example, if the people filling out the questionnaire identify the brand as “trendy,” “fun,” and “outgoing,” but the team discovers that the actual content feels more “old-fashioned” and “professional,” you know that something has gone wrong.
After identifying the disconnect, you’ll have an idea of how to move forward. Do you want to tweak your content in order to align it with what you thought your brand voice was? Or is this a sign that you should embrace the voice that’s emerging from your content?
For an unbiased opinion, or simply just to check if you are on the same page, you can also use Portent’s brand voice generator. By simply answering a few questions, the tool is able to whip up some content and matching examples.
Next, group up these descriptions into themes, and assign them working definitions. These working definitions will ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding what these themes mean exactly.
For example, say you all agree that “upbeat” is a theme that is consistent with your brand voice. You want to dig deeper into that term and draw out what everyone on the team thinks “upbeat” really means. Not only can this help you glean valuable insights, but it will make sure everyone agrees on a consistent definition for the word “upbeat.”
3. Chart It Up!
The best way to reap the benefits of your efforts is to chart out what you have learned so far. Follow these guidelines to help you hone in your learning and identify the perfect way forward:
- Along with the theme and a working definition, add two more columns with the “Dos and Don’ts” of developing content for your brand voice.
- If there are some secondary characteristics that might impact your content, make sure to add them to this chart as well.
- Make sure all your characteristics have a thoroughly vetted working definition, with more focus on the secondary characteristics.
- Share it with the team.
By creating a visual representation of your findings, you are paving the way forward to creating a consistent brand voice.
4. Pull in the Team
It’s time to team up and share the chart with your content makers! As a reference tool, the chart will help content makers ensure consistency in the brand voice. Go through the chart together so any discrepancies can be addressed. Additionally, it is a good idea to use examples from your existing content (remember the ones we audited in step 1?).
Moreover, you can also work with the team to revise material from your brand’s existing content and identify possible ways to align it with your brand voice. This way, your team can solidify their knowledge, and they’ll have a template they can reference in the future. For instance, look at the last twenty or so tweets made by your marketing team regarding the brand. Revise each of these with the chart in clear view.
Finally, make sure everyone has a hard and soft copy of the chart to refer to in the future.
5. Revise Your Brand Voice Over Time
With the market evolving drastically, never assume that your brand voice chart will be your one-stop solution for now until the end of time. As your brand grows and the competitive landscape evolves, so should your brand voice. It’s important to have a fresh perspective that matches the demands of your brand’s consumers. Here are some reasons why you should have quarterly revisions:
- The previously identified themes may not be applicable to your brand now.
- The content created with the previously identified themes does not adequately personify your brand’s values anymore.
- New competitors have been identified while doing a competitive analysis.
- Your brand has evolved and needs to cater to a new audience or niche.
Never Stop Evolving Your Brand Voice!
Developing your brand voice will make you immediately identifiable and memorable to your consumers. In order to develop a consistent brand voice, your content needs to match your voice. Be sure that how you want your brand to be seen matches with how your brand is actually represented. Create and share a brand voice chart in order to keep everyone on your team on the same page; developing a brand voice is a group effort, after all!
Let us know about the trials and tribulations you’ve faced on your journey to finding your brand voice! We’re all about stories, so comment below! If you need help creating a brand voice that will make you stand out from the crowd, contact us at Buzzmasters. We have the knowledge to keep your brand relevant, even as the times change.