One of the common challenges startups go through is finding an organic voice, an authentic tone that is representative of the brand. As startups strive to navigate this, they question what persona to take on in front of their audience.
Discovering and building a brand voice is an interesting journey, and an important one too if a startup wants to communicate with their audience and at the same time have successful marketing campaigns and efforts. Finding a brand voice is part of branding. What many usually focus on is the packaging, the fonts, and the colors and often forget to work on the voice too. It helps tie up the whole image, contributing to a brand’s identity.
A startup can hire a company for website development or have an experienced group of talents, and still not prioritize their brand voice.
Again, it’s not an easy job that can be accomplished overnight. It’ll require some experimenting and creativity. But when executed right and with careful planning, you’ll eventually find the voice for your brand.
What is a Brand Voice?
Brand voice is basically how a brand “sounds” or how they communicate and reach their audience. Ideally, it’s unique, consistent, and distinct that the audience could unmistakably guess that the voice is associated with the brand. Other than the literal words, it helps convey the culture and personality of the brand, establishing it from the rest and positioning it to be a reliable source of information.
As you can see, there’s a lot of things that can ride on a string of words. The challenge here is to find that voice and being consistent with it.
Here are some tips that can help you find the voice of your brand:
1. Document and Keep Copies of Everything
In general, documenting is a good practice. Documentation is everything. Even the experimental phase. It’s not just for company records, it helps track the progress and makes it easier to root out inconsistencies worth letting go of.
Other note-worthy documentation would be tag lines, brand phrases, vocabulary and lingo used, values, and mission/vision. All of this hodgepodge will mesh into one distinct style fit or brand. After all, the brand voice should be reflective of these. But even after the brand voice has been defined, continue to document. This’ll help future employees and teammates align with it, especially when making marketing materials.
2. Integrate It With the Brand’s Personality
The flavor of every brand voice is its personality. The voice should be consistent with it so the image of the brand is conveyed well. Style choices and vocabulary should be reflective of it. Is it quirky, professional, or assertive? Whatever it is, it should blend naturally with the voice, making the brand image consistent and effective.
3. Align With the Company Culture
Every company has its own culture. If it’s a great one, it can even serve as a competitive advantage. Company culture is somewhat tied to its personality, but more centered on its values. Having a culture that reflects its values can reflect in many, especially the brand voice. Walking the talk is a great foundation not to just the brand identity, but brand voice too especially in its utility to marketing materials and effort. A clear picture of the culture is a good starting point for understanding and formulating the brand voice.
4. Listen to Your Audience
Study how your target market talks, or what vocabulary your audience uses and adapt. Adapt it to the brand voice, especially when the brand wants to be relatable and reliable to its consumers. Take note of the lingo and expression used, make a mind map from it even. It can also serve as an aid in developing the brand voice. This helps increase engagement at the same time, making the brand visible to potential customers.
5. Revisit and Review What’s Worked So Far
The key to becoming consistent with the brand voice is revisiting and reviewing past materials. As the brand evolves and grows into itself, review past content to see what’s working and what’s not. This helps whittle down the significant bits from all the white noise. While still in this process, have meetings with the marketing team regularly. Have everyone share their insights and observations, and modify, make guidelines, and freshen up the voice along the way.
Creating the brand voice is a journey, and will most likely continue to be as the company grows. That is why it’s important to be susceptible to feedback and remain flexible to changes. The world is a dynamic place, it’s important that a brand finds its distinct voice in a world that’s full of clamor.