In today's communication reality, we experience an overproduction of content. Millions of posts and articles are written and published every day. In just one minute, users post almost half a million tweets on Twitter and millions of pictures on Instagram.
It's not easy to get users, readers and followers interested in your content and, above all, to keep them interested, stand out from the multitude of content and to be remembered.
Brand development often focuses on the visual elements of a brand, but you can achieve even more with a distinctive brand voice. A brand voice is the personality that a brand takes on in its textual communication. The brand voice describes the communication style of your brand. Imagine your brand as a person, what personality traits would that person adopt and what traits would that person avoid? What formulations and stylistic devices define your brand personality? The answers to these questions create a brand voice. This voice is used in all means in which the brand speaks to an audience - newsletters, social media posts, articles (blog) or even presentations. The brand voice should match the brand value - whether it is defined as playful, authoritative, academic or serious. Lack of context, lack of emotion, no clear feeling or line are often the symptoms of a missing Brand Voice.
Simply to stand out from the crowd: Stories and relevant content are more important than ever to be remembered. A brand's visual elements are only part of its public brand personality. Its textual content needs the same attention and consistency for a comprehensive, effective brand presence. This is especially important if you want to take content and social media marketing seriously.
In a study by social media management platform SproutSocial, 40% of respondents said they follow a brand because it offers memorable content, has a distinct personality and tells compelling stories. Without a recognisable brand voice, you can't have a recognisable personality.
First, you should analyse who are relevant people and stakeholders that will help or influence the development of the Brand Voice. Whether you want to do it internally or with the help of agencies, copywriters or content strategists, everyone should have strong analytical skills, copywriting skills and a willingness to change and do something new. In addition, they should have a deep understanding of the brand, its mission and values. If no content definitions of your brand exist yet, now is the time to define them.
Look at your current communication: Do not evaluate individual measures, but analyse social media posts, newsletters, website articles and presentations. Pay attention to how your target groups speak to you. What are the voice characteristics of your best-performing communication tools (posts, newsletters, etc.)? Does the style of the communication match your values, is the architecture of the content consistent or do the content mission statements really reflect your brand well?
Get to know your target groups even better. If you have already defined persona models, match the assumptions here with as much data as possible. If the target group is younger, for example Millennials, try to convey information and messages as easily as possible, for example with playful Memes. If you rather define the baby boomer generation as your target group, dialogue formats are often effective. If you want to narrow down regionally, you should pay attention to regional characteristics. At the same time, a comparison with your own ideas and, of course, with the previously established core values of your brand should take place. Direct questions to existing customers, such as what excites them most about your brand, can help here. Find out where and what else your target groups read. It is important to avoid taking more than just inspiration from competitors - no competitor copying, your own voice is needed here.
Once you have audited your existing communication, got to know your target group and defined relevant channels, you are well prepared to go into an effective brainstorming session. You can use different formats for this: for example, a simple mind map in which characteristics that the brand should carry to the outside are collected. This quickly yields internal core values that should be reflected in the type of language used.
Do's and Dont's lists help with an initial classification of which voice you would like to be heard with and, above all, which voice you would not like to be heard with. In combination with the vision and the core values of the company, an initial direction can be developed from this and enables further detailing.
Tonality is the way something is said and can change depending on the situation. The brand voice, on the other hand, defines what is said and conveys the personality and positioning of a brand. It is therefore the core of a brand. For example, the tone at a product launch will be different from the tone when responding to a customer complaint. Identify the important scenarios here and try to categorise them.
Once you have found your voice and defined and documented the important parameters, scenarios and the tone of voice, you can review them. Test or interview your clients about your initial content and check the impact and recognition of a consistently used voice and tone of voice. If you do not achieve the desired effect, feel free to adapt and refine your brand voice guidelines.
Either way, language and communication behavior continues to evolve. Developing a brand voice is not a one-off challenge and is part of ongoing brand management. Aspects should be reviewed and developed at set intervals, otherwise you risk becoming outdated and no longer in the current relevant set of your target groups.
In order to support your partners and employees in the implementation of your communication work and, above all, to enforce a consistent brand image, meaningful, comprehensible documentation is crucial for the implementation of your brand voice. This documentation or guidelines can be prepared as a clear one-pager or as interactive online documentation.
Your brand voice not only helps you make your brand more distinctive and identifiable, but it helps you to speak more directly and effectively to your customers and build a community. Consistency and flexibility are important to work in different communication scenarios. In a complex communication world, a brand voice is certainly an indispensable component of a strong brand.
What experience do you have with this topic? Uhura has developed brand concepts and brand voices at different levels of production for large companies and start-ups. Contact us if you need help!