Finding Your Voice: How to Develop a Strong and Distinct Brand Voice
It's never been more important for small businesses to develop their own compelling and unique brand voice.
Why? Take a look at these statistics:
- 20% of startups close within one year, and 50% close within five years.
- It takes 2-3 years for the average startup to make a meaningful profit.
- 43% of entrepreneurs in the US are worried about their startup failing.
In today's crowded, ultra-competitive market, only brands with a distinct personality, consistent voice, and clear brand identity stand the chance of catching their potential customers' attention—and thriving for years to come.
In this article, we'll explore the importance of creating a strong brand voice, what impacts the tone of your brand voice, and how you can leverage a new brand voice to reach your intended audience.
If you ever feel like you're marketing to an empty room, read on! A few small tweaks to your current voice may be all you need to unlock your next level of business growth.
Brand voice refers to the tonal expression of your brand personality. It's how you communicate your company's mission statement, how you express your brand values, and the way you leave a lasting impression on your target audience.
In short, your voice is the humanlike personality your brand takes on through every social media, website page, email, and marketing communication.
That's why your brand's voice is one of the most essential elements of your brand identity.
Here are a few brand voice examples from companies with a unique personality and compelling brand voice:
When it comes to brand voice examples to follow, no brand does offbeat humor quite like Old Spice.
The specific tone of this brand speaks directly to the younger buyer personas the company targets, and the unique voice makes Old Spice as memorable as it is relatable!
We love the conversational voice and consistent tone Bark Box offers throughout their marketing efforts.
From their down-to-earth brand voice and friendly word choice, to their punny social media posts, Bark Box is another powerful brand voice worth studying.
Harley-Davidson's aggressive brand voice and rugged visual identity make this brand an instant standout—and one of our favorite brand voice examples.
The overall tone of Harley-Davidson's unmistakable brand speaks directly to their target audience—far from a dinner party crowd of posh people! This tone of voice works because it's instantly relatable and distinct from the competition.
Building a brand isn't a one-time process because a brand isn't one single entity.
Your one brand voice consists of several key elements that work together to create a single consistent brand personality. As you're developing your own brand voice, it's important to consider how each of the elements will change how your company is perceived.
The first element to consider is your brand's overall tone.
Brand voice is about more than the words you use. It's about how those words are meant to make your target audience feel. You can use an expressive tone, an informal tone, a humorous tone, or any tone in between. Just be sure you use the same tone across all your marketing materials.
The second element that impacts how your brand's voice is perceived is the language you use.
When thinking about your language, consider your brand's personality. Are you compassionate and thoughtful, or a bold visionary? Is your brand brave or polished, loud or professional?
Your brand's language should be based on the personality traits that make you unique. And like your tone, your language should be consistent everywhere you showcase your brand—online, in print, in person, and everywhere in between!
Brand messaging refers to the overall theme and purpose of what you communicate using your brand's voice.
Through your on-brand social media posts, content marketing, and your company's communications internally, your message paints a picture of who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Even if you only have a few sentences or a brief description to work with, your message comes through in everything you say.
At first glance, it may seem like your brand's voice is based solely on the words you use. But in reality, brand voices are also influenced by the visual details that accompany your message!
Your visual identity tells a story as clear and compelling as your brand voice. That's why it's crucial to have a style guide in place to help ensure your voice remains consistent across every aspect of your marketing strategy.
You may wonder why your brand voice matters, if you already have both a brand and visual identity in place.
When leveraged as an intentional part of your marketing strategy, a distinct brand voice helps your company build greater customer loyalty, differentiate itself from your competitors, and remain consistent across all your marketing channels.
Whether in a TV ad, mailer, or across your social media platforms, you have only eight seconds to capture your customers' attention. And a unique brand voice is the key to doing so. That's because customers who resonate with your brand voice are more likely to remain loyal over time and recognize your brand when compared to your competitors.
Your brand's tone is more than a style choice. It's the best way to give your customers a solid understanding of your company's mission, value, and offerings in just a few words—and ensure that message sticks!
This is why a mission statement really matters for your small business!
So you understand why your own brand's voice is one of the most valuable tools your company has, how you can create your own brand voice using tone, language, messaging, and visuals, and the impact the right voice can have on your bottom line.
Now let's look at four ways you can implement a strong business strategy and maintain a memorable brand voice.
Developing brand guidelines ensures that everyone involved in creating social media and marketing content for your brand understands your brand voice, tone, language, and messaging.
These guidelines can include information on how to write copy, design visuals, and use social media to communicate with customers.
At ZeBrand, our Brand Guideline Builder is a simple guided tool that makes building your own brand streamlined and simple. If you don't know where to start, give our visual identity, messaging, and brand voice template tool a try!
You could have the best brand voice in your industry, but if you're not using it consistently across all social media, print, and marketing channels, you may struggle to build valuable brand recognition.
If you're new to developing your brand voice, take a look at your current best performing content. What kind of brand voice do you use more often? Does it seem to resonate with your ideal buyer persona?
Reviewing your recent blog posts and existing content is a great way to ensure you're staying consistent to your brand voice and that the brand voice you chose actually works!
Brand voices are meant to develop over time, and as long as you remain true to your style guide, there's no reason you can't adapt your voice to your evolving buyer persona.
While your brand voice should be all your own, there's no reason you can't take cues from the most successful brand voices in your industry.
Companies like Coca-Cola, Nike, Target, and Skittles are great examples of brand voices that have stood the test of time. These brands have adapted to changing markets, and changed with their customers, but still earn strong brand recognition year after year.
Remember, a great brand voice is about more than the words you use and the visuals in your style guide. It's about the message you communicate, the emotions you evoke in your audience, and the vision you share with the world.
By following the tips above, your company can identify and develop its brand voice, and stay true to that voice for years to come. Because with an unmistakable brand voice in place, you can build a powerful brand presence that cuts through the noise and captures your customers' attention.