Everybody has one. And every brand has one, too. While not necessary that it always be auditory, this voice may still be described as smoky and gravelly, or loud and proud. Even shrill (if that’s what you’re going for). Your brand’s voice should feel and sound natural. Never forced. The most important thing about a brand’s voice, is making the effort to find it—and stick to it—across all of your copywriting and message planning efforts.
So, What Is a Brand’s Voice?
This is not a strictly developed, one-hundred-fifty-word vocabulary that you and all your employees rotate through exclusively. What this is, is an ongoing conversation with all of your teams about what it means to be a part of [your brand].
In fact, an overly scripted set of standardized responses can feel quite forced, and may actually work to distance your consumer. This type of cold interaction is not what we should be aiming for in 2020. This practice stems from the early days of capitalism, which were all about mass production, standardization, and control.
And, it generally creates a really cheap brand. Of course, you will have sets of keywords for SEO efforts and ones that you prefer to work with in promotional materials. This is fine, as a more blatant consistency is key in those scenarios.
Situational coaching on phrases and keywords to avoid, would be a much more effective way to get your people thinking about how to embody the brand’s voice—in their own way. This works to actively inspire passionate, creative exchanges; rather than monotonous, limited ones.
This voice will be consistent between customer-employee interactions, advertisements, PR efforts, and every other aspect of your brand. Packaging, confirmation emails, and invoices. Your brand’s voice is a constant, it’s really what holds the whole thing together.
A brand’s voice is what creates relationships with its consumers. And while important to stick to, this doesn’t mean it will never change. This voice will evolve, but should do so (drumroll, please) naturally. Once established—make slow, small, intentional changes that move in a well-thought-out direction.
How Do I Use My Brand’s Voice?
For good, not for evil.
No, seriously. Brand’s hold a lot of power. And, while the majority of it does depend on how much we, as consumers, give them—they sometimes still find it in their big ‘hearts’ to betray us.
A brand’s voice should be, first and foremost, honest. Just because you may have made this voice up, doesn’t mean you get to keep making things up with it. Once established, it should speak only truths.
It should be natural. Don’t give yourself migraines when trying to write or speak on behalf of your brand. Let it flow with a conversational cadence. Remember, the people you’re trying to attract are human; address them as such.
Of course, if your brand is best represented in another way, make that decision. There can be some really high-level executions here that completely ignore this advice.
For example: a tech brand, with a far from human background, might actually go to great lengths to sound far from human. Likely, this voice would still not be cold or harsh, but a markedly inhuman voice (and message) could be particularly effective here. Just be careful not to get too cheesy.
Does My Brand Need a Voice?
Like people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and women: brand’s need a voice.
In this case, it might not be inalienable. But in its own right, a brand’s voice is important to protect. The responsibility here however, belongs to you. Not lawmakers.
If your brand doesn’t have a voice, how do you expect to get things done? Who is going to take you seriously? A brand’s voice is used, partially, to establish its validity. It promotes and defends your purpose on the market, asserts your expertise, and gives people a reason to believe in you and your mission.
Yes. A hundred times, yes! Of course your brand needs a voice. If you have a brand, and are asking this question: you’ve likely already given yours one. And it is probably not very eloquent, if this is the first time you’re thinking about it. You’ve got some work to do.
What brands do you believe have a really well established voice? Any that you care to share who fall short here? Let’s talk about it in the comment section!