What is a brand voice and once you have a brand voice, how do you define it and maintain it?
According to Larsen, a Minneapolis-based branding and communication company, “By brand voice, we don’t mean sound effects, jingles, theme songs, sound branding, audio logos, or other sonic aspects of a brand. We mean the tone of your communications and the style of your writing.”
“Brand voice is the purposeful, consistent expression of a brand through words and prose styles that engage and motivate. It’s true: The personality of your brand is determined, in large measure, by the words you use and the sentences you write.”
Writer Alex York of sproutsocial.com writes that you showcase your brand voice “every time your business launches an advertisement, updates website copy, speaks at a conference or posts on social media.”
York says that it’s smart to define and strategize your voice. In a perfect world, everyone would recognize your logo without any content, but we obviously don’t live in a perfect world and that’s not the case for most brands, he says.
“This means companies have to rely on building a brand voice on platforms like social media to help distinguish themselves from every other brand. So how do you achieve this without scraping all your ads and copy?” he asks. “Get everyone on the same page.”
In the sproutsocial.com article “5 Simple Ways to Define & Maintain Your Brand Voice,” York outlines simple ways for your business to define and maintain your brand voice.
Here’s an edited version of York’s article. For the full article, go to https://sproutsocial.com/insights/brand-voice/
- Reinforce Your Brand’s Beliefs
“You should — more importantly need to — have a good idea. If not, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and get clear answers from your leaders. For the rest of us, the first step toward defining your brand voice is to reinforce your beliefs,” says York.
Sprout Social’s Q2 2017 Index discovered consumer’s most sought-after behavior from brands is honesty. And probably to very little surprise, consumers least favorite behavior is a snarky attitude.
“Start by reinforcing your core values so you know your brand voice promotes the same message and continuity across all channels.”
- Thoroughly Outline Your Ideal Brand Voice
“If you’re still fully deciphering your brand voice, it’s smart to dissect and outline all your variables,” says York. “When everyone knows exactly how your brand communicates, tweets and Instagram posts suddenly become easier to develop.”
“Keeping customers happy while informed is a tricky balancing act for brands. This means you need to maintain a clear voice right from beginning. Otherwise, you’re going to annoy, confuse or upset your audience and drive away customers.”
- Avoid Bait & Switch Communication
“This tactic might seem obvious, but it’s actually very easy to speak to your customers one way, but send them down your funnel with different language,” says Fox. He cites a report from Contently that found more than 66% of people have felt tricked by a brand for a sponsored article, video or other paid content.
“It’s far too easy to deceive your customers with paid content, which means you should avoid any bait-and-switch methods,” says Fox. “Reinforce your brand’s beliefs with social media content that is relatable, reliable and easy to digest for whichever social media channel you choose.”
- Monitor Your Audience Engagement
Each time you reply to a message, post a status update or upload a video, you’re pushing your brand voice. And on social media, users come to you with questions and concerns. That means you have to maintain your brand voice when responding.
According to an Oracle report, 43% of social media users only interact with brands to get a direct response to a question or issue.
“This makes total sense. People want their concerns prioritized and nobody wants to wait on the phone to speak to a representative,” says Fox. “Listening and monitoring your messages gives you the chance to make a real impression on a customer. While response rates change per industry, increasing actions and availability can have serious payoffs.”
- Learn Where Your Brand Voice is Highlighted the Most
“Not only is it smart to know your brand’s tone, but also recognize where it is highlighted the most in your company,” says Fox. “When your brand voice is used through the right channel, you increase your influence.”
According to Fox, some of the most popular places where your brand voice is highlighted on social media include replies, calls to action (CTA), Instagram captions, direct messages, social media bios, and visuals.
If Fox has one last piece of advice, it’s this: be proud of your brand.
“With so much commotion on social media, it’s hard to stand out. But it’s a lot easier to create a bad or forgettable experience that will leave your customers flocking for the unfollow button,” he says. “However, when businesses develop and stick to a brand voice, social media interactions suddenly get easier. Make sure you work to promote your brand voice and have a clear vision of how everyone sees your brand.”