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Developing a Brand Voice: What Does Your Brand Sound Like?


Do you ever come across a piece of communication from a business that just doesn’t ‘sound’ like them?


I’ve followed Waitrose on social media for years but, when I saw their Valentine’s day post this year, they suddenly felt unfamiliar. Gone was the usual rich vocabulary and sophisticated tone and instead they’d opted for a raunchy play on words about ‘doing it on the table’!


There’s nothing wrong with taking this approach – it certainly got engagement – but a lot of the talk was around their obvious change in voice.


When we feel a connection with a brand – whether it's their ethics, the quality of their products or services, the benefits we’ve experienced from using them, or just the way they make us feel, it’s a risky move to do an ‘about turn’ on your voice as you risk confusing or alienating your loyal crowd.


That’s not to say you can’t develop your voice over time, but the key point is your brand voice should be part of a larger brand strategy that is aligned across all your communication channels and will speak to your ideal customer.


If your company has a whole marketing team and perhaps marketing agencies all working on different areas of communication, it’s easy for your brand voice to feel fragmented and sound like it has literally been written by different people. The goal is that every customer touchpoint feels and sounds like the brand they have formed a relationship with.


It can be really helpful to clearly set out your brand’s character and share this with everyone in the company that has responsibility for communicating with customers – it should guide everything from the way the phone is answered and how emails are signed-off to the tone of voice on social media and the words that are used on your website.


If you’ve never carried out this exercise before, the best place to start is to think of your brand as a person – how would you describe him/her in human terms? What’s their personality like? What’s their style of speaking and the energy of their voice?


Write down some words that describe your brand’s personality and tone. Then, for even more clarity, against each word give an example of some similar words that are either not strong enough or that go too far.


For example, if you identify your brand’s tone as being friendly, it’s helpful to share with the rest of the team that this should not be mistaken for being ‘chummy’ (too far) or for being ‘approachable’ (not strong enough).


This level of detail empowers your team to write and talk about your brand accurately and consistently.


Once you’ve carved out your brand’s voice, you should review all your customer touchpoints and check the content matches your specific tone and personality.


If you don’t like the sound of this exercise (I can never resist a pun!), get in touch with me to discuss how I can help you define your brand character and implement it across your marketing.

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