Creative director at digital marketing Glass Digital Jonathan Birch explains how small, independent businesses can resonate with their customers through what they say and how they say it
You’ve no doubt heard about the importance of creating a strong brand voice. But what does that actually mean and how do you go about finding yours?
Branding is much more than a catchy name and stylish logo. It’s about telling a story that creates a series of emotions, ideas, and assumptions in the mind of your customer that represents your company’s beliefs, goals, and vision.
Having complete control over how your brand is perceived is impossible, but creating a strong brand voice that encompasses your favoured attributes is the best way to influence your customers’ perceptions of your brand.
Define your brand
Before you can create a brand voice that cuts through the noise and resonates directly with your customers, you need to understand what your business is about.
You will intuitively know most of this stuff, but it’s worth taking the time with colleagues to get it down on paper.
Why does your business exist? What is its purpose? What is its mission statement?
Your brand voice must understand and reflect these key questions.
You’ve likely already thought about these questions to some extent, and chances are they will be reflected in your visual branding in one way or another.
The font and colours you use should reflect the kinds of interiors your company focuses on, but your brand voice needs to consider your target audience.
Do you want to be fun or serious, bold or understated, professional or down to earth? Define your brand first, and the voice will follow.
Assess brand voice
Whether you have thought about it or not, your brand will have a voice in the mind of your customers.
Whether that voice is consistent or reflects your core values is another matter. But the chances are that you’ll already be somewhere on the right path, especially if the business is your brainchild.
When 64% of consumers say shared values help them create a trusted relationship with a brand (Forbes), you can see why building and maintaining a trusted voice is so important.
To do this, audit all the content you have created so far, whether it is blog articles, marketing materials, or social media posts, and see if you can find a common theme.
Pay particular attention to content that has done well as this can provide an insight into the values your customers want and expect.
List the common threads across all your content and then decide which ones you want to focus on, and which ones don’t quite reflect you and your brand.
Consistency is key
Now that you have an idea of what you want your brand voice to be, you’ll want to come up with some guidelines to apply them consistently.
Everyone who is writing for your business needs to know your brand voice inside and out.
Even if you do all the writing yourself, putting together some guidelines can help you stay on the right track.
Of course, consistency doesn’t mean your brand voice can never change and evolve. In fact – it almost definitely should!
The proof is in the pudding, and if something doesn’t seem to be working, don’t be afraid to reassess your voice and make changes to your guidelines, accordingly.
This isn’t something that should be done willy-nilly, but small tweaks here and there will ensure you are always communicating with your customers in the right way.
While visual branding is key for making a great first impression, your brand voice is how people directly interact with your business.
Every brand can benefit from quality content, so get it right and you’ll reap the benefits in the long run.
See also how to engage with consumers online.