How to develop your brand voice (and stick with it)
How to differentiate your brand voice from your competitors. Your content strategy will thank you.
Have you ever asked yourself: How is your content different to your competitors?
When we speak to our clients about the tone and voice of their brand, they have trouble formalising it. It’s often because they’ve never really thought about it or it was always there, yet they never verbalised it. Many will mention things like placing emphasis on customer service, going above and beyond, and always speaking authentically. Sounds vague, right? If all companies used those content goals to guide their content marketing strategy, they will never differentiate themselves in a meaningful way.
For brands who already have a well-defined voice, the answer comes more naturally. Marketers can sum up their unique brand voice with a few adjectives such as smart, conversational, friendly, with a touch of humour. At iFactory, our brand voice, in a nutshell, is helpful, educational, understanding, friendly yet professional. We always explain jargon and technical terms.
So how do you develop a strong tone of voice and maintain it through your communications?
Define what makes you you
Business mission statements are still as relevant as ever, but they are more commonly referred to as brand positioning statements. Writing one will help you define who you are. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Why is your business unique?
- What’s different about your products or services?
- What’s special about the way you do business?
- What is your company culture? Are you a suit-and-tie business or are you modern?
- How do you want to be regarded by both customers and your community? Do people rely on you for high-level insight on things like financial information or are you a go-to for no-nonsense advice?
Now take your mission statement and analyse your current brand situation. Does your online presence match your core business values? Do customer-employee interactions reflect those values? Are those interactions consistent? Can your customer base easily describe what your business stands for? And can your customers recognise your brand from your marketing materials?
Stand out from your competitors
How do your competitors communicate with their audience? Can you sum up their attitude, voice and tone in a matter of words? Will you copy their brand voice or will you set out to be different by developing your own distinguished voice?
It’s great to take inspiration from your competitors, but it’s not wise to copy their voice. If you cling to “industry voice standards”, you’re marketing material, products and services will sound like every one of your competitors.
Listen and take note from your audience
The beautiful thing about the internet and social media is that you have more opportunity to engage in a two-way conversation with your audience. Every time you upload a blog, post a status to Facebook and reply to a customer via chat messaging, you add to your brand voice and have a chance to understand what matters to them most. It also gives you the opportunity to fine-tune your brand voice for serious and minor situations.
Understand the channels where your brand voice matters the most
To make an impact on your audience, you need to know what communication channels are most important for your brand. Using your brand voice in the right channel at the right time can amplify your influence.
Make it easy for marketers and employees to breathe life into your voice
You know your voice. Now you need to show marketers and employees how to communicate and create content that reflects your brand. Developing a content style guide will create a process which will help new team members and act as a reference for all team members to follow.
Remember, nothing is ever set in stone
Much like the social conscious, brands are always changing and evolving. Always check in with your brand voice strategy to ensure it’s still hitting the mark.
Developing your brand voice is just the first step. If you need a creative team to help you develop a digital strategy, get in touch with iFactory today.