Listen to this:
There’s this thing called voice in marketing. It’s a weird term, like brand, and you’ll often see the two words combined, like in this blog’s title. We could invent half a dozen different definitions but, in practice, brand voice is how your company differs from others in the way it says something to an audience.
But, wait, were you really listening? 👂
Actually, no. You’re reading this text on a screen and, as you do, you probably also get a sense of who I am.
You’re reading in my voice. 👄
Unlike the voice you make with your throat, mouth and nose, this voice is a product of your mind. While we cannot attribute to it the usual physical qualities – pitch, volume, etc. – there are other psychological qualities that give a brand voice its peculiarities.
(Don’t you agree? I read blogs by other marketing agencies in Malta and they all sound very different to Systemato’s.)
Start with the syntax
The specifics of a brand voice do not come out of thin air. 💨
As most marketing content exists primarily in written form, or else is scripted to be used in audio and/or video formats, the brand voice is constructed from the way you put words together.
Sentence length, word order, the use of punctuation all play a part in defining how your brand voice is perceived. I’d venture to say that it’s difficult to artificially create a brand voice from first principles, but a firm grasp of language will help finetune existing copy and give consistency to future brand messaging.
Preach, sing or report
Even if we could easily break down brand voice into its elements (and I tried doing that in an earlier draft of this blog) the result won’t be useful for the 99.9% of people who want to use it better in their marketing.
A more pragmatic approach is to capture the essence of the major types of brand voices in a few descriptive keywords, which can be used to intuitively classify a text and guide the writing process too.
Anyone can read a sentence or two and figure out which label belongs to it. The keywords correspond to a formal-instructive, casual-entertaining, and neutral-factual voice respectively, while a mix of two types can create a hybrid voice.
Dos or don’ts
✔️ If you want to get your brand voice right:
- Find out what’s unique to your brand
- Identify how your brand communicates with customers
- Know whom you’re talking to
- Get everyone in the team on board
❌ But if that’s too much trouble:
- Copy your competitors
- Fake your voice
- Be afraid to get specific
- Just assume people know about the brand as much as you do
Why finding a brand voice matters
To recap: the brand voice is not just what your business says but how you say it. 🗣️
Finding your voice is important because it’s a way to know the people behind the brand; which sets you apart from your competition; which gets to build trust with the customer – finally!
But above all, make sure you’re original. Be aware that just like everything in life, your brand and your brand’s voice is not for everyone, so be true to the brand and don’t be afraid of niching down.
Does your company preach, sing or report its message? Does it have a consistent brand voice, or does it change depending on who’s typing at the time? If questions like these keep you up at night, it might be a good idea to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your sleep pattern will thank you later. 😴