Branding Basics: Finding Your Unique ‘Brand Voice'.

  • By Andy Fox

Here’s a situation, let's say  you happened to give in to your friend’s repeated pleas to accompany her to a networking dinner. An event comprised of people from all walks of life, but you hardly know anyone…

Now, do you plan or premeditate on how you intend to interact with the guests at the dinner? Any particular topic or conversation that you'd like to choose over others? Maybe you want to convey you’re more approachable, smart, or funny? Or will you stick to being an ‘intellectually stimulating’ and a highly professional personality?

Like many of us, you may not admit to ‘premeditate’ or ‘act or present yourself in a certain way’ at the event.

Maybe not consciously, but one thing is pretty much a given, which is at the end of the networking dinner, you would most definitely like the people you met, to leave with a certain feeling about ‘you’,  a certain demeanour, a certain presence, typical behavioural traits that evokes a unique identity, a personality type that you’d like to express and ‘impress’ upon.

In a similar fashion, a company or a brand also needs to exude a ‘personality’ or a ‘voice’ of its own to conform to  a certain ‘image’ or identity, which if created successfully will stand out from others and resonate in the hearts and minds of the consumers for generations.

A definition from Larsen.com says: "Brand voice is the purposeful, consistent expression of a brand through words and prose styles that engage and motivate." 

A ‘brand voice’ is essentially a brand’s or a company’s personality shown through words, images and other content formats. It's the language you use when you engage with your audience or User Personas. It's not just the vocabulary that shapes ‘what’ you say, but also the style and tone of ‘how’ you say it.

The following are a few key pointers, which may assist you find the ‘brand voice’ for your business and build a unique brand ‘personality’ which stands apart from your competitors:


The Core Values Your Brand Upholds

It starts with the basics, i.e. what are you trying to accomplish? Or what are the core values and mission your brand strives to uphold?

Are you the online shoe retailer like Zappos, who takes pride in giving the ‘ultimate customer service’? Or ore you the sports giant Nike, which is synonymous with their famous tag line, “Just Do It", has a core mission and ‘voice’ that inspires people both on and off the field.

What's your business mission, or what are the principles that guide your company and your team? When looking at values, it helps if you make a list of everything you want your brand to represent, then narrow it down to the three most important ones.

You can define your ‘voice’ by imagining these values to be associated to an individual ,as in, what words does someone embodying these values speak like? How do they look, dress, what colour? How can these conversations best take place in various formats and communication channels?

Take LinkedIn for instance, its core value is to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”. 


Character/Persona and Style

This basically refers to ‘what’ does your brand sound like? For instance, if LinkedIn was to be given the personality of a human, it could resemble a ‘friendly entrepreneur’, who seems professional, straightforward and serious, yet welcoming with a friendly smile (probably wears a cool blue suit, and maybe throw in a pair of glasses too).

It also helps by imagining what celebrity or public figure your brand actually emulates? Does it represent the authoritative, powerful yet honest and dependable Morgan Freeman, or is it the younger, rich, beautiful, socialite, fashionable, ‘appealing to millennials’, Kylie Jenner?

What's the ‘style’ your brand embodies? Is it professional, casual, sophisticated or carefree? Or would you prefer to be represented as professional, yet humorous and trendy?

Much of your brand style can be reflected in the ‘words’ of your brand statement. Here’s an example of a formal one; “our company aims to provide the best in consumer technology”. Or take a much more casual style; “We’re here to make sure you make the most out of our products”.

Or take this carefree, humorous approach from Diggs: “We’re a small but growing company of normal-ish people who just like building good stuff. Feel free to reach out to any and all of us — we’re generally pretty friendly. Except Joe.”


Visual Representation

The image/s you associate with your brand are extremely important in conveying your ‘voice’ to the world.

Whether it's logos, illustrations, videos, colours, brand icons, it all speaks to your audience, and thus needs to be in harmony with your values and overall personality.

Take the images Apple uses on its website (as shown below). It uses  more formal, elegant and professional photographs, and delivers their ‘voice’ as being technologically superior, providing the most practical of products, made with ‘people’ in mind.

Colours selected for your logos or within the websites and other social media channels will evoke certain emotions. For instance, blue represents calm and easy on the eye, whereas red gives off a vibrant and ‘powerful’ connotation. If your voice is more to do with ‘warmth’ and friendliness’ you may go for yellow or green, or a combination/tints of both colours.

With the colours chosen for every other image, be it the choice of people, the clothing, the background or lighting, it all adds up to the ‘voice’ of your brand, including the way you design or the placement of your visuals. An interesting fact to remember is that 90% of all information transmitted to our brain is visual.

Finally…

In today’s digital world where Facebook alone hosts over 30 million small businesses, it's essential you find your unique ‘brand voice’ to get noticed and stand apart in the sea of competing noises.

Have you discovered your brand ‘voice’ yet?

If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email andy@element7digital.com.au

Our Website is element7digital.com.au

Andy Fox - Author

I have a firm belief there is only one great challenge in life… And that is… To be the best version of you possible. I have lived my whole life to this tune. I love that I am not perfect and I love that every day I get up and make at least one change in my life that makes it better, one change that takes me closer to my life’s goals.

More about me, visit: andyfox.com.au