The Importance of Finding Your Brand’s Content Voice
“A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir.”
– Lisa Gansky, entrepreneur and author
Brand voice is the stimulus of sales. Finding your brand voice makes you unique, sets you apart from the competition, and helps you better relate to your client base. The voice in your brand’s content strategy is what gives you a distinct, opinionated perspective in the marketplace while opening a gateway to build a loyal readership.
But what is “voice?” How can you employ a unique voice in a way that will gain traction in your industry?
The definition of voice
In the typical discussion of voice, you’ll often hear two separate distinctions emerge: brand voice versus content voice. Authors and bloggers will say that brand voice is the overall personality of a company while content voice is the expression of that personality through the written word.
However, at Palm Beach Content Co., we know that these two voices are one in the same. Your content must be aligned with your brand’s overall voice. Every piece of content you put out—whether it’s a blog post, email, speech, video, or list of ingredients on the bottle—should be aligned with your brand’s voice. When finding your brand voice, you should first look to the type of content you publish.
Your brand’s personality is fashioned by the words you use and the content you put out.
Without content, your company is nothing but a product. Content enlivens your brand into an entity that can connect and interact with your consumer.
Thus, our definition of brand voice is “the expression of your brand’s personality through distinct words, phrases, and literary devices to evoke a desired emotional response.”
Imagine your brand as a person. What would it say? How would it act? How would it interact with its friends (your customers)? What would it wear? What would its personality be?
Finding your brand voice first comes from understanding how your brand operates in accordance with your company’s mission, values, and philosophy…and then finding the words to share that personality with consumers.
Why use brand voice?
Why is it important to have a brand voice? Why is finding your brand voice so crucial in today’s marketplace? What does it do for your overall business strategy?
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
– Seth Godin, author, entrepreneur, and public speaker
Ultimately, your brand voice is what invites customers choose to purchase from you—the first time and all recurring times after that.
There are thousands of competitors in your industry—hundreds doing exactly what you do. In a society that believes in entrepreneurship, it’s impossible to completely dominate a market by product or service alone.
Those who dominate a market—companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, Nike—all have one thing in common. They have a great product, but their competitors do too. Rather, their success comes from their distinct voices that allow them to connect with their audience on a deeper level. They build a loyal following based on the company’s values and culture they reveal through their brand’s voice.
Helps to focus your company’s strategy based on the language you use.
Clarifies your company’s purpose, mission, and values.
Relates to your audience by using words and phrases to which they will best respond.
Gains traction and builds a loyal following.
Promotes unity and cohesiveness across channels to build a united brand image overall.
Creates an emotional response that differentiates your brand, content, and product.
Finding your brand voice means opening an exceptional gateway into your marketplace.
Think of your favorite company. What do you like about them? What makes you continue to purchase from them again and again? Likely, you approve of their mission and their values. Their product and brand is directly aligned with your personal lifestyle. Their content and voice inspires you in some way.
This isn’t an accident. Companies purposefully build a voice that will create an experiential relationship between brand and consumer.
How do you find your voice?
So what does a voice mean for your business? How will finding your brand voice take your success to the next level?
Who is your target audience?
The first step of finding your brand voice is to think about your audience’s voice. What words do they use? How do they communicate? Where do they hang out? How will your voice relate to your audience?
Listen to your audience before you start to speak. Be as specific as possible. Look at key words, phrases, syntax, and tone. Learn more about using tone to create your brand voice here.
What are your competitors’ voices?
What does your competition sound like? How does your number one competitor use its voice to connect with the market? What does their voice lack in terms of connection with the target audience? How can you differentiate yourself based on the voice you create? How will you fashion your voice in a way that will give you an advantage over your competitors? What will be unique and distinctive about your voice?
Take a novel approach when finding your brand voice. If you are a tech company and all of your competitors have a personality that’s innovative and inspiring, take a goofy approach. If you are a financial services company and your competitors tend to be formal, create an informal and conversational voice.
How does your voice relate to your company?
Think about your company’s mission, goals, and philosophy. What is your purpose of being in business? Finding your brand voice should be directly aligned with the goal of your product or service.
Now you’ve found your voice.
So how do you implement it?
Through your brand’s content marketing strategy.
Content is the foundation for a strong voice. Marketing is the only time when your company interacts with its consumers firsthand. Content marketing especially opens up a two-way dialogue between brand and client.
Now you need to think about how you will use your voice. How will you keep your brand voice cohesive? Decide how you will implement a cohesive brand voice in every aspect of your content marketing strategy: from blogs, sales copy, and website content to thank you notes, receipts, packaging labels and more.
Note that brand voice should be employed both externally and internally. The voice that your employees use talk to one another should be directly affiliated with how your company speaks to its clients. This creates another layer of genuine cohesiveness that will deepen the authenticity and power of your brand voice.
Finding your brand voice starts by assigning diction and tone to your brand’s desired personality. Describe your brand in three words. Look up synonyms for these words in a thesaurus. Are there other keywords that are more specific, relevant, or unique? Choose no less and no more than three words; fewer means you may not have a well-established voice, and more means you don’t have a concise and specific voice.
Now create a brand chart. This is how you will ensure you have a definitive, distinct brand. The chart will ensure cohesiveness as you continue forward with your content strategy.
Each row should have the three words that describe your voice. The columns should describe how that word will influence your brand and how it will be implemented in your strategy.
Finally, send this brand chart to all writers, employees, and partners of your brand. Everyone in the company should have a copy of the brand voice chart; it should be easily accessible and posted in key areas of the business. This will maintain unity and consistency of the brand and help focus the company’s mission and culture.
Finding your brand voice is the key to unlocking your position and competitive advantage within the market.
What does your brand voice look like? Where is it strongest? Where could it be better defined? How does your brand voice connect you with your audience?