One of the most common questions we get asked is, “what’s my brand’s voice?” and it’s not surprising – figuring out what your business should sound like is TOUGH and kind of confusing.
But like so many good business owners already understand, a strong brand voice is an essential piece in the marketing puzzle.
So, with that in mind let’s see if we can’t break this thing down into something a little less complicated and a little more straightforward.
1. Express Your Values
To start, define the beliefs that you hold as an organization because it’s these guys that will play a central role in every aspect of branding, including voice.
Got your values ready? Good. Now, take those ideas and sum them up in a few words or phrases (stick to three or four), and remember that anything goes.
Maybe you’d call your brand witty, transparent, innovative, or a confidant. Whatever you come up with, make sure that the words align with the values you’ve already established.
The point of the exercise is to get you thinking about personality. A brand’s personality dictates a brand’s voice in the same way that a human’s personality influences that human’s manner of speaking.
2. Figure Out What Appeals to Your Audience
Once you’ve figured out who YOU are, you’ll need to find out who THEY are along with the types of voices they’re already positively responding to.
If you think about the businesses you love, you could probably say that most, or even all of them sound kind of similar (but still maintain their own identities) and that’s because they know just what you like.
Look to successful brands in your own industry and study their content carefully.
- Are they playful or straight-laced?
- Cool and casual, or elegant and refined?
Check out their web pages, social channels, and their newsletters too – the more that you can get your hands on, the better.
After you’ve hunted and gathered all the content data you can handle, start deciding where you feel your brand fits in and then test out a few ideas. A little A/B testing can get you the feedback needed from your audience to help guide you in the right direction.
Let's do an example. If your brand is, say, Palm Leaf Pencils, you could A/B test two headlines; one direct and the other goofy.
"Palm Leaf Pencils are handy tools with a tropical twist."
"Palm Leaf Pencils fit ~perfectly~ into the palm of your hand 😅 "
Now, which is direct and which is goofy – you choose! But which one delivers the most conversions is up to your A/B testing.
3. Play Around With Your Words
There’s a whole slew of different words that you can use to say the same thing, but it’s important to figure out which of these fit with your brand voice the best.
- Is the voice casual when it comes to contracting words?
- Are you going to use common slang?
- What about perspective – is it ok to use words like “we” and “I”?
- How about directly speaking to the audience (like we’re doing right now)?
This is the language that customers will come to expect throughout all of your brand’s messaging. These words also further define your brand’s personality, so it’s crucial that it’s kept consistent no matter the platform.
4. Get Into Storytelling
When we talk about storytelling in reference to your brand, we’re talking about a helpful method used to enhance personality AND help you emotionally connect with your audience.
You probably don’t need a refresher course on what makes up a story, but just in case this whole voice thing is starting to get confusing, we’ll talk it out anyway.
Stories need a beginning, a middle and an end, and should include the basics like a central figure fighting through different obstacles to achieve a goal.
An awesome place to get your storytelling on is through the company’s ‘About’ page. Instead of explaining in standard terms the date things started or the details on what the business does, write as if you’re sharing the story with someone you just met. Express those details like a real person instead of like an organization and you’ll have totally nailed it!
Looking for some hands-on help and feedback with your brand's voice? We specialize in voice creation.
Send us a message with your questions. We can help.
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About the Author:
Taylor Marsden is a copywriter here at Canupy, as well as a blogger and digital content manager. She's worked with a variety of clients including Perez Hilton, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Toronto Fashion Week and The Home Depot! When not writing, you'll find her scouring the web for travel deals and/or pinning delicious looking recipes (that she has no intention of actually cooking).