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Created on 23.11.2022

Brand voice – how to develop your own brand voice

An over-saturated market bombards customers with ads, offers, new products, new brands and new ideas. To be successful as a brand, it is important to make yourself heard amongst the general public, and to attract the attention of your target group. To achieve this, not only do companies need a good business model, but a strong brand voice as well. A brand voice will allow you to establish a connection with your customers and to share values, motivation and objectives. Find out in this blog post how to find your own brand voice.

What is a brand voice exactly?

A brand voice will define your company’s communication style. It ensures brands communicate consistently across all channels, and it expresses the defined, individual identity and personality of the brand. In the same way that private individuals speak to friends and family, your brand voice should likewise enable your company to speak to its target group. A successful brand voice conveys to its audience what it believes in as a company, and what it stands for. The tone of a brand voice will vary from company to company. Your brand voice should reflect the brand values of your company, and speak to your target groups directly. There are many ways to bring a brand voice to life today: in e-mails, on a website, with content marketing, on social media and in social media posts, adverts or press releases.

Why is a brand voice so important?

The sheer number of brands out there and the sensory overstimulation caused by so many ads today means it isn’t easy to stand out from the crowd – not only offline, but online as well. To create a consistent brand image, you therefore need a consistent brand voice that goes beyond visual content, logos and product features. This is where the brand voice comes in. By establishing their own brand voice, companies are able to speak directly to their customers and build up a robust community. It is part of your brand, and one of the most important ways of standing out from the crowd. A successful brand voice builds up trust in your brand and helps you to stand out from the competition, making you a recognizable brand. Your brand awareness in turn increases automatically as well.

Nike is a good example of a strong brand voice. Most of us know their slogan “JUST DO IT”, which sets a very clear tone for the sports brand: the brand is all about strength and stamina, and appeals to both pros and amateurs.

What’s the difference between brand voice and tone of voice?

When we talk about brand voice, we often also refer to tone of voice. The two terms do sound similar, but there are differences:

  • The brand voice is the consistent, enduring identity of a brand. It defines precisely how companies speak to their target group. Whether authoritarian, playful, family-oriented or youthful, there are many ways a company can communicate with its target group.
  • The tone of voice is generally the style that you as a brand use to communicate with your target group. Your ultimate goal here is to adopt a unique tone that is distinct from that of the competition.

Brand voice and tone of voice are essentially interconnected: you need a brand voice to set your tone, and you need a tone of voice to make your brand consistent and recognizable. To put it simply: the brand voice is what you say, and the tone of voice is how you say it.

How to develop your brand voice in 5 steps

Once you understand how important a brand voice is, it is time to find one for your own company. We will show you how to find your own brand voice in 5 steps.

Step 1: Find your brand identity

One of the most important things for a brand is to translate your identity and what you stand for. To do this, a company needs to define its vision, mission and guiding principles. The four pillars of vision, mission, guiding principles and company values will help you to stand out from the competition and to find your own voice. Consider the following:

  • Vision: what is your company’s purpose?
  • Mission: how do you want to achieve your vision?
  • Guiding principles: what will you do within your company to achieve your vision?
  • Values: which specific qualities are important to your company?

Whilst your guiding principles are about describing in detail how you are going to work at your mission to achieve your vision, your values are a collection of concepts that are important to your company, and according to which your company acts.

Step 2: Who is your brand’s target audience?

You have defined what you want to achieve as a company. Now it is time to define your target group. This step is about deciding which potential customers you want to appeal to. When you define your target group, it is helpful to categorize them by age, gender, values and interests or education/profession.

To get a better idea of your target group, we recommend conducting a target group analysis. This will involve analysing what your target group is interested in, what its purchasing habits are like and where they source their information from. It is often helpful to come up with what are known as buyer personas. These are fictional personas that represents prototypical customers. Try to put yourself in the shoes of real people in your target group and make a note of what needs and interests your persona has.

It is important you understand your target group and that you develop a brand voice that reflects them. If your target group is young and dynamic, both your brand voice and tone of voice can be more casual. If you have a very business-oriented target group, your brand’s tone should be a bit more serious.

Step 3: Where do you want to address your target audience?

Finding the right brand voice isn’t just about who you are speaking to, but how you do it. After all, communication channels differ and will have an impact on your brand voice. It is very possible that you will vary the tone of voice slightly depending on the channels you use. Whereas social media allow for a more unconventional or laid back tone of voice, channels such as e-mail or press releases are more formal, and require a tone of voice to match.

Step 4: Document your brand voice

Once you have defined your brand voice and tone of voice, we recommend drawing up guidelines so that your company clearly defines how you as a brand address your audience, and on which channel. Get your strategic principles for communicating with your target group down on paper so you embed your brand voice more firmly, and ultimately establish it consistently across your company.

Step 5: Remain flexible!

Times, markets, tastes, priorities and language change. Words that were once commonplace a few years ago may already be outdated today. Even if you have managed to find your own consistent tone as a company, remember to adapt to changes and to keep up with the times. This doesn’t just apply to language change, but social trends as well. You should also review and refine your target group every once in a while by carrying out a new target group analysis. Based on the analysis, you can then adapt your brand voice if necessary.

Do terms like target group and persona not mean much to you? Read about  defining your target group, communication touchpoints and the customer journey in our article about Customer centricity in digital marketing.

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