If you could have a conversation with the apple logo from Apple, how do you think it would go?
That apple would likely be succinct in its descriptions of everything up-and-coming in the tech industry. With a bit of creativity, yet still concise, the Apple apple would surely be sleek and well-spoken.
Why can we hypothesize what it might be like to talk to the Apple apple? Because of Apple’s brand voice. It’s almost as if we can envision how Apple, the brand, talks.
This strategy is totally intentional in the game of marketing.
What is Brand Voice
Brand voice includes the tone, word choice, and style used when a brand communicates with consumers. A brand’s voice shows personality and spans both written and verbal communications. Commercials, social media, email marketing, press releases, websites, and blog copy should all align with a brand’s chosen voice. The end goal – building brand consistency, familiarity, and reliability.
Tone vs Voice
Although both are essential, tone and brand voice are not one and the same.
Tone changes with context; it relates to how a message is stated. A cosmetics brand can use an excited, energetic tone to announce the arrival of a new product, but then switch to a serious, empowering tone when launching a campaign on embracing natural beauty.
Voice, though, remains more constant. Voice helps a brand build its personality and identifiability. Think back to our cosmetics brand example. Even though they may change their tone, you can think of beauty brands as a whole as having an overall fresh, trendy, and clean voice.
Brand Voice in the Digital Age
The exciting part about modern-day brand voice is that there isn’t a set rule book on how to use it. Constance Hale and Jessie Scanlon, authors of Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age, remind contemporary writers that it is okay to play around with colloquial verbiage and non-traditional dashes and punctuation online. In fact… They encourage it! This kind of experimentation creates the unique, reliable voice that brands so desire.
The Internet connects us. Digital-age brands communicate both to you and with you. Brands like Coca-Cola have used their Twitter accounts to build brand voice through conversation. You can see the soda conglomerate embody a classic, carefree voice with tweets about drinking a cold Coke on a hot summer day; scroll down to find them replying with emojis and their same happy attitude to fans who are tweeting about their love of Coca-Cola.
Social media is providing ample opportunity for brands to build voice and emotional engagement.
Brand Voice and Emotional Connection
Consumers become emotionally connected to a brand when they feel it aligns with their personal motivations. Therefore, as a brand, if you can convey feelings of security, well-being, originality, or belonging to your customers, you can build a connection and likely see a payoff from it.
When targeting millennials especially, research has found that customers who experience those positive feelings from a brand will be more committed to said brand. Specifically, emotionally connected customers are 52% more valuable than customers who are only highly satisfied (Magids, Zorfas, & Leemon, 2015).
The bottom line – not only is the digital age a new, exciting time for a brand to share its voice and personality, but it also offers a revolutionary way for them to connect with their customers.
Building and Executing a Brand Voice
The first step in building a brand voice is finding it. But how?
First, take note of the voice you have when talking about the brand. Is it playful? Energetic? Serious? Now think of what you’re selling and to whom you are selling. Animated youth? Stoic professionals? Target audience impacts how your brand will communicate. Think about Sour Patch Kids and Chrysler. Do those two products “talk” the same? Not really. Because they are talking to different audiences.
Making your Voice Megaphone-Ready
Once you have determined what your brand voice will be, create a guide, execute a strategy, and analyze.
Brand voice guides ensure voice stays consistent. Include details such as guidelines for using slang and emojis, how you will communicate with customers online, and common phrases or keywords to be incorporated across platforms.
After launching your brand voice, don’t forget about it… Analyze it! Are you reaching the audience you want to? If not, you may have to adjust. Do you feel your voice has been reflective of your brand and its growth or changes? Has it stayed current with ever-changing lingo?
Most importantly, once you pick a voice, make sure you stick with the bit. Your brand voice should be consistent, even if it feels excessive. Take Sesame Street’s Count von Count. His Twitter account is solely him counting. Every day. Excessive? Maybe, but pretty on brand for a character who teaches kids to count. Despite the silliness of this example, it shows how a written voice can have the power to build and maintain a brand.
At FYD, we want the same for your brand. If you’re looking to find the right voice, our content developers can help. Contact our team to amplify your brand’s voice.
Clark, R. P. (2020). Murder your darlings: And other gently writing advice from Aristotle to Zinsser. Little, Brown Spark.
Magids, S., Zorfas, A., & Leemon, D. (2015, November. The new science of customer emotions: A better way to drive growth and profitability. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2015/11/the-new-science-of-customer-emotions