Each time your business launches an advertisement, updates website content, speaks at a conference or posts on social media, you showcase your brand voice. Whether you are sticking to your core brand voice depends on how well you developed it in the first place. Just as you would concept several designs for your brand logo, it is wise to define and strategize your voice. If your logo does not appear with your content, could your audience identify the content as coming from your brand? Companies have to rely on building a brand voice on social media platforms in order to distinguish themselves from every other brand.
You may be wondering how to go about it and here it is. I am going to give you five simple ways for your business to define and use its brand voice.
1. Gather a representative sample of your content
You want to cast a wide net to gather everything from videos to web pages, e-books to your social media calendar. Now, be sure to cast a critical eye on the content. Which of these examples could have come from any of your competitors? Set those aside. Your goal should be to whittle down your examples to a small group of pieces unique to your brand, in other words examples of the brand voice you wish to embody. Print these examples and put them up on a whiteboard, grouping pieces together that have a similar feel.
- Describe your brand voice in three words
In the same room as the whiteboard work with your key content creators and owners of the brand identity. Review all the selected content as the best examples of the brand voice you hope to embody. Discuss common themes across all of those pieces. Group the examples into three related buckets. If your brand was a person, how would you describe its personality to someone? At this point, also talk about how you would describe your competitors as people, too. Also ask yourself, how do your brand’s personality traits make you different?
Let’s create an example using three broad traits:
Define each one further. How do these characteristics show up in audience communication? How do they come across in the kind of content you are creating? How do they appear in your focused topics? Let’s continue this example:
- Passionate- expressive, enthusiastic, heartfelt, action-oriented
- Quirky- irreverent, unexpected, contrarian
- Authentic- genuine, trustworthy, engaging, direct
- Create a brand voice chart
With your brand’s voice defined, illustrate how it turns up more concretely in your content with a brand voice chart. It will be an essential reference tool to ensure your content is consistently using the same voice. Include three rows for each of the primary characteristics accompanied by three columns- a brief description, do’s and don’ts. If necessary, add a row for any secondary characteristic that needs a little extra explanation.
- Ensure your writers understand how to put your brand voice into action
You have defined your voice and tone, showing it in an easy-to-understand chart. How do you get everyone on board with using it? Meet with the team, anyone who creates content or communications and walk them through the chart. Go through examples of content that hits the mark and show in real time how you would revise some existing content that is not reflective of the defined voice to realign to it. If possible, provide the team with a laminated or card-stock copy of the brand voice chart to keep at their desk for reference. Ensure an electronic version is also available.
- Revisit and revise the brand voice chart as the company changes over time
A brand voice chart is not supposed to be a one time set it and forget it tool. As your brand messaging evolves or new competitors come into your market, it is crucial to take a look at the chart and refresh it with new examples. On a quarterly basis, convene your key content creators and communications to find out if any voice attributes have not been working well or are more aspirational than possible for whatever reason. For instance, many brands initially include ‘irreverence’, however find that many of their writers are uncomfortable flexing that muscle or that copy is consistently deleted by your key approvers. If that is the case, it may be time for a voice refresh or some new do’s and don’ts.
With so much commotion on social media, it can be challenging to stand out. However, it is a lot easier to create a bad or forgettable experience that will leave your customers flocking for the unfollow button. When businesses develop and stick to a brand voice, social media interactions suddenly get easier. Ensure you work to promote your brand voice and have a clear vision of how everyone sees your brand.