Finding your Brand Voice – Building Trust and Defining Your Brand
Our guest blogger Marcus Hardaker writes
What is Brand Voice?
After research and a lot of studying, it has come to my attention just how significant your Brand Voice can be to your brand. Much like our own voices… each brand’s voice is unique and specific. I will be drawing a lot of similar comparisons but stay with me, it’s going somewhere…
Like your voice, if consistent over time will build trust with the people around you. After all, would you trust someone who was inconsistent with their beliefs, goals or message? Or perhaps they tell you a story and major details change when they tell you again in the future? (We all know some and we don’t trust them).
Like your voice, it’s unique to your brand and the message you are trying to convey, allowing you to attract like-minded people who support your message. In business, it’s the key to finding your demographic and being a brand they can trust.
Done right, it can humanize your brand, making it relatable and authentic over time. Specify it correctly; you will reach your target audience.
Brand Voice Examples
To find your Brand Voice (more about that later), you have to find your message. It can be just as simple as key words you want to associate with. I’ll use some popular brands as examples:
When I think of Body Shop, I think organically sourced, cruelty-free products.
I personally had never looked into the full background before now and didn’t check that to be true, but I trusted them.
Why did I just take their word for it? Because their message has been consistent since they began. Sure enough, a quick flick through their website shows exactly where they source products and their various efforts to stop animal cruelty in the beauty industry.
Not just the website… Instagram, Facebook, TV Adverts, Print Ads – all consistent with their brand voice.
They haven’t included this all over the place on a whim, they include it because it shouts their message and builds trust and relationships with like-minded people (your target audience).
Now they know their message, they know who to target. PRICELESS. For Body Shop, people supporting animal rights on social media are going to be very interested in their message. Therefore, they can target them for ads. The company is definitely proof that your Brand Voice is a very valuable marketing tool.
Head & Shoulders Shampoo
The word ‘DANDRUFF’ appears at least 20 times on the homepage of Head & Shoulders (I lost count). From blogs about how to fight dandruff to the results of clinical trials, everything emphasizes hair care and treatment.
“Clinically proven solution” – taken from a tab giving you a full break down of the formula, explaining how each ingredient helps your hair. They want you to know this is the solution and they have done their research.
Putting the long explanations about “selenium sulfide” or “ketoconazole” may not be important to us, but it is their Brand Voice. They are practically marketing it as a prescribed medicine and that’s exactly what they are going for.
They can target Google searches for “dandruff treatments” or “itchy scalp”, if the person hasn’t seen any of the other marketing consistently repeating the same message. (TV, print, social media)
If you asked me to think of an anti-dandruff/scalp care shampoo, I would think Head & Shoulders. They have a big presence in that space because their Brand Voice allowed them to target their niche.
You may have seen Longley Farm’s dairy products in main retailers. The keywords I would use here would be Quality, Natural, Family farm.
Their Brand Voice is making me feel like I’m getting it from a local farm. The website gives me information on where they’re from and how they started. It may be made in a factory but I trust them. Why? Consistency = Trust.
Building trust with your demographic will not only expand your reach but grow a trustworthy brand. If I trust a brand, I’m likely to recommend it, maybe talk about it with my friends. The potential for growth is huge, just by knowing your brand that little bit more.
How do you find it?
To find your Brand Voice you need to establish what you are trying to say. It doesn’t have to be any more than some KEYWORDS that will establish Brand Voice Guidelines. They will work as the rules to help keep the consistency of your voice and as we know, no one trusts inconsistency.
This is where the creative, fun part can start…
Get all stakeholders together to brainstorm and find the essential truth about the brand. Ask questions like ‘are we traditional, or new?’, ‘do we want to convey authority, or be more friendly and approachable?’, ‘what makes us special?’. Add more questions that help to find your essence.
These questions are designed to get the ideas flowing. Record every word. There is no exact science to generating Brand Voice. Add questions of your own or use them as a guide to start the ideas flowing. You never know what one word can lead to.
I’ve found this research to be an eye-opener. A lesson I’ll carry with me into future ventures and one I wish I’d known sooner.
Brand Voice not only helps you define your brand and what you want it to say but also to find the people who will listen.
Personally, I see it also as a reminder of why you’re doing it in the first place. It gives you direction in your marketing and if you stick to the direction, you can build a very trustworthy brand with loyal custom.
Give it a try! I have since suggested a meeting at my company. Already, we are implementing changes to our website and marketing just by writing down a few words of what we want to say. It certainly steered us in the right direction and I hope it does the same for you.
Find it… Get every stakeholder in the same room and discuss what you want to say. Discover your voice!
It has without a doubt reaffirmed my theory; you can’t trust anything that is inconsistent.