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If Your Brand Could Talk, What Would it Sound Like?

If Your Brand Could Talk, What Would it Sound Like?

In our last post we talked in-depth about the importance of the visual elements of your brand. We hope that you took away some good information from that piece, and now want to introduce you to another important element: your brand’s voice.

By voice, we mean your written communication. And by written communication, we mean how you write and respond to customers via your email, website, blog and social media channels like Facebook & Twitter.

Just like with visuals, your company’s voice also needs to be consistent. And that means you have to be thoughtful about what you write and how you interact with customers online.

Just like with visuals, your company’s voice also needs to be consistent. And that means you have to be thoughtful about what you write and how you interact with customers online.

By voice, we mean your written communication. And by written communication, we mean how you write and respond to customers via your email, website, blog and social media channels like Facebook & Twitter.

Just like with visuals, your company’s voice also needs to be consistent. And that means you have to be thoughtful about what you write and how you interact with customers online.

Most business owners probably don’t think of their business as having its own voice. Especially if the owner is the business, in that case the owner’s voice is usually the voice of the business too. But as your business grows in size and your brand evolves, you will find that the brand starts to take on a life of its own, and suddenly people may have differing opinions of you as an individual and your company as a whole.

This is where it starts to get real fun.

Because now, you have the power to create something and shape it just the way you want it. And the tools available to you are how the brand looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feels.

This is pure creative power.

Start by defining what the brand’s voice is.

Did you ever make mock radio shows when you were a kid? Pop a tape in the recorder with a friend and start singing and announcing the weather? Do you remember how fun that was? Defining your brand’s voice is kind of like that. It can certainly be just as fun if you approach it with the same attitude!

Pretend there’s a blank tape in the recorder. You’re brand is on the air.

What would your brand say? What kind of personality would it have? How would it talk? What kind of phrases would it use? Would it be funny? Whimsical? Serious and formal? Warm and friendly? Overtly sarcastic? Mean and grumpy?

Remember, there’s no wrong answer. The goal with your branding is to make your business distinguishable and unique so don’t be afraid to make it your own. Just be careful with oddball and experimental personalities like sarcastic or mean & grumpy. These can work for businesses in very specific niches – and can easily backfire in a big way if used incorrectly. Also, be mindful of how the voice fits with your visual image, industry, and customer. These to some degree will determine what is and isn’t appropriate for the voice.

Don’t forget to add boundaries too.

Aside from stylistic considerations, think about the things that are appropriate for your employees to talk about online. All too many managers have found themselves in the deep end when an employee posted a detailed recounting of last weekend’s sexual escapades using the company Twitter account. Think about the behavior and topics that are acceptable for your employees to share while interacting with customers and other employees online.

Now, document everything and share with your employees.

Once you’ve determined what your brand’s voice is and what your boundaries and rules are, take some time and put together a reference guide that must be adhered to by anyone accessing your company website, blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Include a guide for style as well as boundaries and rules. That way everyone is on the same page and you don’t end up with a big customer service or PR mess to clean up.

What brand voices do you love?

Can you think of a business that has a clearly recognizable voice? Please share by leaving a comment below and we can start a discussion that might give you some tips when developing the voice of your brand.