“Brand voice.” WTF is that, you ask? It’s the voice you use to communicate to your brand’s audience.
Well, duh, you might be thinking. But what is brand voice actually?
Let’s break down brand voice
Here at Uncanny Content, we think brand voice is pretty simple (probably because we’ve been doing this for a while).
Brand voice is made up of the words you pick for your content. It’s the tone you choose to use when you deliver those words. It’s your attitude and personality — or the attitude and personality of the business, which we’ll get into a bit more.
It’s how you take a unique spin on your services or products, and the way your people feel when they interact with you. Are they laughing? Feeling hopeful? Getting whipped into shape? What are they feeling as a result of their interaction with your brand?
That’s brand voice, baby.
Is brand voice even a thing?
We once had a potential client who said “Is brand voice even a thing?” and we had to laugh (and promptly end the discovery call). Yes, honey. It exists. And it can make or break your business in today’s online world.
Cultivating a unique and genuine brand voice for your business is so important, but it’s often overlooked (and neglected because, yeah, it takes some work). A unique, genuine brand voice speaks to your target audience. You connect with your customers and keep ‘em coming back to your social media pages, your website, your blog, your checkout page. Simply because of the way your brand “sounds.”
We shit you not.
Let’s be real: your audience buys from you or works with you because they relate to the way you communicate with them. You could have the same business as any person and still sell more than your competitors if your audience feels you “get them” better.
But we’re not going to leave you with that intangible info. Instead, we’re going to share a few strong examples of brand voice — and exhibit the diversity that exists — so you can see what we mean.
Wendy’s: saucy, witty, topical
If you couldn’t tell from our other blog posts and our Instagram captions, we love sass and snark. That’s why we can appreciate a brand voice that embraces dark humor and a good-natured roast or two.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you know that Wendy’s is the king — nay, queen — of nailing this type of brand voice. Google “Wendy’s Twitter” and you’ll get tons of blogs celebrating their snarky humor, going back years.
There’s this undeniable classic, which launched a “roast me” movement between Wendy’s and Wendy’s fans on Twitter:
Pure gold, right??
More than that, scroll through their current tweets and you can see just how good Wendy’s is at keeping up with current pop culture and weird millennial humor.
An example: on April 10th, 2020, Wendy’s called for Twitter users to share their best stories of being ghosted. And for people riding out the Rona quarantine in isolation, Wendy’s was ready to hook them up with a free Dave’s Single.
Getting ghosted stinks, but right now you feel it even more. If you’ve been ghosted, tell us and we’ll call Casper out; maybe even reignite a spark. Single in isolation? We got you with a free Dave’s Single to keep you company. #DavesSinglesforSingleshttps://t.co/nIYYsjlUyK pic.twitter.com/PF5egvOICf
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) April 10, 2020
Of course, Wendy’s retweeted some of the best stories and added their own spin. Plus, they promoted the Wendy’s app by giving away free Dave’s Singles. Delicious. And downright smart.
She ghosted you, so we’re here for the ultimate sub tweet.
Not so sure about sandwich art, but we’ve got a Free Dave’s Single with your name on it.
(just the expression it still has Dave’s name on it) https://t.co/kaRKiL9A99
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) April 10, 2020
Bravo, Wendy’s, for creating a unique and fun brand voice that perfectly embodies weird internet humor. How many fast food companies do you know that sells burgers based on tweets? (Answer: this one.)
Travel Wyoming: inspiring, scenic, adventurous
Now that we’ve covered the queen of brand voice, let’s look at some smaller brands.
Back before the time of Rona, when we still took vacations (insert goo-goo, dreamy eyes), did you ever plan a trip by looking at travel websites? We’re not gonna name names, but a lot of these travel websites looked outdated and generic. Boring. These sites gave you the basic info you needed, like famous landmarks or directions from the airport, but they were pretty forgettable.
And then there’s Travel Wyoming. Before you pass judgment on what you think you know about this state, look at their website. At their copy. #Drool
Wide-open vistas. Gorgeous nature and wildlife. A place you can explore by hiking trail, on horseback, while on a road trip. Travel Wyoming has all the necessary info like museums to check out and outdoor activities and popular restaurants, but they also make you want to visit Wyoming.
Look at their choice of words and phrases on their website:
- “Wide-open safe haven and source of inspiration”
- “Open your mind and invigorate your senses”
- “Videos to inspire”
- “Hidden gems and lesser-known locales”
- “Stay calm. Stay inspired.”
It’s safe to say that you could describe Travel Wyoming’s brand voice as “inspiring.” It also makes you want to get outdoors and explore, take in picturesque views, and enjoy nature.
Plus, they use their state abbreviation as a pun. “WY am I here?” “WY responsibly.” “That’s WY.” Who doesn’t love a good pun?
Being Boss: confident, creative, empowering
When you join a networking community or follow wellness/lifestyle brands on social media, sometimes the messaging can feel a little… forced. They may also fall into the trap of hustle culture, which is like so 2016.
How many inspirational quotes and positive affirmations can a person take?? After a while, the frequency of those messages start to lose their power. (Or maybe that’s our inherent snark talking.)
Our point is, we love brands that feel real. Being Boss is a “resource for creative entrepreneurs,” but they don’t just share pretty and inspiring quotes on Instagram. They give their audience practical advice, actionable tips, and tools and resources they can use to get shit done.
Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson of Being Boss know what they’re talking about. The content on their website reflects that confidence. Their podcast has over 8 million downloads. They’ve interviewed experts like Brené Brown and Melissa Hartwig. They’ve written a book! Basically, they’ve built a brand and community around their experience and passion for business.
We’d also describe their brand voice as creative and empowering. Creative because, well, that’s clearly who they target: creative entrepreneurs. Empowering because they use these action-oriented words and phrases:
- “Take control of your work”
- “Live life on your own terms”
- “Get the scoop on how to be more boss”
- “Make do”
Their brand name is “Being Boss,” for crying out loud. And “Being Boss is owning who you are, knowing what you want, and actually making it happen.”
Being Boss clearly owns their brand voice, knows what it is, and uses it to reach their target audience — and their audience is only growing.
Find your voice
There are so many great examples of brand voice out there (honorable mentions go to Cards Against Humanity, Aerie, Skittles, Dove, and Meh). Remember: you don’t have to have a particular type of brand voice in order to succeed. You just have to have a strong one. Consistency and authenticity are important too — you’ll need a voice that resonates with your audience.
You have to know who you’re talking to create your brand voice. Figure out what your target audience is enjoying, listening to, reading, watching. Research your competitors. Look at other brand voices to see which you like. Decide what you want to talk about with your audience and how.
And if you need help finding your voice, give Uncanny Content a ring. We do this cute thing where we nail down your brand voice in about 64 seconds flat.