How to Develop a Strong, Unique Brand Voice
When you think of a company’s brand, what comes to mind first is probably their visual elements. The colors in their logo, the font they use for their name, the images on their Instagram feed. But something just as important (and sometimes overlooked) is a company’s brand voice.
Brand voice is important to us at Uncanny Content, so much so that we’ve shared a guide on finding your brand’s voice in a previous post. But what do you do once you’ve found your brand voice? How do you use it well?
What is brand voice?
Let’s recap what brand voice actually is and why you should care about it. Brand voice is, quite simply, how you talk to your audience.
More specifically, it’s the personality your brand embodies in every form of communication. Any content you share through any channel with your audience is delivered in a certain tone, with certain words, in a certain attitude, to create a certain experience. That’s brand voice.
Why does brand voice matter, anyway?
Brand voice is how you speak to your audience, so, uh…you should probably care about how you speak to your audience. You want to connect with your target audience, right? Build a following on social media? Have loyal customers for life? You can’t do that if you neglect how you communicate with your people.
“Okay, but using the right brand voice is easy. All you have to do is type how you think or talk and you’re good to go!”
While we recommend listening to yourself talk about your business so that you can discover your brand voice, that’s meant to be a starting point for it. It’s not a one and done solution.
Plus, the longer you’re in business, the more often you should check in with your brand voice to see if it’s still relevant. Your business and brand overall will evolve and grow with time. Your brand voice should reflect that.
So, is it time to check in with your brand voice? Looking for tips on developing a brand voice that’s strong, genuine, and stands out from your competition? Let’s keep moving.
Check in with your brand’s mission
Your brand’s mission statement or value statement is a good place to start when developing or honing your brand voice. After all, these two things talk about what your company believes in and why it exists. There’s some meaty content in there that will help you nail down your brand voice.
Take the Uncanny Content brand values, for example. We chose eight words that represent what’s important to us, including humor, collaboration, precision, and more. These words give our audience (and potential clients) an idea of Uncanny Content’s “personality” and what they can expect when they interact with our brand.
Another good place to check in with your brand voice? Your brand promise. Ours can be found on our About page, but here it is:
At Uncanny Content, we promise to honor your brand voice, your audience, and what makes your business unique. We ensure that each piece of content or copy we create feels like you wrote it… but better.
Now, how would you describe our brand voice from these sentences? We’d say responsible and collaborative, with just a touch of sass at the end. Look back at brand values and you’ll find very similar words on that list.
Picture your brand as a person
If you’ve read your content so many times that words don’t feel like words anymore, let’s try a different tack for developing your brand voice.
Picture your brand as a person. Sounds kinda weird, but hear us out. What image popped into your mind after we told you to do that?
There’s a good chance the hypothetical person you pictured is someone in your target audience, one of your buyer personas, or someone on your team (who is probably in your brand’s target audience, too).
Once you have your imaginary brand avatar in mind, think about how you’d speak to them. It would be different if you were talking to a young, hip Gen Zer vs. someone who looks like your grandparent, wouldn’t it? Consider slang, humor, tone of voice, pop culture references — any language that would strengthen your bond with your audience or could possibly alienate them.
Audit your current brand voice in your content
Next up: Audit your current content for brand voice. Pull out your pieces or web pages that have performed best since you launched your biz. Reread them again and pay attention to the brand voice. While you’re at it, you can revise or ditch any content pieces that don’t align with it.
Your top performers are already resonating with your audience. It may not be solely because of your brand voice, but we guarantee that’s part of the reason they’re a hit. You can also note if there are any commonalities like topic, length, or format; that info will likely come in handy later when you’re planning content for the future.
Describe who you are (and who you’re not)
When it’s too difficult to choose three words to describe your brand — there are just so many words available to choose from! — doing the opposite kind of exercise can help. How would you not describe your brand?
Brainstorm statements that describe what you don’t want your brand voice to be, like:
- Our brand voice is not unprofessional.
- Our brand voice is not silly or childish.
- Our brand voice is not overly familiar.
From there, you might use antonyms to describe what your brand voice is. In this example, the brand voice is authoritative, professional, and serious.
Another similar exercise would be to write “we’re this, not that” statements. “We’re authoritative, but not uppity,” for example.
Here are a couple others:
- “We’re witty, but not snarky.”
- “We’re cutesy, but not dumb.”
- “We’re topical, but not cringey.”
Statements like these can narrow down your brand voice even further to figure out what it is and what it’s not.
Get outside perspective on your brand voice
Finally, one last strategy for developing a genuine and strong brand voice is to look for inspiration elsewhere. Pick your favorite companies and write out why you like their brand voice. (We love doing this so much we’ve made it a series on brand voice, of sorts.) How can you take that inspiration and apply it to your own brand voice?
Once you’ve honed your brand voice, make sure you update any brand guidelines so that you and your team fully understand what it is and how it should be used. Now you have a standard to measure your content against.
Still need help developing your brand voice? Lucky for you, brand voice is kind of our thing at Uncanny Content. Shoot us a message and let’s talk about what we can do for your brand voice.