Whether you’re a well-established brand or a fresh new business, navigating brand voice can be tricky.
This is especially true in a crowded digital space where everyone’s voice is seemingly getting louder and louder as they try to stand out amongst the competition. But here’s a little secret: You don’t have to shout from the (virtual) rooftops to establish and grow your brand. You just have to craft a brand voice that’s unique to you.
However, finding and adjusting that unique brand voice can be just as difficult to navigate – if not more so. What if your audiences don’t get it? What if they don’t like it?
Truth is, not everyone is going to be on board with everything you do (I mean, have you been on the internet)? What matters is having a brand voice that reflects exactly where you are right now. And if that’s not the case for you, it might be time to do some adjusting.
Here are 5 signs it’s time to update your brand voice, and how to navigate those changes when the timing is right.
1. You’re not getting the results you want
Let’s be real: There are a lot of potential reasons you’re not getting the results you want. It could be everything from small optimizations (like making your CTAs clearer) to redesigning your website (because it’s not functioning or secure). But an aspect that’s often overlooked? Your brand voice.
If audiences don’t know who you are, what you do, or what you stand for, they’re much more likely to jump ship and go elsewhere. That’s because we live in a culture where it’s no longer about product or service quality – it’s about the brand as a whole. So, even if you have the best of the best offer out there, audiences won’t engage if they don’t understand or trust your brand.
2. Your audience has said something
Everyone has an opinion these days, and most aren’t afraid to voice it. While you can typically disregard the trolls, any credible feedback your audience gives is incredibly valuable. Especially when it comes to your brand voice.
Whether they’ve made comments on social media, left feedback on your website, or said something via customer service, you need to listen to them. You might even hear things like, “I didn’t expect that from your social media/website.”
Think of your audience as your ultimate gut-check; sometimes you’re so entrenched in your work that you might not even know something is off. But if audiences are noticing? That’s a red flag that it’s time to re-evaluate your brand voice.
3. Your brand voice differs from medium to medium
It’s natural to write differently across mediums, but your brand voice should remain consistent at all times. For example, on social media, your brand voice might be bolder on Instagram than it is on LinkedIn. Or your emails might be slightly more personable than your website.
But – at the core of everything you write – your unique brand voice should remain intact. If you (or your audiences) feel like you’re a different person, company, or brand across your channels, it’s very likely that your brand voice needs to be reevaluated.
4. It’s been a long time since you audited your brand voice
As your business grows and changes over time, your brand voice should adapt right alongside it. You shouldn’t have to feel ‘stuck’ with your initial brand voice just because that’s what audiences know you for. Your brand voice should feel uniquely true to where your business is at now. But what does that look like?
Maybe it’s showcasing more confidence in yourself and your offers. Maybe that’s offering bolder stances on causes that are important to you. Maybe that’s adding a layer of maturity and polish to everything you do.
Take some time to audit your current brand voice to see if it reflects where you are now. You might even schedule yearly check-ins with yourself to make sure your brand voice is adapting with you – not falling behind.
5. You’re thinking of doing a full rebrand
Just like your brand voice, you shouldn’t feel tied down to your current branding. Again, you and your business are allowed to change as you grow. You’re allowed to stop and say, “Hey, this doesn’t really feel like me or reflect where I’m at right now.”
So, if you’ve been thinking of doing a full rebrand lately, your brand voice should definitely be a part of that. However, don’t dive head-first into a rebrand just because you don’t like your current one. A rebrand should be driven by recurring thoughts and feelings that your brand no longer reflects your offers, values, goals, and personality accurately.
Tips for updating your brand voice
So, how do you go about updating your brand voice? Let’s be clear on one thing from the beginning: Updating your brand voice is not the same thing as rebranding. You can make subtle shifts in your brand voice without revealing an entirely new identity (and throwing audiences off as a result). Here’s what we recommend:
1. Re-evaluate or update your target audiences
Reground yourself with who you’re talking to and how you’re trying to reach them. Maybe you’ve expanded your target audiences or you no longer cater to a certain group. That’s okay! Just make sure you still have a strong understanding of:
- Who they are
- Their current problems or hurdles
- Their likes, interests, and dislikes
- How they communicate and behave online
- How you or your offer can help
Re-establishing these details will help craft the other elements of your brand voice. Speaking of…
2. Update your tone
A lot of your brand voice should be driven by tone. It’s not just about what you say – it’s how you say it. For example, are you more playful or serious? More professional or laid back? Determine what’s going to resonate with your audiences the most, then adapt your tone to match.
3. Find your unique characteristics
Do you have a go-to signoff for your emails? Is there a word or phrase you constantly say or share with your audiences? Lean into that! Most brands have the same foundation for their brand voice, but it’s differences in character that make them stand out.
One brand that comes to mind right away is the My Favorite Murder franchise. ‘SSDGM’ (‘Stay sexy, don’t get murdered’) has become a wildly recognizable and fun trademark of their brand voice. Embrace the different quirks of your brand personality that make it unique!
4. Sounds like vs. doesn’t sound like
One of the easiest ways to pull through brand voice updates is to take stock of what your voice sounds like and what it doesn’t sound like. You can even use real people or fictional characters to get your point across. For example:
Doesn’t sound like:
Doesn’t sound like:
5. Hire content experts to help
Sometimes you just need some extra guidance and strategy from people who know what the hell they’re doing. Lucky for you, we are those people! Everything from brand voice to content strategy to (mostly) everything in between, we can be your go-to brand and content experts to help you along the way. Set up a call with Latasha if you’re ready to find and create a brand voice that makes sense for you and your business.