It’s hard to be anywhere these days without being inundated with branding messages. A brand voice may resonate with us or repel us, but they are a part of our lives. In fact, they are so ingrained in everyday life that we may not immediately recognize them. We do know, however, how certain brand voices make us feel, what brands earn our loyalty, and what brands drive us to engage with them through their carefully crafted brand voices.
A brand’s tone of voice is what speaks to its audience and drives them to engage. Brand voices can be what speaks for a brand’s mission, values, and personality. A strong brand voice can solidify a brand name into the cultural lexicon. Conversely, a weak brand voice can lead a brand to wither and die before it even gets a chance to compete in the marketplace.
Brands such as Harley Davidson, Apple, and Starbucks have such strong brand voices that devotees of those brands are nearly instantly recognizable. They have a lexicon, a look, and a vibe that defines them as a brand. This is exactly the kind of instant recognition and connection businesses want to make with their target markets, and why developing a strong brand voice is so important.
Finding one’s brand tone of voice can be daunting, especially if you are a new business just starting to figure out who you are and who your market may be. Landing on a solid brand voice needn’t be difficult, however.
Here are some tips to nail your brand voice and drive a highly engaged market.
Who is Your Target Audience?
Identifying one’s target market is one of the most important aspects on the road to establishing your brand voice. Your target audience is the people who will be most likely to connect with your product or service, as their pain points are what you are solving.
Figuring out who these people are is how you start to build brand voices. What do they wear? What kind of slang do they use? What music do they listen to or what types of TV do they watch?
One great example of a brand tapping into the young, cool audience that was their target is Wendy’s. For the past few years, Wendy’s has utilized Twitter (now X) to sarcastically taunt their competition, post irreverent and hilarious observations on pop culture happenings, and even savagely roast other brands. Their target audience of Millenial and Gen Z customers connected with this voice and approach, and they’ve seen market growth as a result.
Understand Who You Are
Just as integral to growth as knowing your audience is knowing yourself as a brand. Who are you as a business, and what is your “Why?” What was the reason you developed your product or started your service?
A brand needs to know who they are before it can develop a brand voice — otherwise, it runs the risk of coming off as confused. Brands with a very green, sustainable ethos and mission, for example, wouldn’t want brand messaging and voice that gives off a vibe of a wasteful, non-Earth-friendly approach.
New businesses may fear that being too specific with their brand voices right away may alienate potential customers. However, they are likely to find that as they build their business, targeting their brand voice will bring customers to their doorstep, making them more likely to heavily engage with the brand and purchase the product or service.
Know Your Employees
Employees are the messengers of a brand’s voice, which will be ever-present as your target audience communicates and interacts with your employees. Your brand’s tone of voice needs to resonate with your employees as much as it resonates with your target audience.
Consumers learn what to expect from companies with a strong brand voice, as their service, messaging, and employees are often very similar across locations. Examples of brands with a strong brand voice via their employees include Apple Store Geniuses and Starbucks Baristas.
Analyze Past Content
The best way to establish brand content is to analyze your past content, which can help you identify any consistencies in past content that will help you see what tone of voice stands out. It can be easy to have an established tone of voice without even realizing it.
Analyze past blog posts, social media content, and website postings to see if anything stands out or shows heavier engagement with the target audience. The brand voice that emerges through past content is likely the most authentic voice — and will continue to best resonate with your target market.
A strong brand voice helps businesses forge a strong connection to an audience and get their brand mission and message out into the world. Positive engagement, happier customers, and overall success can follow the establishment of a strong brand tone of voice. A well-defined voice can help businesses compete in a crowded business landscape and get noticed.
Amanda Reseburg is a writer at Otter PR.