Today we are going to take a deep-dive, head-first plunge into the party world of Brand Voice. Yes, you read that right. For today, I’m positioning myself as the “hostess with mostess” and sharing my innate understanding of how to find your “voice” via the magical scenario of a late-night party. It is here where your brand has arrived to mingle and make merry, but in what way are they showing up?
You may be wondering, how I cam up with such a zany way of positioning an article on brand voice. Wonder no more.
Recently two really big things happened:
- I had the absolute joy of taking part in Meg Casebolt’s SEO Action Heroes Challenge and boy was THAT an eye-opener! During one of the SEO exercises, I had to search “brand voice” and realized there is a WORLD of people googling “what is brand voice” and NOT a lot of clear-cut answers out there in the inter-webbed universe. Which led me to…
- I started googling as if I was someone looking for the eternally simple answer to that pesky little question. I stumbled on many posts but this is the one that I felt came close to capturing how I view it. Maybe it’s just because I like the dinner party reference, or maybe it’s because it plays on my storyteller weakness, but it truly resonated with me. From there inspiration struck and decided the time had (has) come to dive in.
From this point forward, I’m going to riff off this party reference because I really think it is a sublime visual. Plus, who doesn’t love a good party? And I think it’s best I sort this out a bit further before we all end up on our 3rd dirty martini and fully clothed doing the backstroke in the Johnsons’ in-ground pool at 2am.
- When we talk about your brand and “brand voice” in terms of how it is showing up at this infamous party, we are talking about the way in which your business communicates via its digital platforms (i.e. website content, social media posts, blog posts, email content, etc). This kick-ass “party” represents all the platforms you currently use to communicate your brand and its services.
- When we talk about the other “people” at the party, we are talking about your audience, potential clients, existing clients, like-minded folks offering similar services, you name it. All the people on the other end of your platforms receiving your content in one way, shape or another.
So now, here we are at the “party”. You follow? (P.S. Janine brought her famous German chocolate cake but she messed up the recipe. You didn’t hear it from me.)
Ok, back to business. I want you to think about these questions:
How does your brand “talk” to the people at the party, how does it mingle?
- Does it say one thing one way to one person, but then another way to another person (i.e. lack of inconsistent voice).
- Does it drink too much and slur (content isn’t proofed/is it rushed/has errors).
- Does it try too hard to be liked (using lots of “buzz” words versus uniquely you language)
- Does it echo the other voices in the room (using the same type of template language and content everyone else in that service/support industry is using)?
- Does your brand know how to change its tone based on the situation and group at the party (speaking to existing clients can have a different tone than the tone it may take with clients that are being wooed to come aboard)?
Think about your brand in terms of a person. An actual being. (The visualization can be very powerful, so let’s go with it!)
- If your brand walked in the room — what would they be wearing?
- Young and sassy, maybe older and wise?
- Rock n’ roller with a love for crazy hair color, or maybe a nature loving mom who embraced her gray?
Consider your brand’s overall personality. For example…
- Would they be introverted or extroverted? (do you struggle to find enough words, or are you too verbose?)
- Would they be loud and boisterous or soft spoken and calm? (is your brand voice over the top or understated and flying under the radar?)
- Are they drawn to certain types or love to mingle with all types of people? (client base defined or broad?)
And yes, my brand-blasted friends, all these things DO MATTER. This type of visualization work and hypothetical questioning is key because this is how we establish the voice of your business. It is how we secure the bond between you and your brand’s voice.
In the end, when your brand enters the proverbial “party” and leaves the proverbial “party”, it is its VOICE that must be consistent, unique, and unlike anyone else’s. If your business is to be anything short of memorable than you have to be brave enough to do the work to uncover your brand’s inner “party goer”. Your brand’s voice.
And in the end, YOUR values, beliefs, who you are and your vision are the foundation for your brand’s voice.
So the secret? YOU are the party goer.
Stay tuned for Part II when next week I share how I built my own brand voice and share tools you can use to strengthen yours. The time has come to unleash a uniquely you brand voice that will stand up and stand out at any and every party in the neighborhood (but don’t tell the Johnsons).
Now where’s my martini?