Brand Voice: Who Is She And How Do You Find Her?
Let’s play a game. I’ll intro this blog post in different brand voices and you prepare to be engaged. Ready? Ok.
Good Morning ya’ll! I have a story for you. It’s about how I got my writing voice. You’ve just got to be authentic and stay true to the values your brand was raised with :-)
Hi fellow marketers. The purpose of this essay is to educate you on the importance of distinct messaging in a saturated digital landscape 🤓 You’ll learn how to develop a brand voice through extensive tests and iterations.
Hey babes, I know a lot of you have been slidin’ into my DMs asking how I got this sexy brand voice. Through consistency, babe. And some steamy strategy sessions.
Ok you get the idea. Whether you’re a 24-year-old blogger from Houston who looooves sunflowers, a textbook loaning business trying to convey your value prop in a cute and nerdy way, or a fragrance brand marketed to women to help them smell like their boyfriends — you should have a distinct way of communicating with your audience. A voice they can relate to and familiarize themselves with. One that’ll keep them coming back to your channel, IG page, blog, emails, etc. It’s a way to humanize your brand.
Your voice is the language, tone and personification of your brand. Let’s look at some real life examples:
1. Jonathan Van Ness
The star of Netflix’s Queer Eye sprinkles his brand voice with catch phrases (hunny, yass kween, can you believe?!, etc) humor, and excessive pronoun usage, A.K.A. she/her to describe himself and practically everything — tangible or not. He invents his own slang and it gives me life hunny!
2. Leandra Medine/Man Repeller
Leandra, the founder of Man Repeller set the tone for the fashion focused Publication. She now has a team of writers that adapt the signature voice and style it in their own way.
3. Frank Bod
Frank from Frank Body Scrubs is perhaps the most notorious brand voice of the beauty space. Frank is personified as this cheeky, flirtatious, feminist man that addresses his customers as babes, and just wants to get in the shower with you and scrub you all over.
And honorable mentions go to Morning Brew and Barkbox. Definitely check out the Brew using my referral code ;)
So how does one find said brand voice? Well, I first recommend sitting down to read this article; it’s one of my personal faves on the subject. Or really just writing in general. Sidebar: I do violate John’s rule of throwing around the C-word (content) but I do so sarcastically, so it’s totally excusable.
How you approach your brand voice will vary depending on your situation.
If it’s your personal brand voice, your copy won’t be tied up as tight in business objectives, so you’ll have more flexibility to play around. It’ll be derived from authenticity, so let it come naturally over time. Try to identify attributes of your personality you want to live in your writing. John Gorman literally draws inspiration from Kendrick freaking Lamar. Who are your literary influences? Notice I did not say, “which content creators do you want to copy” (the world has enough unoriginality). Who’s style do you resonate with? Identify this, read a lot of their stuff, and then let them subconsciously guide your work.
For a company’s brand voice, you’ll want to consider your target demo. Think about how differently Refinery29 would explain a 401k compared to Wall Street Journal. See a fun infographic here.
But, assuming that you’re a good marketer and already know your buyer personas like a crush you stalk on social media, knowing the right language to use should be somewhat instinctual.
You want your voice to be a direct reflection of your brand’s mission and values. Let’s take Man Repeller’s mission statement for example:
Man Repeller explores the expansive constellation of things women care about from a place of openness and humor, with the conviction that an interest in fashion doesn’t minimize one’s intellect.
Every one of these descriptors are evident in their writing. But I’ll highlight “with the conviction that an interest in fashion doesn’t minimize one’s intellect.” It’s that witty intellectualism applied to such topics as shoes and bags — items previously deemed trivial, that gives MP a unique point of view.
Pinpoint your own descriptors. Who do you want your voice to be? Is he/she quirky, funny, innovative, formal, sophisticated, playful, inspiring, etc. Where is he/she from? If 80% of your customers are in LA, you might want to be a Cali girl. Is she/he casual, professional or somewhere in-between? Does she/he inspire, inform, entertain, or some combination of the three?
It may help to host a group brainstorming session with a team of employees to get a variety of perspectives and see how others view your brand’s personality.
Let’s run through what we’ve learned so far:
- Personal brands have more room for creativity and authenticity, while professional brands require more strategic planning.
- The first step is knowing your target customers as well as a crush you stalk on social media. Understand their wants, needs, and pain points (your customers, not your crush). Get to know their love language. How do they want to be spoken to?
- Reference your company’s mission and values. The words you choose should exude these values and execute on this mission.
Once you define these things, you’ll want to trial out different voices and compare. Try writing on the same topic in different voices. Or captioning the same image in different voices. Exactly how I did with the intro.
Then share the final product company wide and make sure everyone’s on the same page. Outline the brand voice guidelines with any catch phrases, slang, and jargon you want to include/avoid, etc.
That’s it for my coverage of #BrandVoices! Follow along for more super engaging content. And hit those claps 👏🏼