Let’s Talk About Brand Personality, Voice, and Tone

When was the last time you held hands with a brand?

Felicia C. Sullivan
Marketing Made Simple
15 min readFeb 18, 2019

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Credit: Irina_Strelnikova/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Compelling, relatable, and memorable stories are more than a strategic device or a marketing tactic—they’re about forming lasting bonds between people. We connect through shared experiences, and our stories reveal our uniqueness, values, and vulnerability. The best stories are ones you can visualize in the retelling; you feel as if you’re there, experiencing the events firsthand. You may not remember what you ate for dinner last night, but you’ll never forget the first book you read and loved. Storytellers can create worlds and characters that draw us in. We immerse, we get involved, and we develop a relationship with the characters and story as it unfolds.

Brands are no different in the power they have to create a conduit for their vision, mission, positioning, purpose, values, and beliefs. You can be a misanthrope firing shots in the dark or a little ray of light. You can be that carefully crafted persona who scores AdWeek accolades, applauding your clever clapbacks in corner offices. You can fly under the radar or be another bot on the assembly line. Pick your poison.

L: Hello Sunshine on Instagram. R: Hooters and Wendy’s on Twitter.

People buy from people they like, know, and trust based on a relationship cultivated over time. Prospects cleave to what’s familiar and recognizable, and they want to feel their bond is rooted in an emotional connection, shared values, and a mutual understanding—that their link surpasses a transaction. According to a research institute’s two-year study of 100,000 retail customers, “emotionally connected customers have a 306 percent higher lifetime value (LTV), stay with a brand for an average of 5.1 years vs. 3.4 years, and will recommend brands at a much higher rate (71 percent vs. 45 percent).” A Harvard Business Review study concluded that emotional engagement matters more than customer satisfaction and drives brand loyalty (PDF).

How do you bond with your customers? You figure out what they want in exchange for their attention, action, and advocacy.

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Felicia C. Sullivan
Marketing Made Simple

Marketing Exec/Author. I build brands & tell stories. Hire me: t.ly/bEnd7 My Substack: https://feliciacsullivan.substack.com/ Brand & Content eBooks: t.ly/ZP5v