Do you often find yourself dreading interacting with big, soulless corporations in your day-to-day life? Whether it be the stores we visit (either in person or online), the banks we use, the food we eat and even the hobbies we indulge in; feeling a lack of connection to a brand can have an audience looking for smaller alternatives that they connect with. By humanising a brand, audiences have more opportunities to connect with their audience and can make interacting with your company something they look forward to.
While humanising your brand can be done to nearly every touchpoint your business has with customers, we’ve decided to start with some tips on humanising your brand’s voice.
What is a Brand Voice?
While not as visible as a brand logo, colour scheme or designs, your brand’s voice is critical in helping customers understand the core values of your brand. A brand voice is what you say and is applied to any communication you make internally or externally (e.g., website copy, social media captions, emails, blogs, newsletters and direct communications with customers). This voice projects your brands’ personality to your target, helping you build a memorable, unique connection between your brand and them. A strong brand voice ensures you stand out from the crowd and your customers build a relationship stronger than purely commercial.
How do I know what my Brand’s Voice is?
At Ignite Search, we like to start intimately when defining a brand voice. Imagine your brand is in a room with a selection of your target audience. What personality traits would you have? How would people in the room describe you? Are you funny, kind, or serious? Are you reserved or outgoing? What topics would you love to chat about? What topics would you avoid?
Listing out all these characteristics is a great way of identifying what your current brand voice is, and understand how your target audience currently perceives your brand.
Mailchimp is a great example of brand voice because their style guide is publicly available. When they write any kind of copy for their brand, their voice must fit into this mould:
- We are plainspoken
- We are genuine
- We are translators
- Our humor is dry
If Mailchimp were a person, they’d be supportive, friendly, and funny.
How do I develop my Brand Voice?
Once you’ve got a baseline understanding of how your brand is currently being perceived, it’s important to understand what your target audience is looking for in a brand.
Your target audience may be passionate about social change, or may be only interested in the highest quality products or services, but you may not be voicing those things in your current branding. Sitting down and identifying key topics, language or ideas your audience like to hear will help guide how you can adapt your voice to maximise reach and connection. Focus on the emotional characteristics that resonate with your audience and see if those aspects already exist in your brand. If they don’t, can they be applied to your brand going forward?
How do I use my Brand Voice?
Use your brand voice to its fullest by showing your target audience how you differentiate yourselves from the competition. Your unique perspective and the values you stand for should be on full display for anyone who views your brand in the marketplace, and should entice them to communicate with you through shared beliefs.
Using Mailchimp as our example, their communication is clear, entertaining, and informal with a touch of humour, but they never force a joke. Mailchimp uses positive language when writing content, and they avoid using technical jargon at all costs.
Keeping all of your communication consistent with your brand voice ensures that your audience sees you as reliable, steady, and compatible. Ensure that everyone in your organisation knows how you want your communications to change, including any changes in your brand’s tone and personality that come along with your voice change.
We’ve only scratched the surface of how your brand voice can be used to better connect with your audience, but we hope we’ve given you some ideas on how you can start thinking about connecting with your audience.
At Ignite Search, we’re passionate about brands and helping them develop into their best selves. We offer Brand Development and Management services to help new and existing businesses understand how their audience perceive them and increase profitability.