Like every human being, brands are distinguished by the way they communicate and by the sound of their voice. Over years of association, consumers and customers alike are able to recognize brands, whether it is in audio, visual or written forms, the expectation is that there is no deviation from the personality and the voice of such brands.
What Is Brand Voice?
“Brand voice is the purposeful, consistent expression of a brand through words and prose styles that engage and motivate.
From the moment a brand develops its identity, personality and architecture, the brand voice is structured in line with how the brand wants to be known and what the brand stands for. As such, brand voice is crucial to establishing and reinforcing your brand identity. The brand personality is brought to life in the ensuing communication to consumers/customers. For example, a brand that positions itself as a fun and outgoing brand is not expected to be formal in its language and in the way it is depicted. A playful brand should sound playful in the real sense of it from its voice, colours, font types, the images used in its advertising and in the sound of the brand.
Why do brands need to have a voice?
It connects you to your target audience. Every brand has a core target to which they direct their communication and campaign efforts. As such, not every communication will be meant for everyone. What is important however, is that the core people to which your campaign is directed at fully gets it! Brand voice is the way your audience hears you – as such your language must be clear and unambiguous to them. William Shakespeare, once said – “Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice.” This quote can be interpreted to mean that – a brand should keep a close check on what other brands are saying but talk to its relevant target audience only.
- It ensures consistency and builds your brand. It reinforces what you stand for and solidifies your brand personality. With a consistent application of the brand voice, you strengthen the brand identity which is integral to building a sustainable brand. Whether your customers are engaging with you on radio, Television, social media or in the print media, the same recognizable voice needs to come across loud and clear. This is more important for global brands that exists in multiple countries, care needs to be taken to ensure there is no brand dilution from country to country, in the quest for local adaptation.
One consistent voice throughout all content helps build a strong brand. And ultimately, the imperative is to build brands that guarantees continued business existence.
- It enhances familiarity. A brand voice can distinguish a brand from its competitors, thereby creating a stand out for the brand. You want your users to be able to identify you even in the midst of the clutter that exists out there. It’s like an old childhood friend whose voice you can pick up anywhere!
- It builds trust for the brand. Hearing an aligned voice tone from a brand across various touch points gives a sense of reassurance to your customers. It passes on the message of transparency and honesty. An inconsistent tone on the other hand makes it difficult to place the brand and is somewhat misleading.
- It portrays authenticity: A voice that is built over time bestows on the brand an authentic status. It portrays the brand as being confident and sure of itself. Often times, you encounter brands that are not so sure where they want to play and how they want to be heard. In such cases, they just move with whatever their competitors are doing in the market place. Such brands lack confidence and can be described as fickle.
- Brand voice drives persuasion. A brand voice delivered consistently evokes emotions in the consumers or customers of such brands. It ultimately leads them to take an action by buying into the proposition of the brand. The brand’s call to action is more real to them and they are able to make repeat purchase due to such strong association.
It is important for a brand to have voice, in order to remain relevant and to survive in the competitive industry in which they operate. Whatever voice you have chosen for your brand, it is imperative to have documented guidelines to ensure that the integrity of the brand is preserved, especially when you have multiple people across various agencies creating contents for the brand. Irrespective of the number of content developers, it is important that a brand stays true to its values and personality in order for the target audience to continue to hear just one voice.