Have you ever noticed how when you visit your favourite brand no matter how you interact with them it always sounds like them? What you are noticing my friend is their brand voice – today I am riffing on why you need one too!
Let’s start with the obvious question – why? As a marketing manager, I am always going to tell you that you need a brand voice, no matter the size of your business. But it’s valid to ask.
Quite simply a brand voice ensures everyone knows what they are going to get when they engage with you – whether that’s your website, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, emails or even a physical store.
But why? Again simple, having the one consistent brand voice does a lot of the work for you in establishing trust with your customers. I’ll give you an example, have you ever looked up Emma Stone on Instagram? I have, because I love her, and have been amazed by the number of fan pages in her honour. Some of those fan pages even use the word official in their username (cheeky). But it’s easy to weed the fake Emma’s out of the crowd – they don’t sound like her. The same is true for your business.
For entrepreneurs like myself who are their business, it’s easier, I sound like me and everything I write sounds like me. But I will let you in on a little secret, the version of me in my business is only part of the Alys you would know if we were mates (e.g. I am way more of a nerd, I’m a very competitive trivia player and can at times have a bit of a potty mouth). This in no way means my voice here is inauthentic – I do not pretend to be someone I am not. I do however want everyone to have a consistent experience of me when we interact, irrelevant of what is going on in life. The voice of alysholz.com is the voice you would get if we worked together (actually no, not entirely the girls in my last job knew about the trivia problem and I definitely swore at work but I won’t do that here because I don’t want Google knowing I swear).
For those who are one of a team or use services like mine, brand voice works slightly differently. For you, a brand voice has the added advantage that it doesn’t matter who of you writes the actual words. Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, co-founders of theSkimm talked about this on #Girlboss Radio (a brilliant podcast with Sophia Amoruso that you should definitely subscribe too) about the how and why they came up with theSkimm girl personality. The voice they came up with was a blend of the voice of the brand a person who would talk to their readers. Sign up for their daily news digest, it’s charming and informative, and you will see what I mean.
So how do you determine your brand voice?
Firstly, look at what your business stands for and who it serves. Your mission statement is a great place to start. My mission statement is “making marketing easy for female entrepreneurs“. Everything I create/do is headed in that direction – from blog posts to social posts to my newsletter to how I work with clients – everything is trying to make marketing easier for female entrepreneurs.
Secondly, what sort of feeling do you want customers to walk away with after interaction. Take my favourite skincare brand Go-To Skincare makes amazing skincare products – they look gorgeous in all their peach glory, they do amazing things with my skin and have similar beauty beliefs to me like not testing on animals, oh and they make me laugh. It is a joy to visit their site, to place an order and to receive that order. Basically I walk away feeling like I’ve been talking to my much funnier bestie with some really great beauty advice.
Finally, what is true for you. Super obvious example, I am based in Australia and so Aussisms end up in my copy. It is who I am and often I don’t even realise that what I am saying may need translating for those in the Northern Hemisphere. I could try to make myself sound like I am sitting in a cottage in the English countryside but that simply isn’t true. So part of my brand voice is my Australian-ness because that is true to who I am.
Brand voice is important but don’t get stuck. Take an afternoon, ideally away from your workspace, to mull over what your brand voice might be (if you want we can brainstorm it together).