what does brand voice mean?
Trying to find a roadmap for branding yourself as an entrepreneur is a convoluted mess (ask me about my personal vendetta against the branding industry!), so it’s not surprising that the most confusing part of brand strategy is brand voice. What does it actually mean?
What the hell do they mean by “voice?” Why does it matter to a business? How do you figure out what yours is? How do you decide how to use it? And when? What if you don’t have a personal brand? Let’s break it all down!
In spoken language, the actual words we use aren’t necessarily what dictates our intended meaning. It’s the inflection, tone, volume, and body language we use to deliver the words.
And that’s what brand voice is all about.
Words can be friendly. Sarcastic. Inspiring. Rude. Mocking. Authoritative. Joyful. And the same words, depending on tone, can mean COMPLETELY different things. (Which is why our crush responding with a simple “k” on AOL or MSN Messenger was so infuriating for us millennials. ARE YOU MAD AT ME? ARE YOU JUST BUSY? ARE YOU TRYING TO BE COY SO THAT I’LL FALL EVEN MORE IN LOVE WITH YOU BECAUSE IT’S WORKING?!)
So it might be simpler to think about it as your brand tone of voice. How you’re delivering your words. And you can use tone when you’re speaking, of course, but also when you’re writing!
We have a handful of tools at our disposal to infer meaning in written language – punctuation, capitalization, text styles like bold and italic, and yes, even emojis. 🍆
Communication is one of the best (yet most underrated) ways to build your brand. So voice is a crucial part of your overall brand strategy because it helps keep you consistent when you communicate with your audience.
Consistency leads to recognition, recognition leads to community, community leads to trust, and trust leads to sales. Are you picking up what I’m throwing down?
Brand voice also enhances your brand personality, which is crucial because it allows your customers to connect with you on a person-to-person level instead of a person-to-business level (yes, even if you don’t have a personal brand!).
Honestly, no one wants to connect with a business. Businesses are boring and stale and dimly lit with flickering fluorescent lights. But people? People are interesting and mysterious and fascinating. People incite curiosity.
Voice is one of the last components we develop during Brand Strategy Sessions because the rest of your brand strategy is what dictates your brand voice.
So if you’re ready to find and develop yours? First you have to know WHAT you want to communicate, WHO you’re talking to, THE WAY you want them to feel, and WHY it matters – only then can you decide HOW it should be communicated.