Developing the Foundation of Your Brand’s Personality
The digital space is loud. As consumers, we’re constantly bombarded by brands trying to be the absolute loudest voice in the crowd in hopes we notice them and give them our money. Smart marketers know being the loudest voice isn’t always possible due to budget restrictions, nor is it necessarily the best strategy. Instead, we can work to establish genuine, long-lasting connections with our target consumers. We can teach our audiences to trust us because we understand them. In order to do this, every brand needs to establish a unique voice that is consistent at every touchpoint.
Start With Research
Determining a brand’s target audience is a starting point for most marketing strategies. In terms of brand voice, this means diving much deeper than gender, age range, basic interests, and household income. Try to understand your ideal consumers as actual humans! Yes, you can use basic data to learn more about what’s happening in the lives of your target demographic and begin to determine what types of products or services they might be interested in. What’s equally important to consider is how to talk to this audience so they view you as a trusted friend rather than a money-hungry troll.
There’s an easy way to get to know your audience on a more personal level that doesn’t require expensive data reports or tools. These consumers are literally sharing this information with the world! Take a look at your followers (or your competitors’ followers) on social media platforms. Take note of how this demographic talks to one another. Look at the kinds of content are they posting and the conversations they’re having with friends and family in the comments. These little details reveal more about your target consumer’s real life, or at the very least, the life they aspire to live.
Write like the kind of person a member of your target audience wants to develop a relationship with.
Make It Original
Once you understand your target audience on a deeper level, you can begin developing your brand voice. Remember, your audience wants to interact with humans, not robots. Ask yourself how you can humanize your brand in a way that feels authentic. Write like the kind of person a member of your target audience wants to develop a relationship with. Consider the kinds of content your audience longs for and how can you deliver it in a way that doesn’t make them cringe. This is going to look different for every brand. Sprout Social conducted a survey that revealed the majority of participants preferred brands that portray themselves as honest, helpful and friendly. The same consumers said they were less drawn to brands that leaned trendy, politically correct, or snarky, despite Wendy’s well-known success with turning the snark all the way up. This shows the importance of capitalizing on the unique qualities of your brand’s audience and not simply emulating your competition’s voice.
Write It Down
Document your brand voice guidelines and be open to tweaking them as necessary.
Things to consider:
- Brand Values: What the brand stands for and reasons those ideals should be important to consumers
- Brand Persona: If your brand was a person, who would that person be? List their age, interests, catchphrases, favorite products, etc…
- Tone of Voice: Your brand’s “verbal personality”. Some ideas: informational, snarky, confident, quirky, funny, professional, bubbly, etc…
- Word Bank: List some words or phrases your brand will use often and words it will never use.
In a digital landscape that aims to connect with consumers in every area of their lives, a consistent and original brand voice is crucial. It sets the stage for a standout digital presence.