Digital marketing isn’t just about who can create the most beautiful ad or who has the best-looking website—it’s about building a consistent brand and communicating with your target audience on a human level.
Finding a brand’s voice.See our work
Kashif Naqshbandi, Chief Marketing Officer at Frank Recruitment Group, shares his tips and advice about creating a successful brand.
We recently launched our ninth brand — Jefferson Frank — and that’s had me thinking about brand voice more than usual. If you’re talking about building a successful brand, a big part of that involves crafting the right tone of voice to reach your audience.
What’s a brand voice and why is it important?
‘Brand voice’ refers to the unique way your company presents itself to the world in writing; it’s your brand personified. Establishing a clear, unique brand voice is essential if you want to create a strong overall brand identity that sets you apart from the competition and effectively communicates your message to the right audience. No matter the platform or customer touchpoint, your brand voice should be familiar, consistent and appealing to your target audience.
Build customer personas.
Before you start using your voice, you need to know who you’re talking to and what they’re looking for in a brand. This is where those all-important customer personas come in. Give your personas names, faces, and personalities; think of the product or service you’re offering and ask a series of questions until you’ve got a solid idea of what your typical customer looks like across three key areas.
- Start with demographics; how old is your ideal customer? Where do they live, how much do they earn, and how big is the household?
- Once that’s nailed down, think about their expectations. What do they expect of your tone of voice, brand identity, product and customer service? If you don’t know what their expectations are, you won’t be able to meet them.
- Finally, think about their goals and interests. What do they want to achieve, and how does that relate to your product or service?
Stand out from the crowd.
How do you create a unique brand voice? There are three critical steps to cover here. First, think of three words to describe your brand’s personality. Do these words fit the demographic you’re targeting? If the answer is no, then that means you need to revisit your customer personas.
Once you’re happy with your three words, it’s time to take a closer look at what the competition is doing—identify their tone of voice, and make sure you sound nothing like it. When you mimic another brand’s voice, you’re giving your audience the impression that there’s no difference in what you’re offering.
Last but not least, you need to listen to and engage with your audience using your brand voice. Every post and comment is an opportunity to use and add to your voice; use that voice to be part of an ongoing conversation with the community you build around your brand.
Your tone of voice should set you apart from the competition. It needs to be distinctive and recognisable enough to create a sense of familiarity between your target audience and your brand. If your audience recognises your brand and its voice, that builds trust. The key to maintaining that consistency across all your channels lies in creating a style guide that can be accessed by anyone in your organisation.
Revisit and revise.
Once you’ve done all the hard work, found your brand’s tone of voice, and fleshed out the details in a comprehensive style guide, you’re good to go. But that’s not the end of the road when it comes to your brand voice; to make sure you’re always speaking the same language as your audience, it’s important to review what works and what doesn’t, making revisions and updating your tone of voice as you go along.
Stuck in the lift with Alex Calton
Alex Calton is the Head of Client Services at Fuel Integrated. We asked her to share a few things about herself and life at Fuel.