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7 Tips for Building a Consistent Brand Voice

7 Tips for Building a Consistent Brand Voice

If you are a business owner, you are probably familiar with the idea of brand voice. Your brand voice is how your brand sounds and feels each time you communicate with your audience, across all platforms. Alongside your visual design, brand voice is what brings your business to life for everyone who interacts with it.

Consistency is what your brand voice needs to be across all platforms. When your brand interacts with your audience, it must always deliver the same experience. Whether it’s on your website, social media, video, email, audio, or other branded materials, a consistent brand voice is an absolute must for your brand strategy.

So how do you make sure your brand voice is consistent? First, let’s jump into what brand voice is. Then, we’ll show you how to determine whether yours is consistent across all platforms.

What is Brand Voice?

A brand voice is the embodiment of your business’s mission, vision, and values. If you’re a personal brand, those attributes will reflect who you are as an individual. A larger company or corporation, on the other hand, might have created a persona for their business and then assigned values to that.

Whether your business’s values are grounded in a person or a persona, they will naturally begin to take on a specific tone, voice, and feel. In a sense, brand voice is the personality of your brand and all that entails. It’s the overarching impression you want to leave on your audience at every touchpoint in the buyer’s journey.

Think about brands that have stood out to you over the years. When you come in contact with their marketing campaigns or buy their products, how do you feel? Is the brand entertaining or heartwarming? Does it tug your heartstrings and inspire you to action? Does it make you feel special or luxurious?

Why Your Brand Voice Matters in Marketing

Why does your voice matter to you? For one thing, helps you build and maintain trust with your target audience. Your audience comes to learn your brand like a friend or a trusted expert. They come to expect you to deliver a specific type and tone of communication within your marketing.

Think of the voice of your brand as a character. (You don’t necessarily have to have a character mascot, but many brands do.) If you break character, you’ll confuse your audience and risk breaking their trust. As a result, some members of your audience might walk away. You want to make sure your voice is consistent and that your people know what you’re about, at all times.

Tips for Keeping Your Brand Voice Consistent

Wondering how to build a consistent, authentic brand voice? Here are some tips to get you going.

1. Get Clear on Your Mission, Vision, and Values

As a brand, do you really know who you are? To get started building your brand voice, get clear on your mission, vision, and values. Why are you here? What’s important to your brand? What are you trying to accomplish?

2. Ask Yourself What Your Brand is Not

Knowing what your brand is not is just as important as knowing what it is. This will help you better define your voice. Make a list of all the attributes that you do not want to be associated with your brand, and keep them nearby as you develop your voice.

3. Know Who You’re Talking To

Do you know your target audience? Knowing who your brand is targeting is an important step toward developing your brand’s voice. If you haven’t already identified your target customer, now is the time.

4. Decide How You Want Your Audience to Feel When They Interact with Your Brand

How do you want your audience to feel about your brand? Do you want to entertain them? Inspire them to consider uncomfortable truths? Warm their hearts? Make them feel nostalgic? See your brand as a trusted expert? Once you’ve answered that question, choose a handful of adjectives to describe your brand.

5. Decide on Your Brand’s Tone of Voice

Once you’ve decided what your voice is, it’s time to focus on the tone of your brand. Use your answers from #3 to determine your tone. For example, if you want to make your audience laugh, your tone might be witty, engaging, and welcoming. Or, if you want to raise awareness of a specific issue, your tone might be thoughtful, inspiring, and passionate.

6. Create a Brand Style Guide

A brand style guide contains rules for your copywriting, graphics, colors, fonts, images, and all your business’s branding details. This guide serves as a framework for you and your team to follow when developing content.

7. Audit Your Marketing Platforms and Materials

Do a sweep of your marketing platforms and materials to check for consistency in your voice. If you’re well-acquainted with what your voice should be, you’ll be able to weed out inconsistencies easily. Then, make adjustments to those parts of your brand to bring them in line with the rest.

Examples of Companies with Memorable, Consistent Brand Voices

A brand voice can be used in pop culture to create feelings of warmth and nostalgia for those who know and love it. Here are a few standout brands with distinct, consistent voices:

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video’s brand voice across social media feels like trading memes with your best friends. Its lively, fun fangirling is contagious, wickedly funny, and universally appealing. The brand conveys a consistent tone while featuring movies and TV shows both new and nostalgic.

Apple

Apple’s brand voice is sleek, sophisticated, and high-tech. Its voice extends past its copy and marketing content, directly into its products. Every detail and material used communicates the high quality the company is known for. While its products stand on their own as industry leaders in quality and innovation, Apple’s voice takes its campaigns to the next level.

Geico

Insurance is boring, but Geico is a master of creating silly commercials that draw public awareness to its insurance products. From its familiar little Gecko to characters like Maxwell the Pig and Caleb the Camel (“Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike!”), Geico has managed to become part of the public psyche. The company consistently delivers entertaining and amusing content across all platforms. (For the record, my favorite Geico commercial is this one featuring basketball star Dikembe Mutombo.)

Old Spice

Old Spice made waves and tickled funny bones in 2010 with its first Old Spice Guy Super Bowl commercial. Since then, they’ve continued creating humorous marketing campaigns infused with irreverent, masculine humor. For example, one of their recent campaigns features their new “PITFLUENCER”, a fictional Instagram influencer that is a literal armpit (and, um, funny bone–har, har). The PITFLUENCER’s photos feature him dunking a basketball, lounging at a red carpet event, and doing other important and manly things that men definitely want to do, and will probably do better if they use Old Spice (tongue-in-cheek alert!).

Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. has long been recognized for its signature blue packaging and beautiful, classic jewelry. Founded in 1837, this iconic brand is truly timeless. They’ve carried their distinctive brand voice into the 21st century with a modern flair and a conscious spin: sustainably-sourced diamonds. Customers who invest in Tiffany & Co. jewelry know they are not only buying from a trusted brand but from an industry leader that cares about how its diamonds are obtained.

Wendy’s

Snarky, witty, and saltier than its fries, Wendy’s brand voice is a force to be reckoned with. The company’s Twitter account is a great place to see the fast-food chain’s brand voice in action. Not only is Wendy’s highly engaged with its followers, it regularly–and hilariously–roasts other fast-food brands.

Wrapping Up

The consistency of your brand voice can make or break your brand. Much like developing a character, your voice requires careful development. Successfully keeping your brand in character takes careful attention to detail, but it pays dividends for your business.

Copywriting for Social Media: 7 Tips to Boost Engagement

Copywriting for Social Media: 7 Tips to Boost Engagement

Copywriting for social media is an important part of your digital marketing strategy. Beyond product visuals, video, graphic design, and brand aesthetics, copy is what compels your followers to action. Whether you’re building your email list, directing your followers to your website, boosting engagement, or selling a product or service, your copywriting is what will move users along their customer journey.

Wondering how to better leverage your copywriting for social media? Here are some tips to get you going.

1. Lead With The Main Idea…Or A Compelling Teaser.

When you consider copywriting for social media, the name of the game is getting your main idea in front of your followers. They’re busy scrolling, so you’ll need to snag their attention. In some cases, a strong and compelling teaser does the trick–but you’ll often need to start out with the lede in front.

Adjust your copy according to the platform and format where you’ll be posting it. Some platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, allow for fairly long captions. Others, like Twitter, demand shorter copy. (If you’re wondering about character count limits on each social media platform, here’s a guide.)

Take a look at how your posts will be structured, which lines of copy your readers will see first, and how much space you have to squeeze in your main idea before a follower has to click into the post. Consider what your audience will see first: a standard line or two of text before the cutoff? An ad headline?

Anticipating your post’s structure will help you construct the most compelling copy for your audience. If appropriate, you might decide to place your featured copy on an image or in a video, and use your caption to call attention to and support it.

Here’s a great example from Apple’s Twitter account. The caption leads with the main idea, and the attached link builds on the idea that working on a Mac machine is good for business teams of all sizes.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions.

Asking questions in your copywriting for social media is a great way to get your followers
engaged with your posts. Ask them questions they’ll get excited about answering. People like to share about their experiences and the things they love, so consider incorporating those questions as they relate to your brand.

Take a look at how Iron and Ink Designs led with a question in the following post. “Bookish candles” are popular in the Bookstagram community, so it’s a question that’s sure to get some good engagement.

You can ask your followers what they want to know about you and your brand. Be sure to respond to their answers when possible. If you have a team, delegate engagement to a team member to ensure you have eyes on the comments section.

3. Evoke Emotion.

Depending on your brand and your audience, you’ll want to evoke specific emotions through your copywriting for social media. The emotions you want to stir often depend on the kind of experience you want your followers to have when they encounter your brand. Do you aim to entertain, inspire, or deeply affect your audience?

Consider the desired outcome before you write your copy. That’s what Mixtus Media did in the following Instagram post.

The agency specializes in book marketing for authors, and they shared this inspirational (curated) post for writers who are working to find an agent or publishing deal, but find themselves struggling. Also note that they made sure the main idea would show up for readers before the line break.

4. Incorporate Hashtags.

On certain social media platforms, hashtags help get more eyes on your content. In particular, Instagram and Twitter utilize hashtags for greater reach. Adjust your hashtag strategy depending on which platform you’re using. For example, Instagram allows users to incorporate up to 30 hashtags per post. Twitter’s hashtags are useful for following along with trending topics and conversations.

Do some preliminary hashtag research before you dive in to ensure you’re landing on hashtags that will actually help boost your post reach. Consider creating unique branded hashtags for your business, but research those first to make sure no one else is using them. Custom hashtags that are specific to product launches or seasonal marketing can help get your social media content in front of more people.

5. Post A Mix of Sales Copy, Curated Content, And Engaging Content.

Copywriting for social media should serve a variety of purposes. For example, you don’t want to post the same types of content, in the same rhythm, all the time. Don’t be afraid to shake things up by sharing engaging content, curated content (that includes your insights!), and a bit of sales copy, too.

If you sell products or services, some posts should be straightforward sales posts that direct your followers to your offer. Other posts should be your own content, or curated content, that’s meant to educate or engage your target audience. Include clear calls to action (CTA) on every post, no matter what the end goal is–whether you want the user to click through to an article or a product page.

Marketing gurus Andrew and Pete do an excellent job of engaging their audience through entertaining, energetic content and copy. Check out this post directing their followers to their latest podcast episode:

The guys grab your attention from the beginning, with a hooky, suspenseful intro that transitions into empathy (“We feel your pain!”), then showcases the benefits of their upcoming episode. Finally, they share the exact results you can expect, along with a clear CTA.

6. Be Conversational.

For the most part, social media copywriting should not be too formal. The primary purpose of social media is to connect with other humans in a digital environment. Remember, you’re having a conversation, so shoot for copywriting that comes across as friendly, relatable, and informative.

There is a post from a business and leadership consultant on Facebook. She leads with a hard-hitting, emotional topic that everyone can relate to: shame. Then, she builds on ways her audience can overcome it, creating a safe space for her followers to share their experiences. Again, here’s a great example of a post that leads with the main idea before building on it.

Keep your brand voice in mind as you build a relationship with your audience. Your exact tone can range from casual and pithy to a bit more businesslike, depending on your brand. The main idea is to remain open and approachable, because your ultimate goal here is to connect with your followers and build trust.

7. Maintain A Consistent Voice Cross-Platform.

Building a strong online presence is dependent on keeping your brand voice consistent. A consistent brand experience extends beyond graphics and visuals, all the way through to your copywriting for social media.

I like to think of brand voice copywriting as “staying in character,” much like an actress needs to maintain an unbroken and consistent performance as whoever she’s portraying. If you’re struggling to nail that brand voice, take a few minutes to get reacquainted with your established voice and the “character” of your brand. Audit your platforms from time to time to ensure you’re providing that consistent delivery.