You’ve been there. You played back an interview or meeting you were in. Or you spoke into a microphone and heard your own voice resonate with more detail than you knew existed. Or someone played for you a voice message that you’d left them.
So, how do you like the sound of your own voice?
Most of us actually don’t. Listening to it can be unpleasant. But when you’re charged with creating and maintaining the persona of your organization, it’s vitally important to do exactly that—listen to your own brand’s voice.
People overwhelmingly want to buy from a brand they trust. And you need to hear your brand’s voice the way they do, to ensure you sound deserving of that trust. Every potential customer—whether a C-suite executive purchasing $5 million medical machines, or a teen picking out eye shadow—is influenced by the way your brand speaks to them.
Here are three basic “shoulds” when it comes to your own brand voice:
IT SHOULD BE KNOWN TO YOU
Companies can be forgiven for growing their business without giving due thought to their brand voice. The power of an innovative product, uniquely valuable services, or a talented team can carry a company to success.
Branding, including building and adopting a brand voice, is what carries your company further. It’s how you sustain growth and build an image of consistency and, thus, trust.
Has your marketing team performed a brand voice audit? Basically, that’s a review of content across all channels that can uncover your voice and tone, and how consistent they are across your communications.
Whether your company has taken great pains to adopt a brand voice, or whether it hasn’t given voice much thought at all, this is a worthwhile exercise. That’s doubly true for companies that are looking to scale and create more process-driven marketing.
IT SHOULD BE AUTHENTIC
Only a company’s leaders should dictate its brand’s voice. While marketers are the rightful stewards, committing to a brand voice comes first from the company’s mission and core values.
Trust issues rightfully arise when the leaders of a company aren’t willing to own the way their company communicates. A brand can have a voice and tone different than what comes out of the mouths of its executives (it’d frankly be worrying if Procter & Gamble execs started talking like their Old Spice pitchmen)—but commitment to the voice is what’s key. If a voice projects compassion, it should be because compassion is taken seriously as a core value of the company.
In reflecting upon your company’s brand voice, you should ask, “Does this sound like us, in pursuit of our mission?”
IT SHOULD BE CODIFIED
If your company doesn’t have brand voice detailed in its brand style guide… then it really doesn’t have a brand voice. A voice is not a voice at all if it can sound different each time someone hears it.
Codifying a voice is more subjective than choosing your logo’s hex color. But to pin it down, you can detail some specific elements of the brand voice:
- First person vs. third person
- Formal vs. informal
- Emotional vs. informative undertones
- Brevity vs. information sharing
- Use or repetition of designated key words Grammatical integrity
If your style guide details your company’s preferences in these areas, your marketers are that much more equipped to understand and promulgate your brand voice in any medium.
Lastly, it’s important in any aspect of branding to ensure your entire marketing team, and possibly even your sales team, are on the same page. That means not only sharing this voice by using it in internal communications, but also some level of instruction on what the company’s personality truly is, and how you want it to sound—to everyone’s ears.