Voice as the Next Tool

Digital PR
26.01.21

The old Chinese proverb says, “The tongue can paint what the eyes can’t see,” speaks volumes for what some experts are proclaiming as the next big tool for marketers – brand voice. Like the proverb, voice helps a brand stand out in a crowded field by giving it a distinct and unforgettable personality. Why should it Matter?

Competition, especially on digital platforms, is more competitive than ever. Visual content, logos, and reputation are still valuable, but getting the attention of today’s consumer has gotten more difficult because of all the advertising chatter and clutter. Having a distinct personality requires an equally distinctive voice.

A recent Sprout Social poll asked consumers why certain brands stood out among their competitors. 40% said it was the brand’s memorable content, while a third (33%) attributed it to the brand’s “distinct personality.” 32% added it was the brand’s storytelling. The brand’s voice plays a major role in all three.

Content is more than photos or videos. Today, it goes to how consumers perceive a brand and include meaningful words and graphics. In fact, one of the biggest reasons customers leave a brand is because of irrelevant content that doesn’t match the brand’s perceived style. 45% said so. Let’s get started!

What’s the voice of the brand today?

Conduct an audit of current marketing and communications. Is it consistent and, if so, how is the target audience reacting and commenting about it? Are there different writers who speak to the audience differently? What are the best performing posts, and what voice traits do they have in common?

Target Audience

If they’re young, does the language being used sound like them? Think about the audience and their personas and compile a list of common vocabulary and traits to apply. While tailoring the brand’s voice to its audience, ensure that it’s still consistent with the image and reputation being sought.

Stay in tune and, more importantly, in tone. Consistency is important but being aware of the right tone is critical, just as it is in any important conversation. Be sure that the tone matches the message and hopes for a reaction. As such, the tone would be expected to be exciting for a product launch while empathetic toward an unhappy customer.

Document Everything

This begins with a set of guidelines that clearly lay out the brand’s voice strategy, objectives, goals, and action steps and is distributed to everyone who submits and publishes on the brand’s different platforms. This also means sharing with others like customer service and sales who interact with customers. Having different examples, especially depicting personality traits and brand vocabulary, would be extremely valuable.

As in other marketing initiatives, be sure to regularly review how audiences perceive and respond to the brand’s voice. Surveys are always helpful, especially after a major campaign. Close monitoring and seeking feedback help fine-tune the voice. Also, keep in mind that taste and styles also change over time, and be prepared to adapt there as well.

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