Beyond PR

Jul 21, 2016

How to Find Your Brand Voice for Better Customer Experiences

how to find brand voice

Marketing that connects audiences and converts them into customers demands a holistic approach. It’s no longer about a single campaign, blog post, press release, or advertisement.

As creators, promoters, and revenue drivers, we’re called on to work together and build an ongoing experience for our brand. And it’s not just our marketing and communications teams that are called on to do this.

“Marketing can’t function without IT, customer service issues are broadcast in social media and internal memos about product launches or recalls are shared within nanoseconds to media outlets,” reads our latest white paper How Buyer 2.0 Affects Communication & Demand Generation Strategies. “Increasingly, a company’s sales team also looks to marketing for nurtured, high-quality leads, not just brand awareness.”

The content and customer experience is one that’s owned by everyone. It’s your entire organization’s responsibility to deliver an experience that’s not only exceptional, but also consistent.

And there’s the rub.

Your customers are interacting with multiple people from across your organization. And as individuals, these people have individual voices. Because of this, inconsistency is an easy trap to fall into.

You don’t want to quash the unique perspective and personality each coworker brings to the customer experience – your customers expect to interact with people, not robots.

However, every employee is also a representative of your brand. Establishing your brand’s voice – and weaving it into how everyone communicates – will help you strike a balance between brand consistency and employee individuality.

Just like the individuals who make up your company, your brand voice is the sum of many different elements. Understanding these elements will help you find a brand voice that’s uniquely you.

Your Brand’s Role in Its Industry

When you look at your overall industry and your company’s place in it, are you a pioneer, market leader, innovator, newcomer?

Whatever your answer, it’s important to recognize the qualities that align with it.

If you’re more established in your industry or the market leader, you may hold more authority than other brands and fill the role of educator.

In contrast, if you’re the new brand on the block, you may fill the role of innovator, improving on what has come before with a cutting-edge perspective.

Of course, many brands find success by ‘playing against type’ and leveraging a continued track record of innovation or establishing themselves as a credible authority on an up-and-coming trend.

Identifying as an educator, entertainer, innovator, connector, etc. will be pivotal in discerning the other elements that feed your voice.


Your Brand’s Values

When a company is founded, it is built around a set of values. These values evolve over time and help shape your company’s culture.

Values are not always lived by their companies, though. And that can be a wasted opportunity. Values that are ingrained in your internal and external interactions can rally employees and customers alike into brand advocates.

Does your company value collaboration? Competition? Creativity? Urgency? Confronting status quo? Giving back? Openness?

If you’re not sure what your brand’s values are, you’re not alone. For many organizations, this may be the element of brand voice that’s the most difficult to nail down.

To help with the struggle, this two-part series by Kinesis’ Wendy Maynard examines 15 reasons a company’s core values may not be working and how to develop Living, Breathing Values.

Your Brand’s Vocabulary

Each industry carries with it a particular language. Some industries – especially those in the B2B sector – tend towards a vocabulary that is loaded with technical jargon. And that is ok, to a certain extent.

While it’s helpful to speak in the language of your industry, don’t overdo it with the jargon because you’re still communicating with people who speak plainly in everyday conversation.

If you’re a B2C company or an organization that serves the general public, you definitely should keep your language simple. Using humor or a bit of quirkiness in your communications may also be more acceptable.

The language choices your brand makes aren’t just dependent on your industry. The age of your audience, where they are located, and how intimate your relationship is with them can all affect language complexity, cultural references, the use of specific idioms, and more.

Your Brand’s Tone

Tone is a reflection of the writer’s attitude towards the subject matter and/or the reader.

Confidence, civility and sincerity are core tones that brands strive for. Beyond those three, the tone(s) you take can set you apart from others in your field.

Direct, humble, enthusiastic, grateful, bold, patient, serious – any of these could be tones you use.

There are also tones that most brands will want to avoid for obvious reasons – like preachy, sarcastic and condescending. There may be a rare exception to this, but it’s a choice that carries risk.

Others’ Perception of You

When defining your brand voice, you must look through multiple lenses. You can’t depend solely on your own perspective of your brand. Who your brand is now and who you aspire to be tomorrow are both important; however, your audience’s perspective must also be taken into account.

Today’s audiences are looking to communicate with people, not brands. Even if your brand leans towards formality, you’ll need to incorporate a friendly tone and more conversational language into some channels – especially social media.

Buyer 2.0 has higher expectations than any customer who has come before, requiring brands to drastically adapt their communications style to new buyer behaviors.

Identifying the different elements that make up your brand voice and rolling it out across your company is just the first step.

Download How Buyer 2.0 Affects Communication & Demand Generation Strategies for more tips that’ll help you execute a truly buyer-centric experience.

Author Amanda Hicken is PR Newswire’s senior manager of strategic content and managing editor of Beyond PR. Follow her on Twitter @ADHicken for tweets about marketing, the media, Cleveland and comic books.

1 Comments on Blog Post Title

­ Peter 10:02 EDT on Jul 28, 2016

That was one fine article there :)

People often forget that marketing and product quality aren’t the only channels that affect consumer’s opinion about your business.

With social media having such a huge impact on all the spheres of our life, a few incidents in the customer support or any other department that communicates directly with the client can potentially have a big negative
impact on the firm’s reputation.

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