There’s some confusion about branding. What it is and how to do it effectively. In my 10+ years of helping businesses brand themselves, I’ve noticed that the marketplace is rife with mixed messages around what branding entails. Oftentimes there’s a misconception that branding is solely about your marketing messages and advertisements. Those are aspects of branding. But overall, your brand is about so much more. As detailed in the Brandview Framework, there are five main elements of a strong brand: Vision, Value, Voice, Visuals, and Village. Today, we’re going to go explore how you can establish a unique brand voice.
First, what is a unique brand voice?
We can’t talk about establishing a unique voice without first understanding what makes a brand voice unique. So that’s where we’ll start. In our Brandview Framework, we explained that your brand voice is the brand personality enthused into all your branding communication. It is one of the main ways you set yourself apart from the competition. So, it’s important you find the voice that’s unique for your business.
Why you need to establish a unique brand voice:
- Distinguishes you in a crowded marketplace
Establishing a unique voice is one of the most effective ways to rise above the noise in the marketplace. Competition is fierce nowadays, especially on the internet. Consumers have choices. It takes a simple flick of the wrist to close a web page, empty a shopping cart, unsubscribe from an email, or cancel an order. And in most industries, consumers have thousands of options to turn to with just another quick flick of the wrist. All of this means you have to stand out from the crowd. And your voice is one of the main ways you can do just that.
When your voice is unique, it’s recognizable and distinct from others’. This is what you want. Your aim is so that when your ideal clients and customers stumble upon your website, ads, or messages, they can instantly recognize you from the rest. Branding is all about connection and when your audience recognizes you quickly it adds to building connection with them. Connection is the main purpose behind all branding efforts.
- Gives you direction and focus
When you’re clear on your brand voice, you have a clear guide for how to construct your messages, marketing and otherwise. For example, When HSBC Bank creates a marketing campaign, they don’t have to decide the type of voice to use. They’re not confused about whether to be light-hearted and funny, for example, or to be more authoritative, corporate, and direct. They know their voice and articulate it clearly. And as such, they are received in the marketplace with clarity, without question or confusion.
How to Establish a Unique Brand Voice
Step 1 Review your company mission statement. Your mission statement is the base layer of your business and thus the foundation of your branding. Your mission drives and guides your internal structure, decision making, and all other aspects of your business. It’ll help you determine a voice that’s the right fit for your brand.
Step 2 Get clear on your brand personality. If you’re not familiar with branding archetypes, it’s a powerful branding model that helps you connect with your audience. We review the 12 archetypes in this blog post on packaging.
Step 3 Conduct an audit. As with most of our branding tips, you must assess your current messages and style. So, what do you audit? Here are the essentials:
- Social media posts
- Print material
Step 4 Make a plan and implement the essentials. The audit will inform you of any changes you need to make. From there, it’s about planning well and implementing strategically.
Step 5 Stay consistent. Branding is about consistency. It’s the only way you can effectively convey your story so that it’s recognizable and authentic. You must assess all branding messages, visuals, and marketing material for consistency. It is the glue that holds a clear, powerful brand together.
An Often Forgotten Aspect of Establishing a Branding Voice
One thing that sometimes gets forgotten in branding-voice is inclusivity. In the series on intentional inclusive branding, we highlighted the importance and shared case studies of companies doing inclusive branding well. We explained the importance of inclusion and diversity in your branding voice. If you missed any of those articles, here’s a link to the main post, The Power of Inclusive Branding.
Now more than ever, business branding must be inclusive. Companies are responding to consumers’ desires to patronize businesses that stand up for what’s right and use their platform to rail against injustice. When establishing your brand voice, explore ways to be inclusive with your messaging. But most importantly, remain authentic. You establish a strong, clear brand voice when you’re authentic and in tune with what your customers and clients want. This builds connection, loyalty, and trust.