Have you ever opened a promotional email and thought:
br> “was this really meant for me?”
Across many channels—email communications, websites, social media—your brand’s voice is the first point of contact for your audience. Is yours working as hard for you as it could be?
An effective brand voice is the difference between the joyful anticipation of opening a message from a trusted friend or family member and the indifference of casually deleting a spam email. Even when a company’s product or mission resonates with us, if their brand voice feels “off” and out of touch with our wants and needs, we’re much more likely to relegate them (usually permanently) to our spam folder.
On the flip side, there are some branded emails we’ll open again and again (whether or not we intend to buy or donate) simply because we know we’re interested in what they have to say. So how do you get your brand there?
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Every brand’s voice should be tailored to and appropriate for their audience, therefore the first step to creating an effective brand voice is finding out more about your target audience. Whether you conduct this research yourself via survey or pay for external market research, get to know the people you’re trying to reach. In addition to basic demographics like age, sex, location, education, and income, more nuanced characteristics like where they shop, what they eat, what apps they use, and what TV shows they watch (to name just a few) can provide incredibly useful insight in learning about your audience.
So, what’s next?
CRAFT YOUR BRAND VOICE
Talk about your brand, product, or company to your audience in a way that will resonate with them. Here are some questions to get you started:
• Is your brand friendly and approachable or does it exude a cool elegance? Is it warm and open or privileged and exclusive?
• Are you hoping to inspire joy, laughter, empathy, inspiration?
• Are your sentences lengthy and descriptive or short and pithy?
• What about the language itself—is it colloquial or refined, conversational or explanatory?
Above all, consistency is key. All of your communications—from emails and websites to social media and postcards—should feel like they are coming from the same brand, person, or organization. This establishes a sense of trust and familiarity and, importantly, sets a precedent of what they can expect from you.
Pro tip: Once you’ve established your voice, develop a style guide to share internally that outlines the voice and guidelines for how to discuss both specific products as well as the company as a whole. This way, you can make sure your brand always has its best face forward.