Q&A: Developing a Brand Voice

1. What goes into developing a brand voice?

First, I think you absolutely have to identify and correctly target your consumer group, because without knowing WHO you are selling to, you can’t know HOW to market your business. For example, if I’m selling a product or service that appeals to young, active Millennials, I can’t market my company in a way that doesn’t speak to that market. I have to appeal to the instant gratification that drives my market, which means content that focuses heavily on videos and imagery, which doesn’t require a long attention span.

Then I think you have to ask yourself:  How do I want people to perceive my company? For example, Zappos identified their consumer group as women who loved deals on shoes and wanted the flexibility to exchange and return any product they didn’t like without hassle. So the head of that company empowered all employees to provide discounts, freebies, free exchanges and free returns with no hassle. And very quickly, Zappos was branded as the best online shoe company in the world because it was so attentive to customer satisfaction.

2. How do you keep the voice consistent across all different channels, especially online?

First, you need to list your Branding Commandments so that everyone on your team is aware of what you stand for and how you want consumers to perceive your company. Then everything from your marketing to sales to customer service to your content department has to adhere to those principles. Here’s the test that you can apply. Are all your logos, colors, style and tone consistent with your principles? If your branding is focused on cool and hip, does your website design, pages and content all align with that ethos? For branding to remain consistent, you have to rigorously apply your branding principles to every single aspect of your business. It is an ongoing process that requires constant adjustment and tweaks, but the key is that every member of your team has to be applying that branding test on products, services, marketing and content.