Guest Post by Lauren Wiseman
Many businesses that operate in the online world seek ways to truly engage with their target audience and outrun their competitors in an over-crowded market. Some try out different creative and innovative marketing strategies, while others tailor custom promotions and offers. Those methods might succeed in gaining your customers’ attention, but they won’t make them faithfully engage with your business.
One method that has proven more than effective in capturing audiences’ hearts and minds? Branding. Many businesses try to develop a brand by designing a logo or styling their website, but they ultimately fail because they didn’t grasp the true essence of what makes a brand unique. A brand is more than just a logo or a color palette; it’s a company’s mission and that goes beyond just selling products or services.
A mission is communicated through a brand’s voice, which makes it easily recognizable by customers across various media channels and helps differentiate the company from others in the market. A brand’s voice is not what a company says, but how it says it in order to drive engagement and loyalty to their customers. Here are a few ways to find your brand’s voice.
Understand Your Target Audience
It’s important to understand for branding to be successful, it has to be designed according to the preferences of your target audience and not your own. The same goes for a brand’s voice. If you want your messages to be received properly by your customers, you have to know them really well, in order to know how to tailor your messages and design your voice. Start things off by researching your audience’s preferences, needs, expectations, and demands. Then go deeper and research their demographics thoroughly.
For instance, what is their gender, age, location, income, hobbies, etc.? Once you’ve completed your research, create customer personas out of the information you gathered. To make things easier for yourself, imagine your brand is a person that needs to talk to your customer persona. This will help you identify how to talk to your customers and tailor messages, to drive engagement and loyalty, inspire emotions, and not drive them away.
Listen to Your Customers
One of the surest ways to determine your brand’s voice is to go straight to the customers you’re trying to engage. Your target audience can offer valuable insight into what they expect from your brand, their overall preferences, the content they’d prefer to see and many other things.
Please note: Customers may not always be objective or sincere when sharing public opinions, so don’t take this information as the end-all, be-all. If you want more accurate data, you’ll ask for anonymous feedback. One of the best ways to do this is to ask customers to participate in paid surveys. That way, you’re allowing them to privately voice their opinion while offering them something of value in return for their feedback. Once they have something to gain and their voice is confidential, your customers won’t hesitate to tell you exactly what’s on their mind.
Differentiate Voice from Tone
You can’t pick just any brand voice and hope that it will yield the best results. It’s not important what you say or when, but it’s important how you make your customers feel. That’s why you need to understand the difference between a brand’s voice and tone.
A brand’s voice represents the personality that describes your company’s message, statement, core values, and unique selling proposition. For instance, your brand’s personality can be professional, energetic, positive, etc., and you’ll use an appropriate voice to express that personality. On the other hand, a brand’s tone is the attitude you use to communicate your messages to customers in order to drive the desired reaction.
An example: Your brand’s personality is professional, and you use a scientific tone for the purpose of educating your customers. The tone of voice can vary based on the audience you’re targeting, where you’re sharing your message, and the purpose of your actions. However, your brand’s personality and voice must remain consistent at all times, in order to be relevant and recognizable by your customers.
Test Your Voice
If you have a concept of what your brand’s voice should sound like, but you’re still unsure it is the best one, then don’t be afraid to test it out. Needless to say, there’s no way to be 100% sure you’ve designed the right voice for your brand or that your audience will perceive it as they should unless you first try it out. However, it’s important not to rush the process and risk ruining your reputation. Instead, take things one step at a time and start testing your new brand’s voice slowly.
You can start by implementing your voice into a few pieces of content and give it to a small group of customers. Watch how they react and if you like what you’re seeing then slowly widen the process. If not, try to identify what caused the dislike and fix it. Make sure that you continue to test and re-test until you’re absolutely sure your brand’s voice is resonating well with your audience. Once you’re done, implement the voice in all your business aspects and marketing efforts, to make it as effective as possible.
A brand’s voice is uniquely important for business success. Brands use their voice to showcase their values and express their personality to their target audience. Not only does a voice help differentiate a business on the market, but it helps persuade customers to chose your business over any other.
Lauren Wiseman is marketing specialist, contributor to bizzmarkblog.com and entrepreneur. She helps clients grow their personal and professional brands in fast-changing and demanding market environment. Covering finance and investment topics, Lauren strongly believes in a holistic approach to business.