Updated: Aug 4, 2022
“What does “brand voice mean”?” “How do you want your brand voice to sound?” “How do you create a brand voice?”
Chances are, you’ve come across these questions (or perhaps you’ve asked yourself these questions) and felt a little stuck on what they’re referring to.
Here at CVC, we get asked a lot of branding and copy questions, and answering them is what we do best! To help you really shape and hone your brand voice, we’ve put together a super simple how-to guide.
Time to let your brand’s voice sing!
What is “brand voice”?
Brand voice refers to the personality that you infuse in your brand’s copy and communications. It’s how your brand expresses its personality.
Your brand voice is typically representative of what your brand does, and who you’re trying to target. For example, a children’s toy store would use fun language with short sentences and lot’s of happy imagery, whereas a tax accountant might have more formal language.
There is no set style of brand voice, and every brand has a unique flair. There’s one important rule: keep your brand voice on-brand, and consistent.
Why is brand voice important?
Brand voice is important for your brand as it sets the tone for how you’ll be seen by potential customers. You have around 10 seconds (sometimes less) to make an impression on your potential customers, so a brand voice will instantly show them who you are and what you do.
It also offers your audience a chance to get to know you more and helps them to connect with you on a more personal level. People read thousands of ads and copy every day, so when a brand manages to stand out and connect, it makes a difference.
Finding your brand voice is not something that you can do overnight, and more often than not, your brand voice will change and evolve as your brand does! However, there are some simple steps you can take towards finding the right tone of voice for your brand:
How to create your brand voice
1.Start with your mission statement
Your brand's mission statement is a great way to begin shaping and honing your brand voice. Are you a brand that’s looking to empower other entrepreneurs? Maybe you’re launching an inclusive skincare range targeted at young children? Perhaps your mission is to alter the narrative surrounding indoor plant care?
Write down a few characteristics of your brand and your mission. For example, a hairdresser for young children might be “friendly, supportive, calming, fun”.
Ask yourself what your brand is aiming for, and see if you can define the characteristics of that cause. If you’re struggling to find the right words, you may need to revisit and refine your mission statement.
2. Research your audience
Your buyer persona and how you understand your target audience influences the brand voice you create.
At the end of the day, if your brand voice doesn't resonate or connect with your audience, then it probably isn't the right voice. Here at CVC, we spend a long time researching audiences, their needs, likes, habits, and what would appeal to them. You’re selling to a human, not a robot, so it’s important to make sure you research and then target them with the right language, correctly.
Do some SEO investigation to help back up your research. If your audience is searching for the word “organic skincare”, then perhaps you need to ensure that “organic” is a key term your brand uses.
3. Decide what works and what doesn’t for your brand
Making a clear “do’s and don’ts” list for your brand voice is a critical step in creating the right copy persona. Now that you have researched your audience and listed your brand characteristics, you can begin brainstorming guidelines for your brand.
Beginning with “don’ts” is the best way to start this process. For example:
My brand is not unfriendly
My brand is not serious
My brand does not say “girl boss”
My brand does not use swear words or aggressive language
Once you have a list of things you don’t want, you can start to build a list of things you do want as an antithesis. If your brand is not serious and pretentious, then it’s friendly and down-to-earth. If your brand is not humourous, then maybe it’s to-the-point and informative. Play around with opposites to see what works for you.
4. Create a voice style guide
This is the fun part!
Now that you have all your rules and goals for your brand voice, start to collate everything into a style guide document.
Choose 3-5 characteristics, and then see if you can find examples of brands that are similar.
For example in skincare, if your brand is funny, you might include some example snippets from Go-To Skincare who are well known for their strong branding and humorous voice.
Perhaps you want your brand to be softer with a more girly tone, so you might include snippets from Kora Organics and their gentle copy.
Once you have a collection of examples, you can create a small style guide for your brand. A style guide will help keep your copy on track and will be incredibly useful for external writers or contractors.
Remember that your brand voice is a living document, so don’t be afraid to tweak or change anything that’s not working or if you find something more aligned with your brand.
Still unsure of how your brand's voice sounds? Don’t worry, CVC is here to help! Our Brand Message Clarity Package covers everything you need to nail your brand voice! Alternatively, you can sign up for a sneaky 40% off our Tone of Voice and Language Style Guide templates, here!!!!