What Is A Brand Voice And Why It Matters In Business

The brand voice describes how a brand communicates with its target audience. The exact style of communication is based on the brand persona or the collection of personality traits and values that a brand embodies regularly, and it needs to communicate the brand’s essence to the desired target audience.

Understanding brand voice

A core component of brand voice is the personification of a brand. A surf shop adopts the vocabulary and care-free attitude of surfers in their advertising campaigns. A clothing company selling blue-collar workwear embodies the tough, rugged exterior of deep-voiced construction workers.

Importantly, brand voice must be consistent wherever a brand “speaks” to its target audience -whether that be radio, television, social media or email newsletter. Consistency ensures that a brand does not give mixed messages to consumers, who may have difficulty determining whether the values of a brand align with their own. 

Developing a brand voice

While methods vary, this five-step process will help businesses establish, create, and then maintain a consistent brand voice for future success.

1. Assess a representative sample of content

A business should first critically assess the content it has released thus far. Does the content accurately reflect what the business wants to communicate? Or conversely, is the content more closely aligned with the brand of a competitor?

The business should set aside content it feels is an accurate representation of its brand, grouping them according to the emotions or feelings they conjure. 

2. Describe brand voice in three words

Here, the business should review the set-aside content and have a group discussion on the common themes or values present in each. Then, it is important to link these themes and values to personality traits. To get a better idea of the personality traits a brand embodies, it may be helpful to assign personality traits to competitors also.

For example, one brand may be authentic if a competitor tends to imitate others. Another may be passionate and joyful if the competitor is calm and austere.

3. Create a brand voice chart

With the personality traits identified in the previous step, briefly describe each and then list actions that do and don’t support these traits in marketing initiatives. Visually represented in the form of a table, this chart will be an invaluable reference tool in ensuring that content is consistently aligned with brand voice.

4. Liaise with content and marketing teams

Arguably the most important step involves obtaining buy-in from any employee who will be involved in brand messaging. To achieve this goal, personality traits and examples of on-point content should be made available as these employees create future marketing content.

5. Revisit and revise

While the core traits of brand voice should never change over time, elements of brand messaging will need to be tweaked in response to a new competitor or other fluctuating market conditions. For example, the current pandemic has forced most brands to incorporate empathic, understanding, and community-minded messaging. 

In any case, it is a good idea to evaluate strategies quarterly to ensure that brand voice is sensitive to wider societal and organizational contexts.

Key takeaways:

  • Brand voice is the communication of particular personality traits and values to a target audience that represents a specific brand. 
  • Brand voice must be consistent across all marketing channels. Otherwise, a consumer may become confused as to the alignment of brand values and their own values.
  • Brand voice can be developed in an iterative, five-step process. Among other things, the process ensures that a business does not adopt the voice of a competitor.

Connected Marketing Concepts

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Digital Marketing

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

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