Branding 102: Developing an Authentic Brand Voice

To truly have a brand that impacts your bottom line, you must focus strongly on brand voice.

Everyone extols the virtues of having a strong brand, but let’s face it, a logo and color palette seldom convert prospects into customers. If you want to truly have a brand that impacts your bottom line, you need to have a strong focus on brand voice.

Building an authentic brand voice allows your team to get on the same page, speak the same language, and tell your customers the same story. It emboldens your marketing team, empowers your sales team, and assures your executive team that their brand is in good hands.

If you really want to build an authentic brand voice, it’s not rocket science. Simply follow these 4 steps to build an authentic brand voice that resonates with everyone who touches it.

Step 1: Talk to the people who represent your brand

This is simultaneously the most important and the most overlooked aspect of building an authentic brand voice. Too often, marketers will hole up in their office for a week and emerge from the ether with a glorious brand document that they mostly made up. That’s great for an art project, but if you need something that people can actually use, you should try talking to the people who will use it.

If the purpose of a brand is to help you sell more products, you may want to talk to your sales staff about your brand. If you need to communicate your product’s superiority, make sure you talk to your product team, etc.

Here is your ultimate brand interview checklist:

  • Your top 2-3 salespeople
  • 2-3 average salespeople
  • Your 2-3 worst salespeople
  • Your product development manager(s)
  • Your product development team
  • Your executive team in a board meeting
  • Your executive team one-on-one (you’d be surprised at the difference in answers!)

Ask these individuals about your company, product, and clients. How do they view them? How do their clients view them? What’s most important to them? Once you’ve conducted your interviews, it’s time to look at some context.

Step 2: Look at where your brand will be speaking

Secondly, you’ll want to make a list of the places that your brand will be communicating. This includes internal communication and external communication alike. Look at all of the following questions and make sure you have good answers to each:

  • How do we communicate to our team internally? What platforms do we use?
  • How do we communicate to our prospects and clients?
  • How important is our website? Is it one of our primary tools for educating our clients? If the answer is no, why not?
  • What social networks do we use? How do we use them to communicate with our employees, prospects, and customers?

Once you’ve answered these questions, we’re ready to build!

Step 3: Create an effective outline

Start by building a great outline of your brand’s voice. You want to make sure that you know when, where, and how your brand’s voice will be used at all times. Ideally, it will look something like this:

  • Our Mission - Why you exist and what purpose you serve
  • Our Vision - Who you want to be when you “grow up”
  • Our Brand Voice - A high level overview of what your brand’s voice sounds like
    • What we sound like - What kind of language your brand uses overall. You can use things like personality traits or celebrity voices to define your sound.
    • What words we use - How you describe your products, services, and company culture
    • What words we don’t use - How you don’t describe yourself or others
    • How we communicate - Where your brand’s voice lives. This can be anywhere that your company communicates internally or externally.

Step 4: Develop an authentic brand voice and share it with your company

Finally, fill in the outline with your brand’s unique voice. Make sure that it is authentic to the results of your interviews and not spin. It’s important to make this document as genuine as possible. Once you’ve filled in the blanks, incorporate this document into your brand identity guidelines and work on enforcing your brand’s voice over time.

Subscribe to
The Spark!

Join brand managers everywhere getting smarter about marketing each week.

Oops! There was an error sending the email, please try again.

Awesome! Now check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription.