What is brand voice and how do you establish a successful one?

We’re just gonna come out and say it: if your brand doesn’t have a voice, your stellar business concept won’t make it. Not a chance. Brand voice is the way you connect with your customers. It’s the way you share your company’s values and motivations. A brand voice is successful when it causes your audience to connect with, engage in and most importantly, believe in what you do.

Here, we’ll highlight companies that have nailed their brand voice and guide you through the process of creating your own.

What is a brand voice?

Brand voice is the way you talk to your customers and is defined by your brand’s style of communication. Your brand voice is directed to your target audience, and it can have any style, as long as it feels true to your brand values and persona—be it authoritative, playful, intellectual, ominous, kind or fun.

Just as you communicate in a specific way with your family, friends, partners and colleagues, there’s also a way to communicate specifically with your customer base.

Consumers invest more in brands when there is an emotional connection, rather than with brands that dish out uninspired, disconnected content. In the end, it’s less about what you say—it’s about how you say it. Avenues for expressing your brand voice include, but are certainly not limited to, email, website copy, press releases, packaging, ads, and social media platforms.

How do you develop a brand voice?

The first step in developing your brand voice is to assert your core brand identity by establishing your vision, mission and values and highlighting the aspects of your business that help it stand out amongst the competition.

Start by choosing three distinct descriptors for your business. These should be clear words that evoke a visceral feeling. Think: passionate, reliable, quirky, or relaxed. Consider the mood you want your content to elicit and how you’d like your company to be perceived. These descriptions will lead the tone of all content you create.

Next, get to know who you’re talking to. What are the demographics for your current and future customer base? What do they look like? What would they want from your brand? Social media offers tools to pull insights. If you can, turn to those in your target community, and ask about what excites them most about your brand.

This is invaluable information you can use when building your brand voice. From Facebook to Instagram to Twitter, offers analytical resources that breakdown age, gender, location, and the times of day that these folks are most engaged. Create a plan for how your brand will share content via different social media platforms.

Finally, build a style guide, a reference tool which helps maintain the consistency of your brand voice.

Exceptional brand voice examples

Beauty company Glossier packaging

Beauty company Glossier articulates wellness and beauty care for modern women through their empowering voice, creating an immediate personal experience.

It’s important to find your own champions when it comes to brand voice, but here are our picks for companies that are great brand voice examples.

The New York-based brand Glossier describes itself as a “people-powered beauty ecosystem”. Their brand voice articulates wellness and beauty care for modern women through empowerment and self-care.

Their vulnerable social posts and relatable visuals connect directly with their target demographic. Bright, feminine visuals are often paired with simple visuals and bold phrasing.

The New Luxury book

As a lifestyle website covering streetwear, sneakers, cars, lifestyle and the arts, High Snobiety translates style-conscious branding for the young, modern and provocative.

iPhone advertisement

Apple’s brand voice consistency conveys confidence, quality and intimacy.

Apple’s been the company to look up to in terms of setting themselves apart from their competition. Everyone feels welcome and many feel spoiled by owning their products. Perhaps this connection is somehow based on the level of intimacy felt within their copy?

Cards Against Humanity Prongles Facebook post

The successful party game, Cards Against Humanity, leads the voice behind their social posts with snark and dark humor.

The successful and infamous party game, Cards Against Humanity, leads their social posts with snarky phrases and dark humor to make a memorable mark on past, present and future customers. Take their spoof on snack food, Prongles! Their social media posts don’t shy away from shock value, but their consistent tone of (shocking) voice keeps their success rate high.

Whole Foods Trend Report Tweet

Health food store Whole Foods combines approachability, playfulness and nutrition through their social media presence.

Well-known American health food store Whole Foods combines approachability, playfulness and nutrition through their physical shops, website copy, merchandise, social media presence. This consistency throughout different platforms reassures their customer base that their values of community and wellness are behind their brand voice.

Franks RedHot meme

You don’t always need to speak directly about your business. Frank’s Red Hot shares custom memes to engage with audiences in a new way.

You don’t always need to speak directly about your business. Frank’s Red Hot creates humorous memes to engage with audiences in fun new ways.

Time to find your voice!

Creating a successful brand voice is all about establishing a tone that speaks directly to your consumers and that builds a robust community. Your brand voice is the personal and honest tone that keep your customer base happy and connected, Keep in mind that while consistency is key, it’s also important to be flexible. Be prepared to adjust your brand voice as customer priorities—and the market—change over time.

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Author: Colette Pomerleau