Once again, we have teamed up with Kayleigh Alexandra, a content writer for Micro Startups, to collaborate on this post. If you’re a small business owner, you will probably have already established a brand voice. But how much have you really considered the impact that a brand voice has?
It’s not enough to just write as yourself, or in a ‘similar-ish’ tone when you’re doing any marketing. As an SME business owner, having a strong brand voice is crucial. It makes you stand out from the crowd, whether it’s on social media or in a search.
A consistent voice gives your company a unique personality and clear, comprehensible values that consumers can recognise and understand.
In the post below, we’re going to cover some of the things that you can do to nurture your brand, make it strong, and stand out from the crowd.
Read on for our smarter top brand voice tips.
Define your brand voice basics from the start.
Think about the big brands that you use or follow on social media. Aside from having awesome products, they also have strong branding; their voices are distinctive and interesting. You can instantly recognise their writing style. You can probably also associate them with the product or service.
This is because the brand voice describes their company’s personality.
It’s the same for your business. Your brand voice represents you in the marketplace. It can also ensure that the customers know who you are and what you’re offering.
There are many tools to help you establish the “dos and don’ts” of your brand voice. This chart from the Content Marketing Institute is a good example:
You can list your characteristics, which should align with your brand values and marketing anyway, and think about what this means for your tone, language and references.
Be as clear on what you want to avoid as the traits that you do want to include.
Set guidelines to stay consistent.
Once you’ve established your voice basics, you need to ensure that this stays in place across all marketing materials.
A brand voice is best nurtured when there are guidelines in place to maintain it. Especially, if your business is growing and you’re taking on more employees. Be careful to avoid an untrained intern getting their hands on a social media account and unwittingly posting something completely off-brand.
Come up with a set of brand voice guidelines that your team can adhere to easily. These should include requirements and things to avoid, and how to write in various scenarios. Whether it’s an email, a product description, a social media post or a response to a customer complaint, this will ensure that your brand voice remains consistent.
Document these guidelines clearly and ensure that they are enforced (and easily accessible). Your team should be able to refer back to them if they need help. They should also be able to use them to streamline training when you have new arrivals within the company.
Consistency is key when it comes to your brand voice; anything less will put off potential customers from checking out your business and drive existing customers away.
Be conscious about visual elements too.
A strong brand voice isn’t just about the words you use; it’s about the imagery that accompanies your words i.e. how your branding is visually perceived as much as heard.
All the different elements of your brand should come together to form a clear picture of your business — one that customers recognise, admire and trust. Having guidelines for your brand voice isn’t enough — you also need to think about the aesthetic aspects associated with it.
For example, the fonts you use to portray your brand are as important as the tone you write in.
Brand fonts bring the voice and personality of your company alive; they communicate messages to your audience and allow them to visualise your business.
You should pick one primary font, a secondary font, and a clear body copy font to make your brand voice heard in the right way. If you don’t know which fonts to select, check out this handy font post by 99designs.
You also need to think about the imagery you will use to illustrate your work. Depending on your budget, you can pick up free, high-quality stock images online, or create your own imagery using a decent smartphone and a graphic design tool like Canva.
Make sure you fulfil your brand promises.
Delivering on your brand promise is crucial if you want to have happy, and returning, customers.
You can develop a strong brand voice and professional image, but if you don’t make good on your brand promise once the customer has committed and purchased your product or service, then it will have all been for nought.
Being reliable and delivering as expected will build trust between your business and your customers. It will also result in a loyal brand community that is not only happy to buy your products themselves but are also willing to recommend your brand to other consumers.
You can also use this promise-fulfilment to feedback into your brand voice and brand message; tell prospective customers what you can offer and what they can expect.
Don’t be afraid to evolve.
Building and nurturing a brand voice doesn’t stop once you’ve established your tone and message. A strong brand voice is much more than that — it’s as much about being fresh and relevant as it is maintaining a consistent and professional tone.
It’s healthy to evolve and respond to changes along the way. Keep your brand voice consistent, but, respond and evolve according to changes in what your market wants and needs.
There are a number of ways you can analyse and improve how your brand voice is being received by your target audience:
- With opinion polls and surveys, you can find out what your market thinks about your brand voice and whether they feel it aligns with your values — you can easily create a simple poll using Survey Monkey
- Social media analytics tools will allow you to assess brand awareness and engagement on social platforms
- Split-testing on your website and in your email marketing campaigns will give you the opportunity to experiment with your brand voice and see which version customers respond to best
It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t be making huge changes to the voice you use as a brand — only checking that your current voice fits well with your brand’s purpose and values and making minor amendments.
Anything more will confuse consumers and put them off your business — unless you are happy to roll out a whole rebrand. That’s why it’s so important to get your brand voice basics down early on in the game.
A strong brand voice is crucial to making your business stand out from the crowd because it defines your business clearly within a busy marketplace. It also allows you to build a relationship with existing customers and can draw new consumers towards your products if executed well.
By following the above guidelines, you can nurture your brand voice. Just make sure you are true to your company values and find a brand voice that works for you. We call paying attention to the branding elements above just being smarter about your marketing and we can help you with that.
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit their blog for the latest marketing insights from top experts and inspiring entrepreneurial stories. Follow them on Twitter @getmicrostarted.
“Thank you to Kayleigh for her input and to you for reading our blog post today.
If you require any assistance with your marketing including e-commerce websites or mobile apps do not hesitate to give us a call.
Cheers – Aidan & Jim.
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