Knowing how to develop a strong brand voice can be a challenge for young brands, especially those entering a competitive market or those who are not yet clear on the way they want to present themselves to the world.
Here are some tips to help inspire you.
Select the appropriate color palette
It may be easiest to start by choosing a color palette. Look into color theory and learn what kinds of emotions each color will elicit from your audience, and start combining them until you land on a choice you really like.
You don’t have to stick to the colors people might expect from you. For example, an eco-friendly brand doesn’t always have to be green. Once you have a color, use it for your logo and splash it across the entirety of your online (and offline) presence.
Starbucks is a great example with their unique green. The color is memorable and eye-catching, and it will help you identify one of their coffee shops anywhere in the world. It also encapsulates the brand’s ethos: vibrant and fun.
Understand what your audience cares about
Another great way to approach creating a brand voice is to think about your audience’s values and interests and align your voice with them. If they’re passionate about the environment, eco-friendly packaging and a zero carbon footprint will form important parts of your brand’s voice and presence.
Note that you should never create a brand voice that you don’t actually believe in yourself. If you aren’t passionate about your audience’s causes, choose another way to stand out instead. You need to be genuine above everything else.
Take a look at Kopi Luwak Direct. They understand that their shoppers care about quality and the environment. Their coffee is organic and comes from wild civet cats. They highlight these facts across their website.
Align it with your mission
You can also align your brand voice with your brand mission. Consider what kind of impact you want to make on the world. What is it you want your brand to be known for?
Once you have that down, you can start spinning your voice around that one message. Make sure you highlight your commitment to a cause or your interest in making a certain change.
You don’t have to save the world, of course. Your mission can completely legitimately be to make people laugh or to produce the best coffee mugs or to grow a community.
Patagonia, for example, cares about the planet. They highlight this through their commitment to durability and preservation, and they are very clear about their impact on the environment.
Align it with the industry
You should also consider aligning your brand voice with what is expected of the industry. You don’t necessarily have to toe the party line, but do consider what your competitors are representing themselves as.
For example, if you are a team of lawyers, you will want your brand voice to be professional. You can still emphasize your humanity and the fact that you are fun to work with. However, you need to know that your audience will expect expertise, and deliver that too.
For example, Menlo Coaching has adopted a professional tone that reflects their expertise. They focus on demonstrating their knowledge and reassuring their audience that they have the skills it takes to get them into an MBA program.
Stick to the basics
Sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or try to make your brand voice anything other than honest and simple. Your main goal is to communicate your offer and give your audience a reason to do business with you. You don’t have to put on a bunch of bells and whistles to do that every time.
Depending on your niche, the best course of action may be simplicity. Take a look at Thankbox, for example. Their main goal is to tell you what their product is, how you can use it, which occasions it is good for and what makes them different from the competition.
This is more than enough. They’ve added touches of personality to their pages with the fun GIFs and witty messages. Thus, they’re memorable enough without having created an entire unique online presence.
Put a spin on it
You can create a brand voice that is whacky, fun, out there and completely different from what everyone else is doing. If you have a talented team of copywriters, designers and marketers, this can be an immensely fun project.
Again, take into account what your audience is expecting, what they are already seeing from your competition and what you can deliver. Simply by putting a slight spin on their expectations, you can achieve a lot.
Take a look at Chubbies Shorts. They outline their values on their homepage and clearly tell you what they are about. Their humor is subtle but present, their values are broad but easy to relate to, and their commitment to product quality is quite obvious.
Focus on the benefits
Finally, a great way to develop a brand voice is to focus on the benefits you offer customers. This will instantly make you more appealing and more trustworthy, and you’ll stand out from a lot of your competitors who may have chosen to focus on the features instead.
Make sure you consider your audience’s pain points and what they are actually looking for when they come to you. A bit of market and customer research can go an incredibly long way here and help you develop the kind of online presence that converts.
Huel does this magnificently. They clearly tell their customers what their products are and how they are good for them: complete nutrition that is not boring and that saves time and money.
Use these examples to start developing your brand voice. Note that it may take several iterations of similar ideas. It will probably take days or even weeks before you land on a solution you like. However, as long as you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be able to figure out exactly how you want to be perceived.