Author Chuck Palahniuk’s searing look at the corporate world in “Fight Club” was spot on: You want your brand to stand out and avoid being just another star in the Microsoft Galaxy, an IBM Stellar Sphere or replica Planet Starbucks. You may represent your company, but the best thing you can do is represent yourself professionally. Fashion designer Tory Burch leverages her online voice by utilizing her Twitter for sharing experiences, off-the-cuff commentary and in-the-moment thoughts. This candid nature has driven more business for her that traditional marketing posts. How do you identify your own personal brand and its voice? How does that translate into your e-mail and social media communications?
What kind of person are you or what do you want to be perceived as? First, get to know your customers in order to ascertain the kind of voice or persona they’d respond to best. If you have a very specific target audience, you may only need to cater to one type of voice. However, as is often the case, your target audience and their preferences can vary and it helps to have a flexible voice that maintains the overall persona. Your persona could easily be friendly, playful, warm, inspiring, authoritative and professional but never negative!
Tone is the underlying vibe that echoes from your communications. It’s important to watch out for negativity as this resonates poorly with any audience. Tone is the underlying vibe that echoes from your communications. You can use tone to establish credibility, place your brand as a trend or passing fad or alert your followers as to whether or not your brand is going to be transparent or tight-lipped. Maybe you want to show off, inspire, be creative and fun all at the same time — just don’t show off too much. A dose of humility will engender a positive and receptive reaction from your customers. Your tone should be personal, honest, direct, humble and come across as positive and attractive.
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No one really likes a preachy tone. How do you demonstrate to your customers that you’re an expert in your field without speaking over their heads? Easy. Adjust your language. Your followers likely speak a certain type of language and you should try to match their communications. Your language can be complex, savvy, fun, whimsical, simple or serious — no matter what, cater your language to your followers!
Why are you trying to get your brand in front of the public? What is it that you’re doing here? Your brand voice can genuinely help your customers understand who you are and what you can do for them. Your purpose is really something you have to determine for yourself but it could be to engage, delight, educate, inform, enable, sell or amplify.
Pulling it all together
Once you’ve thought about the above four attributes of your voice, you need to develop a plan of action. How would you like your brand to be received? Describe that reception and write down some of the ideals you would like to convey to your customers. Rewrite those things to reflect the voice you have developed for your brand. Here’s an example:
Plain voice: We’re having a clothing sale on Saturday.
Playful, personal, fun and informative voice: Clean out your closet and celebrate! The buy-one-get-one-free sale at Sally’s Clothing Bonanza starts this Saturday! What are you looking forward to replacing?
Take the time to carefully plan out various scenarios until you get the hang of the voice. If you need additional help with a brand, consult marketing firms for assistance. No matter how you convey your message, have fun with it!