What Is Brand Voice?

Let’s start with imagining that your company/organization is a person. Brand voice is how that person communicates to the world. So if your brand were at a party, how would it come off to other people who are there? Would it be the boring guy in the corner? The sleaze ball at the bar? The chatty lady saying nothing by the front door? Or the really charming, funny woman in the red dress that’s talking up the small group in the middle of the room? Or perhaps someone else?

Who is your brand? What’s your brand’s personality? What are its unique tonal qualities that make others instantly say, “Oh, that must be (your brand here) talking?”

In short, once you have developed your brand voice, it should be applied as a filter to every piece of your communication.

What we at Minty Fresh see out in the world today are a lot of brands that have developed, through sheer neglect, boring, steady, robotic, default voices. It’s usually not bad writing or design. Often it’s technically fine. It’s just not engaging. It’s not particularly memorable. And it’s usually not projecting a real identifiable voice.  Nobody at the company paid much attention to it and, hence, nobody out in the marketplace pays much attention to it either.

When we go into companies it’s generally when someone comes on board who notices the rather huge gap between who the company is and how it sounds in the marketplace. Many organizations publish style manuals to govern capitalization, punctuation and other essentials. But few develop brand voice guidelines.

Brand voice guidelines can help you make sure that you sound like you. For example, the Kaiser Permanente brand personality is a friendly, caring, dedicated, and expert health advocate. The voice of Kaiser is empathetic, concise, human, evocative and intimate. It comes through clearly in everything they do from their TV spots and radio spots with Allison Janney’s voice to their “Thrive” website and all the content therein.

They have a 21 page Brand Voice Guide specifically outlining how the brand speaks and how it addresses various audiences. That’s their screening tool to make sure the voice is consistent in the marketplace.

The point is to identify qualities and provide examples that reflect your organization’s unique personality. When you do that, you can help everyone in the organization appreciate when language is true to the brand –and when it’s not.

Need a Brand Voice Guide for your organization? Drop us a line.

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