When we think about branding, we tend to focus on the pretty visual elements. We all want a beautiful website and a stylish logo, so it’s easy to ignore the fact that every single business, without exception, also needs copy. This copy, and the language used to create it, is one of the most important definers of any brand.
WHAT IS BRAND VOICE?
Brand voice (or brand language) is the body of words, phrases and terms an organisation uses to engage with customers, describe its purpose and in reference to its products. Basically, it’s the tone of your communications and the style of your writing.
Brand voice isn’t simply the type of language you use, but the length of your sentences, the way the language flows, your use of humour, and even the rhythm and pace. Consistency is key, so whether you’re posting on Facebook or producing content for your website, everything should be written in the same unique, recognisable way.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Every business has an identity, but it’s the ability to successfully communicate this identity that turns a business into a brand. Your voice – the things you talk about and how you talk about them – is a crucial part of this. It communicates your value and informs your audience.
At its best, the right brand voice will set your business apart, build trust, influence and persuade. Most importantly, it’s how your audience recognises you, regardless of where you’re communicating with them.
SO, WHERE DO I START?
I asked my copywriter, Franky from Love Audrey, to share a few ideas to help you create a strong brand voice…
My biggest piece of advice would be to relax and focus on being authentic. Overthinking things is always a bad idea! That said, the language of your brand will be shaped by two things:
WHERE YOU WANT TO POSITION YOUR BRAND IN THE MARKETPLACE
Market positioning may sound scary, but it’s just the process of establishing a brand’s identity so consumers perceive it in a certain way. It’s how you want people to think and talk about your brand in relation to your competitors.
To give you some ideas, brand leaders tend to speak with authority. Their language focuses on stability, history and confidence. In contrast, brand challengers speak with defiance. As they’re rebelling against the status quo, they may use language that represents change, hope or even revolution.
Cult brands focus on exclusivity, using terms unique to a particular ‘tribe’. Artisan brands are all about craft and attention to detail, so their language tends to be quieter and focused inwards on the work. Budget brands usually use language associated with frugality (how much you save) or generosity (how much you get).
THE PERSONALITY YOU CHOOSE TO ADOPT
Language is a powerful way of capturing and expressing how you see yourself as a brand and how you want others to think and talk about you. Personality picks up on these points of view and defines them more clearly, distinguishing your brand in a busy and competitive market.
One of the easiest ways to evoke personality through language is to focus on formality. Think about the type of relationship you want to have with your customers and use words and phrases that reflect this.
For example, luxury brands often use structured, aspirational language built around sophisticated concepts. On the other hand, lifestyle brands are often cheeky and carefree, using language that feels casual and relaxed.