Is your brand voice really your voice?
You may be thinking, “Of course it’s my voice, I wrote it!”
Bear with me, we’re going to dive a bit deeper.
Even if you think you don’t know what brand voice is, you could probably tell me how different brands you love “sound.” Brand voice is the combination of word choice, signature phrases and the overall tone that their copy creates. Having a consistent brand voice is important if you want to be recognizable beyond your logo.
There are many brands with a very distinguishable voice, the ones that if you read part of their website or saw an ad without a logo or photo, you would probably know it’s them. If I say Apple what comes to mind? For me it’s innovative, creative and accessible but with a very cool, exclusive twist.
While some of this I am ascribing to its products, a lot of these impressions are from their brand voice.
Another example is Disney. While Disney touches many industries, film, television, toys and travel, their voice remains consistent throughout and is easily recognizable. From their word choice to their tone, their voice is happy, friendly and whimsical but it also is clear and concise for accessibility.
What these brands have in common is their ability to use the power of words to brand beyond their logo or products-this is what all brands should aspire to.
One of the questions I ask my clients when we are zoning in on their brand voice is to identify brands that they love and ones that they dislike.
It’s important to gauge what styles you like and the ones you’d prefer to stay away from. Are the brands you love brash and bold or are they warm and welcoming? Getting inspiration from the voices of brands that you align with is great…to an extent.
Here’s the deal: it’s okay to pull inspiration, but not at the cost of losing your voice all together. When you pull too much inspiration from other brands it turns from inspiration to imitation very quickly. So many small business owners lose what makes them special because they want to be like “so and so” or sound like “blah blah blah.”
There are a lot of great brands out there and a lot of them have a strong voice and content to match. That doesn’t mean that copying their style is a guarantee for success, actually, it’s usually the opposite.
When there is a trend in branding that comes up, whether it’s a style of logo, brand colors or terminology, the bandwagon effect is real. People jump onto these trends without pausing to think about if it actually fits their brand identity.
For example, you may own an adventure company and love Patagonia’s logo and feel inspired to make your logo similar. Unfortunately, making a logo with mountain graphics and a bold font isn’t going to make people fall in love with your brand-it’s going to remind them of Patagonia.
The same goes for your brand voice.
If there are certain phrases or a unique tone that a certain blogger or influencer uses and you start using them, it can be off putting for consumers. Even if they don’t recognize the exact person you “borrowed” it from, you’d be surprised at how perceptive people are when it comes to identifying authentic voices.
Now you’re probably thinking, “Okay Rachel, so what should I do?”
Need a little more guidance on creating a brand voice that is uniquely you? Download my free Branding Beyond Your Logo Guide. It will walk you through the steps I take with each of my clients to find their voice. Let me know what takeaways you have after completing it.