Finding your Voice

If your business were to raise its hand among a crowd of competitors, what would it’s voice sound like? Would it be identifiable? In a sea of businesses just like yours, how can your customers recognize what makes your business unique? Your brand’s voice or personality should drive your content decisions in everything that you put out into the universe – from your social media accounts, to your web site, to your business cards. Here are some tips to help you find your brand’s voice:

Document your brand’s voice

You should take the time to document your brand’s voice for a couple of reasons: First, everyone in your company should have a solid understanding of how your business should be represented in public. By educating your employees about your brand’s voice, you can ensure that your team represents your brand well and has a good understanding of your mission and values as a company. Second, documenting your voice also demonstrates consistency with your employees and promotes a quality organization. When documenting your voice, try this exercise:

  • Write down 3-5 adjectives that describe your brand. For example, those adjectives might be: playful, helpful, smart, funny, motivating. Place those adjectives in a location where your employees can see them and be reminded of the voice that you want to use when interacting with the public.
  • You can then narrow down each of these adjectives to help support the mission of your business. For example: The goal at Jenn’s Gym is to motivate our clients by offering fitness tips and support to allow them to lead a happy and healthy life.

Other items to keep in my mind when documenting your brand’s voice can include the following:

  • Examples of writing for various content types, such as longer form content for blog posts versus shorter content and text reminder messages.
  • Examples of website elements, such as event announcements, registration forms, product descriptions, employee bios, etc. For instance, if your brand is considered playful, you may want your “About Us” section to reflect fun content about your employees along with stylized photos of them in a group.
  • Examples of brand apologies for unexpected situations like your pizza oven going down on National Pizza Day, or if your services didn’t meet a customer’s expectations. Planning this content ahead of time through this exercise will help you reduce response time when your business needs to react quickly.

Consider a voice audit

Part of the process in finding the right voice for your brand is looking at how you are currently speaking to your customers. Examine your audience demographics. Is the tone of your messages too formal when your demographic leans toward a younger audience? Or, do you need to lean to a more polished tone if your business needs to influence a more seasoned generation? Look at all communications for your business, from newsletters to social media posts, and compare them. Do they have the same feeling, and do they sound like they came from the same person? Ask yourself, “How do I want these to sound based on my descriptive adjectives?”

Test your voice

My final recommendation is to test your voice. Does this new voice seem to resonate well with your customer base? Are more customers now engaging with you on social media? Do they notice the seamless experience of your website, social media pages, and your newsletter? Does your business seem more approachable to them? These are good questions to ask yourself, your employees, and most importantly, your customers. When trying out a new personality, make sure to check in with your most valuable customers to see if they think that you still sound authentic to them. Plan to make changes and be able to shift as time moves on. We certainly don’t have the same voices throughout our lifetimes, so it’s important to adapt and change with the times.

Written by Blog Contributor: Jennifer Hicks