How to find and create your brand voice
In a recent interview with Jake Karls, CEO of Mid-Day Squares, we asked him about superpowers. He said to us, “You’re superpower is that you’re the only person in the world that could be you – and no one can copy that.”
We wholeheartedly could not agree more with the sentiment. And as we set out to write this piece about how to find your brand voice, we thought about how true it really is. Your personality is what makes you different, because it’s something that other people just don’t have. Your business should reflect your personality through its voice, and if you’re doing it right – it should be unique.
So whether you’re launching a brand new business or revamping an existing one, finding and creating your brand voice is critical. Your voice is the way you present information to the world, and that’s pretty important. Let’s dive into what a brand voice is and the steps you can take to create yours.
What is a brand voice?
Sometimes, the meaning of the word “brand” can be a little murky, so let’s take a step back. A brand voice refers to the unique personality and communication style a brand adopts to engage with its audience. It includes the tone, language, and overall style of the brand’s messaging across various platforms and touchpoints. Your voice should serve as a consistent and recognizable representation of the brand’s values, culture, and identity across all platforms.
It’s also important to note the difference between voice and tone. Similar to your actual voice, your brand voice never changes. But, depending on the context of the communication, your tone absolutely will. For example, if you’re letting customers know about a big sale, you may opt for an excited, joyous tone. But if you were alerting customers of a delayed shipment, your tone of voice would be more delicate and apologetic.
Your step-by-step guide: How to create your brand voice
Now that you know exactly what a brand voice is, you may have an idea of what you hope your brand voice will become. Is it confident and professional? Spunky and fun? Edgy but respectful? Or still, trying to figure it out? Here’s a step-by-step guide to finding and creating your brand voice.
Step 1: Start with your mission
Your company mission is a statement that defines your organization’s purpose, values, and overall goals. It’s your “why” statement – why you exist, why you do what you do, and it should explain the impact you hope to have on the world. A well-crafted mission statement provides direction, inspires team members, attracts customers, and should align stakeholders toward a shared vision.
For example, at Carte Blanche Studio, our mission statement is to shape modern brands for a more connected and sustainable future. Seems simple, right? Well, to be honest, it took a few tries – but we’re happy with the final product.
To write yours, reflect on your company’s core values, vision, and long-term goals. Keep it concise and focused with clear and compelling language, and be sure to get feedback from employees and stakeholders to foster a sense of ownership. It’s also best practice to regularly review and revise the mission statement to remain relevant and inspiring as your company evolves.
Step 2: Use your buyer persona
If you have an established business, you may have done some research to develop your buyer personas and target audience. If you’re a new company, you’ll want to consider that specific group and their needs and expectations of your brand.
This type of research can also help you to find the kind of content and messaging that best resonates with your audience. Would they like to see a pop culture reference? Some humour? Or maybe some social commentary? Ultimately, your audience will become the judge of your brand voice and will decide if it suits them or not. If you fail to connect with the audience the first time around, simply keep going. Keep experimenting until you find the formula that works for you and your audience.
Step 3: Bring in the analytics
So how do you know when you’ve found the winning formula? Analytics can help. If you’ve already been publishing content for a few months or even years, we encourage you to look at your top-performing pieces and take inventory of the key characteristics of the voice you wrote in.
You can use your website’s analytics, or Google Analytics, to see what pages your readers are visiting. Along with looking at the voice, also do some research to see what content formats work best for your industry.
Step 4: Write out the dos and the don’ts
For some reason, it’s much easier to communicate what your brand is not compared to what it is! So if you’re struggling to nail down precisely what you want your voice to be, go ahead and start with the don’ts to make the process a little easier.
For example, at Carte Blanche Studio, we went over these prompts with our team to help find our voice:
- Our voice is not too professional
- Our voice is not arrogant
- Our voice is not boring
When you look at these statements, you can start forming what your brand voice is and actually stands for. For example, Carte Blanche Studio’s voice is slightly edgy, approachable, and creative – couldn’t you tell?!
Step 5: Put everything you’ve discovered into a brand guide
Once you’ve found your brand voice, you don’t want to lose it. Put everything into a brand guide or something as simple as a shared voice and tone document. That way, your team can refer it to when needed, and it can easily evolve as needed.
Also, if you work with multiple internal or external writers, they can refer to the document to learn how to write for your brand without too much back and forth.
Step 6: Enlist the help of trusted professionals
We all need a little help sometimes – and that’s OK. If you’re finding it challenging to define your unique brand voice, or don’t know how to translate it to multiple areas of your business, consider working with a branding agency (hi!) to help.
If you opt for branding services with Carte Blanche Studio, the team will work with you to develop a voice and tone that makes sense for your target audience. And when you sound good, you feel good, which takes your marketing to the next level.
Top 3 tips to help you find your brand voice
We’ve been fortunate enough to work with many different brands to help find their unique voice. So, we wanted to share our top three best practices we use in-house to help:
- Review your voice with many eyes. Everyone is different, so naturally, we all have different perceptions of the world around us. Something you think makes sense may not make sense to others, so make sure you get many team members to review your mission statement and brand guidelines.
- Make sure your brand voice is consistent. This is where your brand guide or document comes in handy. You could appoint someone on your team to be the brand guideline “enforcer” and have them review different areas of your content to ensure the tone is right.
- Don’t just go with what’s trendy – be you! Remember – you’re the only person in the whole world that’s you, and you have a unique voice to share. What’s trendy or humorous may not work for every industry. When you do your best to share your authentic voice, the rest will fall into place.
A final word
Finding and creating your brand voice is a practice that will help your business and also streamline your communications. It will help you get clear on your mission statement, motivate your team, and will help you create a recognizable voice to connect with customers.
If you need a bit of help nailing down your voice or putting together your brand guide, your slightly edgy, approachable, and creative friends at Carte Blanche Studio are here to help you bring your brand voice to life.
Learn more about Carte Blanche Studio
Carte Blanche Studio is Toronto’s leading creative agency. We’re passionate about the world around us and helping brands authentically express themselves to build a more connected future. Visit us online to learn more.