Beneath the marketing messages, product pages and homepage banners of your online store lies an important foundational element of your brand – your voice. If you haven’t given much thought to what it takes to create a powerful voice for your online store, we’re here to help you get started.
Every brand’s voice is unique, and serves as a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Defining the brand voice is a key component of shaping your brand’s identity, and should reflect your company’s personality in every communication medium.
For example, if we were to take a sample of the brands below and associate them to one word, it’s likely we would pick similar words to explain them by. This is because these global organizations have created a consistent voice that we can "hear" beyond advertisements:
- Coca-Cola: Happy
- Apple: Innovative
- FedEx: Efficient
- Nike: Motivational
- Southwest Airlines: Friendly
- Disney: Magical
Even if you’re not Coca-Cola, you can get started on this important brand building exercise and apply it to your online business. Here are some steps to help you start thinking about your own brand voice:
What is the one thing you want every customer to know, and why is it special?
Define the purpose
To begin the exercise, define why your brand exists and whom it serves. What makes it different from every other brand out there? What is the one thing you want every customer to know, and why is it special? Most importantly, what does your brand stand for? Tying your brand voice back to the purpose of your organization makes defining your brand voice a much easier exercise.
Think of your brand as a person
If defining your brand voice in a few words is difficult (and let’s face it, it is!), take a step back and think of your brand as a person. “What do they look like?”, “What do they like?”, “What are their dreams?”, “Where do they seek advice?” are all questions you can ask yourself. Once you identify someone to speak with, you can shape your tone and voice to their needs.
Every "touch" you provide to customers should reflect the brand voice and who you represent as a company.
Keep it consistent
Whether it’s a tweet, a landing page, a webinar or a blog post, your voice should be consistent across all channels. Don’t create a jarring experience for your customers by having a relaxed, friendly tone in one communication medium and contrast it with a voice of sass and sarcasm in the next. Every "touch" you provide to customers should reflect the brand voice and who you represent as a company.
Remember your voice should be difficult to replicate
Just like your brand personality, no one can copy your brand voice directly and get away with it. Use other brands for inspiration when trying to nail down your tone, but remember to always go back to the one thing your organization believes in most. Your brand voice should be an authentic expression of your business’ personality. Remember to keep it as true to your brand as possible. (In other words, you should never feel as though you’re trying too hard.)
Though defining your brand voice is an important exercise, remaining flexible is a must when you’re shaping a brand. As your online business grows, your brand will evolve and serve the needs of different groups of customers. Keep developing your voice, and don’t feel confined as your business changes.
How do you define your voice? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!