Building a Brand Voice: An Interview with Emotive Brand’s Account Strategist
As an Account Strategist at Emotive Brand, Paige has helped many brands come to life. In addition to her role, Paige is also our go-to expert when it comes to crafting and developing a brand’s voice. She understands and deeply believes in the value of a well-articulated, emotionally impactful brand voice, and there’s nothing more rewarding for her than seeing a brand embrace their new voice and see the positive impact it has on the business.
In this post, Paige shares her thoughts on the importance of a cohesive brand voice, what a successful voice can do for business, and offers advice and guidelines on how to approach building a brand voice.
Why does voice matter in a brand strategy?
The brand voice is how the brand expresses its personality. When used consistently, the brand voice reinforces the emotional impact that the brand is trying to create with people most important to the brand’s success. The voice helps set the company apart from its competitors and creates a sense of familiarity that people need in order to become connected to the brand.
What can a well-executed brand voice do for a business?
The brand voice should be used in all external communications – from your website to sales materials to marketing collateral. Everything the brand touches should maintain a consistent voice. When people come to know and feel connected to the way the brand communicates and sounds, they’ll respond by being more engaged with the brand.
What do you feel is most important to consider when defining a brand’s voice?
I always approach the brand voice by considering the way it makes its target audiences feel and laddering up the characteristics of the voice to pay off the brand’s promise. If the brand makes people feel confident, the voice should be authoritative and precise. But you also need some guidelines to ensure that the voice doesn’t get carried away. A voice that’s overly authoritative may sound arrogant. And if it’s really precise, it may come across as inflexible. Knowing where and when to emphasize certain tones helps the voice flex and adapt to all brand touch-points. However, this kind of flexibility only works if the overarching voice has a solid foundation from which all communications derive.
What advice would you give to someone new who is trying to follow brand voice guidelines?
Imagine the brand as a character in a movie. How would that person say something? Would he be bold and boastful or cheerful and bubbly? Would he shout or sing? Would he be warm and welcoming? Is he laid-back or buttoned-up? By personifying the brand, you can write in a voice that pays off the brand’s emotional impact. If the voice guidelines are done well, they’ll clearly identity the tenants of the brand personality for anyone writing for the brand.
What should be included in guidelines for a brand voice deliverable?
A list of adjectives describing the brand voice is helpful but often leaves writers interpreting the voice on their own. Ideally, brand voice guidelines should include examples of what the voice is and isn’t. These parameters ensure that no matter who uses the guidelines, they interpret the voice’s characteristics the same way. A checklist also helps writers review a brand voice with a quick way to make sure the tone and language match the brand’s image. And finally, including actual copy examples in the guidelines with a range of contexts (such as a letter from the CEO and/or a social media post) shows the brand voice comes to life in a clear way that anyone writing for the brand can carry forward.