You’ve gone to great pains to ensure that your website is visually compelling, easy to navigate, and tells the story of your brand. Yet, you’re still having difficulty making a personal connection with potential and current customers. They’re not engaging with your brand on social media channels or sharing your content, and your repeat and referral business is lagging. What are you doing wrong? The problem could be with how your brand is talking to your customers; do you have an authentic brand voice?
Lack of a consistent, authentic brand voice is one of the biggest marketing mistakes we see clients make. In most cases, they are trying so hard to cast as wide a net as possible and be everything to everyone that they lose sight of the personality they want their brand to project – or, worse yet, they don’t have one! As a result, there is no consistency in voice, tone, and storytelling across marketing channels, or sometimes, even from post to post or page to page on the same channel.
Your brand’s voice is your written content’s “tone of voice”, its unique combination of word choice, tone, rhythm, and pace. A company that sells medical devices will have a different brand voice than a company that sells pet supplies; the former may be academic and matter-of- fact, while the latter will be lighthearted and fun. Regardless of the product or service being offered, the brand’s voice must be consistent across all marketing channels, from the company’s website to its social media posts, and even its customer service communications; customers should be able to recognize it the same way they would a logo or a slogan.
It is crucial for your brand voice to be authentic as well as consistent. Customers will quickly sense a generic or forced voice and be put off by it.
Clients sometimes ask why having a consistent brand voice matters. After all, isn’t it more important to focus on visual design, information and page level architecture, and producing quality content on a regular basis? In reality, a strong brand voice is what drives all of your marketing and branding efforts: your website content, your blogs, your social media posts, your marketing emails, and all of your written content. This helps your customers recognize your brand’s content across the marketing ecosystem, makes your brand come alive, and forges a personal connection in converting them from customers into brand advocates.
Customers do not connect with products and services generally; they connect with personalities. An authentic brand voice has a personality that is appealing to the brand’s target market, so before you develop your brand voice, you must understand your potential and current customers’ personas and maybe even a level deeper. Apart from understanding their needs, you must understand how they prefer being spoken to. What type of language appeals to them? Do they prefer a formal tone or something more casual and conversational?
Although consistency is key, a brand voice is not static; it evolves and changes with the times, the market, customers’ preferences and buying behaviors. If you find that your formerly successful brand voice is no longer connecting with your customer base, don’t be afraid to revisit and make changes to it.