A brand voice is essential to a company’s brand identity and using it in a consistent way creates loyal customers that feel connected to your brand. Walking into any Starbucks, it’s easy to know what to expect. Whether you’re in line waiting to order your drink, using their app or scrolling through their social media, the way a brand expresses itself is easily recognizable and its brand identity is consistent and familiar.
According to Starbucks’ current brand guidelines, they describe their brand voice to be “functional” and “expressive.” The functionality can be found in the way they direct customers to buy their products and their expressiveness is seen in the fun ways they describe their drinks. For example, their current website directs you to use their loyalty program with the words “free coffee is a tap away” and their featured drink is accompanied by the phrase “refreshingly radiant.” Their message is short, sweet, and always serves their purpose of being functional and expressive. This strong brand strategy and consistent voice have definitely played a part in helping them become one of the most popular coffee chains in the world.
Having a well-crafted brand voice is integral in creating a lasting, meaningful connection with your audience. In this brand voice guide, I will cover how to develop your unique brand voice and the best ways to execute it into today’s social media-driven world.
What Is a Brand Voice and Why Is It Important?
Your “brand voice” is all the ways in which you communicate with your audience. From your PR writing to your social content strategy, this communication should be consistent in the brand’s tone and language and evoke the main essence and values of your brand. By doing this, it will allow your company’s message and personality to shine among the competition and resonate deeply with your customers. This ultimately creates loyal customers and will help you reach your goals in a way that’s true to your values. Knowing how vital a strong brand voice is, let’s go through the main steps for creating your own, and review successful brandexamples.
Step 1: Understand Your Company’s Identity
Knowing your company’s identity is the foundation of building your brand voice attributes. Ask yourself these questions about your company and make sure it is well defined:
- What are your main core values?
Example: One of Starbucks’ brand values is “creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.”
2. What is your mission statement?
Example: Starbucks’ mission statement is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
Step 2: Understand Your Target Audience
Knowing who you’re talking to is important when deciding what language and brand tone to use. By understanding who they are, you can find the best ways to communicate with them effectively. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- What is their main demographic? (age, occupation, location, etc.)
- What are their interests?
- How do they like to communicate?
Step 3: Create your Brand Voice Chart
Your brand voice chart will be your go-to reference when creating content. Below are the steps to creating your chart.
- Choose a few adjectives that describe your company.
- Write the meaning of that adjective and how it applies to your company.
- Write the DOs and DONTs of using those adjectives.
Step 4: Execute Your Brand Voice
Fortunately, in today’s tech driven era, social media has become a helpful medium for communication. From Twitter marketing to Instagram strategies, popular social media channels have become essential for content creators in connecting with their audiences.
A great example of a company utilizing social media effectively is Netflix. Their witty online presence is evident in their trending tweets that demonstrates their brand personality and produces high engagement. Across all their accounts, they use the same humorous brand voice in every social media post to often poke fun at themselves or promote their own content.
This is absolutely fake. If you want free Netflix please use someone else’s account like the rest of us. https://t.co/PHhwdA3sEI
— Netflix India (@NetflixIndia) January 4, 2020
To the 53 people who’ve watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?
— Netflix (@netflix) December 11, 2017
The array of benefits that having a strong brand voice allows is worth investing in. Not only will you create a more loyal following, but you will reach your goals in a more authentic way (similar to what was shown in the brand voice examples) that is true to your values as a company.