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What is: brand voice?

Building a brand that connects with consumers and adds true value to a product or service is a tricky business. It requires a massive investment of time, money and effort. But, as any CMO or Brand Manager worth their salt will tell you, the investment is worth it.

In today’s competitive marketplace, effective branding can mean the difference between a company’s unbridled success or its untimely failure. Although most would like to think that offering a quality product at a reasonable price is enough, the truth is that’s seldom the case. While quality and price are certainly important, it is branding that sets a company apart from its competitors and helps it build robust customer lifetime value.

From your company’s name to your logo design, from your product’s packaging to the colors you use on your website and the videos in your Facebook ads, every element of how you present your brand to the world has been planned and discussed, carefully and thoughtfully, from the day of your company’s founding.

Why? Because you understand the single most immutable truth in the marketing game: branding matters.

There is one element of effective branding, however, that often doesn’t get the respect and forethought it deserves. That element is brand voice.

What is brand voice, exactly?

Brand voice is the consistent expression of a brand’s core messages, values, and personality through the purposeful use of words and prose styles. It is the linguistic representation of all the individual elements that make up your brand and manage how that brand is perceived by the consumers who are aware of – or interact with – your brand and its products in any way.

Whether it’s the irreverent, disruptive voice of The Dollar Shave Club or the calm, trustworthy voice of Berkshire Hathaway, what you say and how you say it has a BIG impact on how consumers perceive your brand.

Why does brand voice matter?

As with any important aspect of effective branding, brand voice is capable of reaching consumers on a subconscious level and affecting the impression they have of your brand’s products and the feelings they will associate with them.

There’s a reason why your customers buy from you, and often more than one. The truth is, they may not even completely understand why themselves, but that doesn’t mean that those reasons aren’t important. Effective branding gives your customers a reason to buy from you, and the words, phrases, and prose styles you choose have the power to either reinforce that reason or detract from it.

As we at Phrasee have always believed, every touchpoint in the customer journey is vital. Sadly, in the quest for more opens, clicks, and engagement, many brands seem to have forgotten this. Clickbait headlines on your blog posts, open bait subject lines in your emails, and other spurious tactics may offer a short-term engagement uplift, but ultimately they will do little more than annoy your audience and damage your brand.

The way you deliver your brand’s message to consumers is important. In an increasingly competitive marketplace with increasingly crowded marketing channels, few brands can afford the damage that off-brand messaging can do.

What should brands do?

Maintaining a consistent, well thought out brand image is crucial to the success of your brand. That’s why you’ve spent so much time strategizing and testing before implementing any change to your logos, packaging, website design, or digital marketing strategy. The words, phrases, and messaging your brand uses should be afforded exactly the same amount of consideration.

Ensuring that every customer-facing aspect of your brand is on the same page can help insulate your brand from the damage threatened by poorly crafted language and messaging.

For many modern brands, however, marketing strategies extend beyond in-house teams. Third-party SAAS vendors, paid influencers, and other audience-facing elements of your marketing strategy will need to be brought (and kept) up to speed as well. If your brand makes use of any AI-marketing tools (which you should), or have plans to do so in the future, make sure that the marketing language they are generating for you is brand-compliant and ethical in all dealings with your customers.

With proper communication between you, your marketing team, and your third-party vendors (and a little vigilance), maintaining a consistent, appealing brand voice is well within reach. The only question is, what are you waiting for?

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