There are a few different elements that go into developing your brand voice, but they all start with you:
- What challenges are your potential customers facing?
- How does what you’re offering help them?
- Why are you running this business--both from an authority standpoint and figuring out what drove you to feel like you wanted to help your ideal customer?
- What is it that you value and how will you be running your business with those values in mind?
Next, they should be weighed against the expectations of your ideal clients and customers. For example--if you sell whoopie cushions--even if you are a serious business professional--chances are your audience is not looking for a highfalutin academic voice.
So who are your people? What do they expect? Are you going to be subversive and buck the trends? Below are a few common buckets that your overall voice might fit into. Note that your voice might actually be a combination of a couple of these, or something entirely different:
With all that in mind, it’s time to think about visuals. Your visuals should match your voice. Think about the whoopie cushion salesperson again. Does it make sense for the whoopie cushion to appear in a flatlay with a camera, notebook, cup of coffee, and some peonies? Not unless they are doing an irreverent spoof on different types of marketing and just inserting the whoopie cushion in for the LOLs. A talented graphic designer should be able to help you take your vibe and translate them into visual elements for you to use.
Another step at this point is to make a list of do’s and don’ts. I like to think of it as a box. Inside the box you are going to put words, phrases, and visuals that would work with your brand voice. Whenever you come upon something outside the box--you can compare it to the items that are already in there. Should they all be organized together? If not--you probably don’t put it in your box. It means that it doesn’t line up with your values, your tone, your vibe, and your visuals.
Coming up with a “box” or set of rules for your brand makes it easier to decide what will keep your brand voice consistent and what does not belong in your brand. The more consistent your voice, the more trusting your audience will be of your product, service, or mission--and the more likely you are to do business with them.
At IFC we help our clients develop their brand voice through the 7-part StoryBrand framework and through our branding studio. It has the added benefit of developing your business’s story as well.
For as we know, storytelling is so ingrained in the human experience there’s a section of our brain dedicated to it.
So if you are having a hard time developing your brand voice, give us a shout. We’d love to help you hone your message and develop a brand voice that is authentically “you.”
Amy Mertz is our Creative Director, StoryBrand Certified Guide, and copy writer. When not in the office you can find her chasing down her toddler, searching the land for great coffee, or espousing the current books on her nightstand.