Your brand’s voice stretches further than you think

Human voice recordings are everywhere - from your business' voicemail system to the elevators in the building - and it's salient for marketers to consider what their actual brand's voice sounds like, from its tone and personality down to its gender, accent and age, so that it is consistent with the brand's content and aligns with how their customers want to be spoken to. Stephanie Ciccarelli, the founder and chief brand officer of Voices.com offers advice to marketers on how to identify a voice actor to be the audio signature of the organisation's brand expression.

If a company is to leave a lasting impression on consumers, it needs to ensure it has a strong brand voice.

Of course, many of us tend to perceive the idea of a brand voice from a metaphorical, content-focused perspective — it defines the tone of website copy, blogs, e-mail newsletters and more — which makes it easier to distinguish that company from the rest of the competition.

Of course, a brand voice in this sense is vital to success. But equally important, if not more so, is the literal human voice, which has an incredible effect over us.

We hear it constantly as we go about our daily lives, not just from humans themselves but through technology such as business voicemail systems and public elevators, and so it makes complete sense to have a real-life voice that perfectly reflects your business ethos and values.

Of course, this is easier said than done — there are so many factors to consider when searching for the right voice, including age, role, accent and language — and finding the ideal voice that resonates with your brand and your audience can be hard work. With the following tips, however, you’ll stand a much better chance of finding the perfect match.

Know your brand inside out

Because a voice is both metaphorical and physical, it is often helpful for brands to see themselves as an individual being; a person who speaks in a certain way and has their own unique set of values, attitude and behaviours.

what makes your brand persona unique?

Have a think about your own brand. Is it someone who’s warm and friendly, or aloof and quirky? Are they someone different entirely?

The most successful brands will have a crystal-clear idea of who this individual is, and will know exactly how this individual can effectively engage with its target audience. More than this, these businesses are fully aware that any potential clients will be basing their first impressions on the quality and tone of these communications.

To develop your unique brand voice, ask yourself: what makes your brand persona unique? What’s your backstory? And why is your brand so passionate about what it does? Answering these questions will provide a solid foundation for you to continue building upon.

A brand voice is not singular

Finding a voice that suits your brand is about so much more than simply choosing something that sounds great on a radio advert or an online video. In almost all cases, a brand voice is something that is embodied by everyone that is involved with the company, from employees to affiliates.

In much the same way that a human voice conveys a broad spectrum of emotions, a brand voice must be multi-faceted, behaving differently depending on context and scenario.

approach your brand voice in the same way an interior designer might approach a new project

The distinctiveness of the voice, however, lies in its consistency: no matter the circumstances, the brand values must always shine through.  

It can be helpful to approach your brand voice in the same way an interior designer might approach a new project. Cohesive design doesn’t simply mean choosing the same colour for every room — instead, all the shades and materials should complement one another and create a theme.

The flooring should pull colours from the walls and enhance the materials on your countertop, for example. The quality, timbre, pitch and texture of your brand voice should be treated similarly.

Consider a brand ‘caretaker’

No matter how strong your brand voice, it won’t count for much if it isn’t recognised across all consumer channels and touchpoints.

brands should consider appointing ‘caretakers’ of the brand that are tasked with ensuring consistency

If your business has one department creating voicemail messages, another writing customer service scripting and yet another delivering commercial content, there is likely to be a huge difference from each in terms of language and tone of voice.

To prevent this, brands should consider appointing ‘caretakers’ of the brand that are tasked with ensuring consistency across the board. Ideally, the person(s) assigned to this role should already be involved in the brand’s communications and allow all employees to understand clearly how the brand voice must be conveyed.

This will help the voice itself to evolve over time, while growing in tandem with business growth.

Consider how your voice affects your audience

Most importantly, your brand voice must leave the desired impression on everyone that reads or hears it. Brands must know exactly how they want their audience to feel post-interaction and adapt the voice accordingly to meet their goals.

Every brand interaction should ultimately boil down to helping your audience while demonstrating the true expression of your brand in that same context.

Of course, every business will have a different idea of what their brand voice should be, but with the right approach, it might just prove to be your most valuable asset.

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