In times of political turmoil and global unrest, caused either by an oncoming recession or the onset of a pandemic like coronavirus/COVID-19, people seek out comfort—while they might keep up on the news, they want to be reassured that life will still go on, and that there are positive things still happening out there.
For companies, it’s important that you enact this need, providing people with a sense of comfort in such strange times. But how do you do this? What are people really looking for? In a time where the world feels divided and socially distant, people are seeking compassion and inclusivity—that they are cared for and personally considered. How can you, as a business, provide this to people? It requires your brand gaining a personality—what some might consider to be human-like. This can be achieved by leveraging your business’s brand voice.
What Is Your Brand Voice?
Your brand voice is how you speak to your audience. It’s the words you use, the syntax you rely on, and the language that most resonates with your audience. You might not expect it, but the language you use when communicating with your audience truly matters: A brand voice that speaks in highly scientific, jargony, sterile language will feel clinical, dry, drab; a brand voice that constantly uses memes, emojis, and hashtags to talk to their audience will feel fake, as if they’re trying too hard.
Finding your brand voice can seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple questions and some exploration into your audience and customer-base, you can figure out what language is right for your brand.
Creating Your Voice
The objective behind creating your brand voice is to create a personality for your business—one that is presented every time you speak to your audience. This voice should be consistent whenever you’re speaking, whether writing a receipt for a customer, responding to a customer complaint, or interacting with someone through social media.
No matter what part of your business you’re speaking through, your brand voice should sound exactly the same. But where do you start when creating this voice?
The easiest place to begin is to consider your audience. Who are the people that make up your audience? What does your average customer look and sound like? Better yet, what do they want to hear when having a conversation?
The most compassionate, relevant, and considerate brand that will speak to them is the one that will feel authentic and personable—a brand that …
- Doesn’t patronize them
- Treats them seriously
- Considers them to be an equal
- Doesn’t confuse them with verbose language
To define your brand voice, you need to understand what type of language this person will use and how you can best recreate that voice while doing the above. This includes determining what type of jargon might be viable and which is off-limits; whether humor is dry, over-the-top, or non-existent; whether language is regularly serious and academic or sometimes light-hearted and playful.
By identifying your average customer, you begin creating a layout for the type of language that will be useful when creating your brand voice.
The most important thing you can do as a brand is remain consistent. Your best friend doesn’t change the way they talk to you on the phone, in person, over email, through Zoom, or via Twitter and Instagram. They’re consistent: They have a personal voice, and it emanates anytime they write or speak.
Your brand should aim for the same exact thing. Your business should have a personal vocabulary and manner of speaking just the same as you do—this is what makes you identifiable, personable, unique, and human.
There shouldn’t be deviation among your brand voice—which is why you need a style guide. No matter who is writing for your company—a customer service chatbot, a content writer, or a public relations employee—all should write in the same brand voice. This consistency is key to making your brand feel more genuine and human.
Ways to Leverage Your Brand Voice
Affiliate Marketing Strategy
An affiliate marketing strategy is a great way to regularly connect and engage with your audience. The best part is that you don’t always have to be the person talking; with affiliate marketing, you can effectively utilize other businesses and social media influencers to represent your company, sharing your ethos, voice, products, and services with their own audience in an authentic, compassionate way.
To push your brand voice, you can create a set of brand guidelines to be shared with your affiliates, which will outline wording and language that’s approved for use. When presented by an affiliate to their own audience, your brand will feel natural, resonating with the needs of people in hopes to increase your own user engagement.
Social Media Strategy
Looking to run customer service, share company updates, or talk about upcoming products through your social media handles? While you might already be doing this, you can enhance your strategy by implementing developed brand language, working with diction that is more empathic, caring, and compassionate. By speaking directly to your audience as if they were another user, your brand will feel more human and personalized, rather than just some other business.
If you’ve already secured a sale with a customer or they have simply signed up for your mailing list, you want to keep them in the loop and whatever you send to them you want to be effective, knowledgeable, and considerate.
Customer relationship management (CRM) emails are a great way to leverage your brand voice to you and your audience’s advantage. With a proper mailing list, you can regularly reach out to past customers to fill them in about your business updates, as well as sharing useful information concerning whatever is going on in the world—e.g., You can share an email that links to a blog post discussing what your business is doing to help during the time of COVID-19.