Under the surface, marketing and advertising is all about defining and catering to personalities, from understanding who your customers are, to fully fleshing out your own brand’s persona. And it makes total sense. At the heart of it, business is about people.
The only problem with people is that over time, they change. Likes, dislikes, language, tone and communication methods are constantly shifting.
Added to that, is the fact that brand voice has a tendency to evolve too. Sometimes this evolution is driven by conscious decisions, but all too commonly, it take on a life of its own, perhaps under the helm of changing staff, or poorly enforced brand guidelines.
In order to prevent the latter and make sure a brand’s voice stays intact, many companies are auditing their brand to ensure that the core of their branding is resilient, and remains in line throughout all communications.
It Pays to Take Time to Investigate if Your Brand Voice is Effective
Each company will have its own unique voice and specific goals attached to their communications. However, it can be all too easy to fall into a rhythm of ‘getting things done,’ without taking the time to look back and assess the performance of your campaigns, website, blog posts and social channels.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to regularly set a block of time aside (e.g. once per quarter) to review the performance of your communications, as well as the tone.
Even if you’ve never done a brand audit before – now is the time to set a benchmark!
The benefit of building an historical view is that it will allow you to see whether all of the beautiful words and images that you’re sending out into the world are driving towards results.
First Make Sure Your Brand Voice is Clear
The first step to understanding whether your brand voice is on point, is to first have a thorough understanding of how it should sound across different mediums. Essentially, it should state how you bring that voice to life.
For instance, if your brand voice description only includes a few words like ‘authentic,’ ‘upbeat,’ and ‘informative,’ it will help your audit to fill in a few more details. Think about how these qualities will actually translate in communications. For instance:
- If your brand is upbeat, how often do you use punctuation that demonstrates upward inflections, like exclamation marks in your written communications?
- What about your word choice – do you have certain words set aside?
- What visual effects combine with your materials to create a feeling of authenticity? Does your brand color palette include bright pantones in shades of yellow and pink that indicate an upbeat disposition?
- Do your videos have a voice over that sounds happy and positive? Or are they silent or stale?
- Are you creating social posts that hinge on themes of encouragement, motivation or confidence building, for instance?
Once You Know How Your Brand Should Sound, Check if Your Brand Voice is Resonating in Your Communications
Once you have a solid idea of how your brand voice is communicated through your words, sounds and static imagery, taking a snapshot of how your brand is coming across through different channels is the next step.
Review each platform where your brand comes to life, both internally and externally. This might include reviewing your:
- Social media
- Videos or YouTube channel
- Audio mediums, like podcasts
- Press releases
- Conference and trade show material
- Slide show presentations
In reading through this material, does your brand voice come through? Where is it strongest, where is it weakest?
Holding a focus group with members of your target audience or a survey of your current clients can also offer huge insights, as they provide a way to step outside of any internal audience bias.
Do you notice any increases in engagement or feedback with certain communication styles or types? Do these popular assets match your brand voice… or are they telling you that your audience is connecting with a different personality than you had anticipated?
Re-Aligning Your Brand Voice so it is Mirrored in Your Marketing
If your communications are on point with what your brand voice description states and your audience is loving it – then you’re on the right track!
However, if you’re sheepishly scratching your head over the results, or simply at a loss when it comes to your brand voice description, the good news is that you can get (back) on track.
While your brand guidelines may describe what you’ll say, your brand voice determines how you’ll say it.
Re-Writing or Writing Your Brand Voice Description
Studies have shown that audiences prefer to be spoken to on a peer-to-peer level. Therefore, even if you’re not 100 percent sure what your brand should sound like, as long you know who your audience personas are, then you’ve got a jump off point.
Ask yourself: Who are my main customer(s)? How well do I know them – and how deep are my descriptions of their personas?
When you’re building this out, you may wish to think about:
- Where they live
- Cultural background
- Education level
- Interests and hobbies
- Challenges and aspirations
- How they speak to one another (this means everything from slang to the way they technically communicate, be it via social networks, phone calls, or in person).
There are literally hundreds of ways to approach the breakdown of your main personas. The above is a very basic overview, but will help you to suss out what your brand might like to mirror or appeal to.
Brand Voice Description Terms You Can Use
With your target audience personas in mind, you can dip into this descriptive list of brand voice qualities to build out your tone:
- And many more!
Literally, the list can go on and on, but you get the point – just like any other individual, your brand is unique and deserves its own distinct combo of attributes.
The resulting brand tone will form the undercurrent of how you want your audience to perceive your company’s personality.
Use Your Brand Voice Guidelines When Hiring for Voice Over
As an added bonus of having completed your brand audit, you now have a well-formed description of what your brand physically sounds like. This is a great tool to have when you’re looking to hire voice over actors to represent your tone and connect with your listeners or viewers.
Explore Samples of Voice Actors Who Have Brought Brands to Life
Now you can review a sample of diverse voices from around the world, thanks to Explore on Voices.com. On these pages, you can discover voices that resonate with your company and inspire your next project.
Check out Explore on Voices.com today.