brand strategy

Simple Steps to Find Your Brand Voice

If someone saw your content on a different channel, or without your logo attached, would they know that it came from your brand? Without careful planning, you could end up with content produced in a jumbled assortment of tones and voices which may not use language consistently or provide a clear and consistent image of your brand.

More common in larger organizations and often exacerbated by external entities like agencies and freelancers, an inconsistent brand experience can nevertheless be a problem for businesses of all size.

Though some might think a brand that sounds human is more important than one with a consistent tone, a brand voice isn’t necessarily about sounding non-human: it just means creating a voice that is consistent, and positioning your organization as an authoritative and easily recognizable source of information for your area of expertise.

A consistent brand voice and vocabulary are vital for implementing intelligent content strategies and localized content.

One simple way to find your brand voice is create a brand voice chart. Below, we’ve outlined the five steps you need to follow to create and maintain a consistent brand voice.

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Identify a representative sample of your content

After gathering all of your content, from web pages and videos to e-books and your social media, cast a critical eye over it and identify those examples that could possibly have come from your competitors, and set them aside. Try to identify examples of content that are unique to your brand, and those that embody what you want your brand voice to be. Print these examples and put them up on a whiteboard, grouping them together with other pieces that have a similar feel.

Describe your brand voice in three words

Working with your key content creators and brand identity owners, as well as other staff such as PR, customer service and sales teams, and review all of your example content, discussing any common themes and grouping these examples into thematic groups.

Imagine then, if your brand was a person, how you would describe its personality to another person. How do these traits make your brand different? For example, would you describe your brand as:

  • Authentic

  • Quirky

  • Passionate

Define each personality trait further and try to identify how these characteristics show up in your content and topics, and in how you communicate with your audience?

For example, if you described your brand as quirky, is your content unexpected and irreverent? If you described your brand as passionate, is it heartfelt, enthusiastic and expressive?

Create a brand voice chart

Once you have defined your brand voice, you can illustrate the way it shows up in your content with a brand voice chart - an essential reference tool for ensuring consistent tone in all of your content. The chart should include three rows for your primary characteristics, and three columns for a description and do’s and don’ts.

A secondary row of characteristics can be added for extra explanation. For example, if your brand is described as irreverent, does this translate as snarky or “challenging the status quo”.

Make sure your content creators understand how to put your brand voice into action

Once your brand voice is defined and illustrated, make sure your content creators are on board with using it. This includes anyone who creates any public communication or content.

You can help them to understand by going through examples of content that exemplifies your brand voice, or demonstrating how to alter content that doesn’t. An electronic version should be made available to them, as well as, if possible, hard copies to keep in a visible spot for reference.

As the company grows and changes, revisit and revise the brand voice chart

As your brand grows and new competitors come onto the market, it is a good idea to revise your brand chart and make sure it still suits your business. Not a set-it-and-forget-it type of tool, it needs to grow as your brand does.

At regular intervals, gather your key staff to evaluate which voice attributes are working for you and which aren’t. Some, for instance, might be more aspirational - irreverence, for example, is easy in theory, but the writers may be uncomfortable with it, or higher ups may too nervous to approve snarky copy. Make sure all aspects of your brand voice are attainable, and revise them if they are not.

Content Strategy VS Brand Strategy- How The Glove Fits The Hand

So we’ve all heard of brand name strategies and we’ve all heard of content strategies. But despite what most may think they are not actually the same thing. It’s true that they fall under the same umbrella strategy yes, but in truth their differences are as great as the textures and uses of the shaft vs the canopy, they make up one very useful item but are used and understood differently while at the same time still connecting and supporting each other.

This is the very nature of business strategy when done right. Different components all working singularly in a greater master machine, all independent in their importance yet moving together like cogs in an engine.

So in our quest to oil up those gears, let’s start by examining how they fit together.

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  • Brand Name Strategy

    Put simply, a brand name strategy is the outlining design of how you intend to establish and grow your brand. It's the method in which you identify yourself and your company to the world including who you are, what you stand for, what you provide and how you communicate to the public. In essence it’s your company’s profile pic.

  • Content Strategy

    Content strategy is the way in which a company executes their proposed brand strategy via content created and released on their business site or advertising.

These two facets are singular in their importance yet work together to create a desired and necessary effect.

The Struggle In Aligning Brand Name Strategy With Effective Content

Unfortunately, in many organizations around the world today, there is a distinct disconnect between content strategy and brand strategy, statistics have shown that less than 40% of marketers even use content strategy in their daily dealings at all.

In most cases the daily grind has truly become a rat race in which pulp marketing is demanded to create a quick product market fit, and instead of focusing on innovative, long lasting marketing creations, content teams are forced to concentrate on only two objectives. Making the product and selling the product, a process that may be quicker but can and does affect the overall quality of what is being achieved.

The problem comes in when demand surpasses supply and the creative become the pressed. On a daily basis marketers are pulled in a million directions each one needing immediate attention and a speedy completion, and with so many needs pulling on your resources how is one to keep up?

While each and every company want to stand the test of time, it’s often time that works against them.

Overcoming These Obstacles And Properly Aligning Your Company

In order to build a strong and long lasting brand name you need to work with intent in everything you do. As the age old saying goes thought leads to planning and planning leads to action, if one does not plan correctly you could end up marching your company right off a cliff, and no you won’t have a parachute! Why not? Because you didn’t think to pack one- hence lack of planning.

A well presented brand and relevant content affects how you do business—and, most importantly, how you’re perceived. A misaligned content strategy not only dilutes but actually damages your brand.

So how can you improve this all important baseline, and where do you even start?

Here are some tactics to set you on your way:

Ensure that your Content Mirrors Your Core Identity

In the business world perception is everything. Simply saying something isn’t going to cut it! Each facet of your company needs to be punctuated with relevance and purpose. There is no better way to achieve this than by utilizing effective content. Content can help your brand when talking about causes you care about or sharing an exciting behind-the-scenes look at your office, it’s the perfect tool to draw people in and get them looking. While also describing who you are as a company in the now as well as who you want to be in the future.

Follow Brand Guidelines Like Dorothy On The Yellow Brick Road

As business owners we all want to reach that coveted emerald city! Gems, prosperity, success, wealth! It’s just unfortunate that none of us have the map, or do we?

In actual fact that is exactly what brand guidelines are. When preserving your brand, consistency is key. Everything your company does should follow your brand’s visual and verbal language, in essence painting a map of where you have been right through to where you plan to end up. A well planned journey is a joy to take and a timeous arrival.

Always Refine Your Content Strategy

No business strategy is immortal, times change and with it your needs and ideas. Because of this it is important to evaluate your strategies and refine them accordingly. Relevance has always been the key factor in keeping with the times and cresting the waves. This is easily achieved by monitoring your website metrics, keep up with the in crowd by researching current trends and elevate your content by including things that make people think.

Assign A Brand Content Manager   

If the emerald city was the promised land, the continuance of constant perfect execution would be its garden. In reality for most marketers via being pushed for time or inspiration this is usually not the case. Because of this it is always very beneficial to have a team member in charge of overseeing your content creations in order to ensure they are not only accurate but appealing for their intended use.

Making Success The Very Content Of Your Future Business Relations    

Brand names have long been recognised as the basis of a successful company, even going as far as the majority of society swearing by certain brands while others could actually be just as good they are in fact just not as well known. That is the very reason why we do what we do and strive to be fantastic at it. That is the very reason why planning is key and action is reflected in the final product.

At the end of the day if a company has all of its ducks in a row and its content is properly aligned with its brand name it shows. So the next time you find yourself bowing to the pressures and whims of time, buckling under the weight of performing, try taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture.