A brand's voice is the particular personality it conveys to its audience through words and phrases.
It includes the language and tone used in communications like text-based content, printed materials, verbal interactions, videos, and other multimedia content. However, it can also be part of the visual language the brand uses in things like infographics and artwork.
An easy way to understand this is to think of brands as people. When you first meet new people, you use certain language or discuss certain topics. The language you present is your “voice.”
Brand voice is an essential part of branding but it's not the same thing as branding.
Your brand is a collection of values, ideas, and associations that exists in your customer's mind.
When they think of you, this is the image that comes into their mind. The voice, on the other hand, is the actual language you use in order to convey your brand image to your customers.
Voice is important because it’s a key part of identifying your brand. You might know what your organisation stands for, but how do you get your target market to understand that?
You do that through speaking to them using your distinctive brand voice.
These are a few key features of a strong brand voice:
- It uses language that's appropriate for your target market.
- It speaks in a way that the customer expects it to speak. A cafe's voice should sound like a cafe not a pilates studio.
- It conveys the organisation's values. Through the words and tone used, it reflects the organisation's core values. Your audience members know that you're on the same team, as these values should resonate with them. An organisation's voice is unique.
- It sets one apart from others in the market place. When your audience members hear your voice, they know without a doubt that it's you and not one of your competitors.
An organisation's brand voice is consistent. It never strays from its consistent tone, language, and values. This creates trust in the minds of your audience. If a person encounters marketing materials from an organisation that are “off brand”, this can create a disconnect.
Businesses large and small, and in every field or industry, have to purposefully define and implement their own brand voice in order to successfully create an image in the mind of the customer. A strong, clear voice not only allows an organisation to cut through the noise, but also clearly communicates to its audience what it stands for.