Brand voice guide: what is brand voice & how to develop it

10 // 01 // 2022

Developing your brand's voice is critical to connecting with your audience. Having a consistent voice on your website and across your marketing channels will help potential and current clients feel connected to your brand and make it easier for them to trust what you have to say. When you create your company’s unique voice, you can stand out from your competitors and show up authentically online. Read our brand voice guide to learn what brand voice is, why you need it, and strategies for developing it to ensure your voice is unique, on-point, and represents you.

Brand Voice Guide: What is a Brand Voice?

Your brand voice is your brand’s personality exemplified through how you communicate with your audience, whether via your website copy, social media post captions, email communications, blog posts, and more. It also influences how you show up visually, market yourself, and position yourself above your competitors. Essentially, brand voice is a combination of your personality, beliefs, and goals, as well as your audience’s wants, needs, and interests. 

Brand Voice Guide: Why Do You Need a Brand Voice?

An established brand voice provides consistency and cohesiveness in what you say, how you say it, how you show up visually, and your business decisions. Your brand voice impacts your company’s USP (unique selling propositions), falls in line with your company’s values, and reinforces your brand’s mission. With a solid brand voice in place, your audience can come to know you, like you, and trust you, which leads to them engaging with all you have to offer.

Brand Voice Guide: 7 Steps to Develop Your Brand Voice and Show Up Authentically Online 

When representing your company online, you want to ensure that your personality and brand voice shine through. But how can you be sure that you're portraying yourself authentically? And what should you keep in mind when developing your voice for the web? Follow these steps to establish an authentic voice and show up consistently across all platforms. 

Brand voice guide, what is brand voice, how to develop brand voice

1. Identify Your Target Audience 

Your target audience plays an essential role in developing your brand voice. After all, you will use your brand voice to speak to them online, so it’s important to know exactly who you are talking to. The more detailed you get, the easier it will be to understand how to communicate with them. To identify your target audience, answer these questions:

What is their gender? 

What is their age?

Where do they live?

What do they do for a living?

How much money do they make?

Are they single, married, or have children?

What are their interests; what do they love?

What are their challenges; what do they hate?

What are their goals, hopes, and dreams?

You may have more than one target audience, and that’s ok. Regardless of how many you have, it’s important to know them as you know yourself. Give them lives. Make them real. Turn them into someone you picture in your mind as you continue developing your voice throughout this brand voice guide.

2. Consider the Words You Say

Even if you haven’t spent dedicated time developing your brand’s voice, you likely have aspects of it already. Think about the words or phrases you often use when communicating with potential or current clients. Read past blog posts and social media captions you’ve written. Listen to a recorded meeting or video of yourself talking about your business. What words and phrases do you repeatedly say? Write them down. They are an essential part of your brand voice and help identify how you’re already speaking to your audience.

3. Consider the Words You Never Say

On the contrary, think about the words or phrases you never say. What are the terms that make you cringe or those words that just aren’t you? Maybe it’s a cliché marketing phrase that’s overused or a call-to-action you find pushy. Knowing what your brand voice is not is just as important as knowing what it is. So, write down these words and phrases too. 

4. Look at Your Competitors

Check out a few of your competitors’ social media pages, websites, and blogs, and jot down what you like and don’t like about their brand identity and how they communicate with their audience. While you should never copy someone else’s voice–because that’s not very authentic–you can identify ways they connect with their audience and use similar methods to connect with yours. 

5. Browse Brands You Love

Another place to look when developing your brand voice is other brands you love. They don’t have to be your competitors or even related to your industry. You can still find things that are working and make them work for your company’s brand voice.

6. Create a Keyword Bank

By this point in the brand voice guide, you likely understand the communication strategies you want to use to connect with your audience. So, create a keyword bank of the words and phrases that identify your brand. Include adjectives that describe how your brand communicates (assertive, tactful, sincere, inspiring, energetic, etc.). You can also create a bank of the words and phrases you’ll never use. 

7. Jot Down Your Brand Voice Rules

Now that you know the words and phrases that define your brand, it’s time to develop some rules around your voice. Come up with no more than 10 non-negotiable rules that represent your brand voice. Remember, your brand voice is the “who” behind your brand, the personality. Develop guidelines that you’ll follow anytime you communicate with your audience online. Brand voice rules examples include statements like the following:

We always back up our claims with proof and examples.

We don’t use marketing jargon, slang, or “fluff.”

We are passionate about what we do and aren’t afraid to show emotion. 

We aren’t overly informal, passive, or unprofessional.

We are bold and don’t back down from challenges; we’re confident in who we are.

8. Write Key Brand Elements 

Congrats on making it to the end of this brand voice guide. Now that you’re on step eight of developing your brand voice, it’s time to put everything into practice and start writing. Your brand voice should be infused into every part of your brand. So start using the rules and words you’ve identified to write your brand’s vision statement, mission statement, and core values. Make sure they embody your brand’s personality and your target audience’s needs and expectations. These statements are the basis of your brand and will be the foundation from which you communicate with your audience authentically online.

Blending Brand Voice and Website Design

While your brand voice directly influences how you communicate, it also impacts how you show up online visually. Everything about your company website, from what it says to how it looks to how it functions, should be in line with your brand voice. Turning your voice into visuals is what we do best at mint & poppy. Check out our branding and website design services to learn how we can help you show up online in a way that not only sounds but looks and feels like you.