I had a great time at the Great Richmond Chamber’s event this past Tuesday, Bad Words: Build A Bulletproof Brand Voice To Increase Your Profitability.
Bayonet, a local branding agency, gave some great tips about brand voice that definitely come into play in what I do for a living. Here they are:
1. Decide on your company’s celebrity soul mate. Then don’t tell anyone this information. – Finding the person who embodies your brand can help you put the brand into words.
2. Figure out what language your customer is speaking, and speak that language back to them. “English” doesn’t count. – Speaking to your customer means you are also choosing not to speak to other people who don’t fit your market. Wal-Mart uses different words than Nieman Marcus.
3. Settle on a tone. Use personality descriptors for an easy way to get this into words. — Birch Box, a subscription service that sends out upscale beauty products, said in its style guide to avoid exclamation points whenever possible: “it makes us sound a bit like teenyboppers,” the guide said. Since you know who you are talking to, you need to use a tone they will relate to.
4. Take the time to make some style rules. Vocabulary, sentence structure, syntax, and, yes, grammar and punctuation. – How you structure sentences says a lot about your brand, Howson said. Le Meridian, the upscale hotel chain, looks to avoid commands in its marketing materials. Aloft, a hotel group looking to appeal to young, hip travelers, focuses on action verbs and evocative language.
5. Enforce across all possible channels. It takes many hours to build a brand voice, and one tweet to destroy it. – The voice on Twitter should match the voice on your website.