You set the tone of your personal brand statement with your brand voice. Your voice is the unique way you present your brand to the world. It is the sound of your personal brand statement. It shows your personality and introduces users to the experience they can expect from your engagements, products, and support.
In this article, we’ll share some ideas for understanding your brand voice and for putting that unique voice to work to define your personal brand.
Voice vs Brand
“What is a brand? A company by any other name would smell as sweet.” Right?
Turns out that a brand is more than a name or a logo. It is an expectation of the user that comes with those and so much more.
The term “Brand” encompasses everything that helps people identify you as a company – from your products to your websites to your employees. Your voice is part of that everything.
Brand voice is the personality a brand takes in its communications. It is the way you talk to your customers and your competition. Voice is the embodiment of who you are revealed through emotions expressed in words.
Examples of Business Brands with a Personal Twist
“Good done right.” Wendy’s is a brand with a mission and more than its fair share of snark. The mission is adoption and the snark can be found on old commercials and the current Wendy’s Twitter feeds.
From “I’m on a horse” to “who took my body wash,” the folks at Old Spice have fun with the brand but still invest in making an impact in lives.
For a product that began in 1917, Moonpie has certainly maintained its sense of joy and humor. When you visit the website you immediately understand that MoonPie is not just another amazing and filling snack.
Understanding the Power of Brand Voice
If you’re building a website for the first time or if you are just setting the foundation for your business, you might be asking yourself: what should my content sound like?
You may have a plan for the visuals and layout, but how long did you consider your content plan? You may already know that content is just as important as visuals, but did you stop by simply knowing you need content? What sort of voice should your content have?
It’s OK if these questions make you feel a little panicky. “Using your voice” is a hard phrase to define and not as easy to plan out (and maybe not as fun!) as visual design. You may even be thinking your “voice” is simply the keywords you use that define your business or the words that you have in common with your target audience. While those words help you build your phrasing and get on your audience’s radar, they’re still not enough to build a unique, identifiable voice that your business comes to be known by.
So, why is this voice important, and how do you find this unique voice while building your website?
What Does It Meant to Find My Voice?
In a sentence, your voice is your unique way of forming ideas into words. It is your filter for how you share what’s on your mind, and it’s influenced by everything that makes you you.
You may have never stopped to consider voice. It sort of comes out naturally, so we never really have to stop and think about it. But once we do, we’ll notice all the factors that influence it: our passions, our obsessions, our worldview, or surroundings. If we can gain awareness of these factors, we can more actively filter our voice to resonate with our audience to leave a memorable impression.
To think of having a memorable voice, imagine this scenario: you’re at a dinner party and everyone is talking quietly among themselves. But there’s one person at the table who stands out for telling a memorable story in a distinctive, compelling way. It could be their flow, their pitch, their dynamic word choice – something is keeping every guest at the table compelled. In fact, when you think back to the story that person told, you can immediately hear that voice again. This is the essence of a memorable voice.
In the business sense, your voice will translate to the identity you want your business to have. Your personal voice may very well match up with your business voice, but it’s important to examine the appropriateness of this. Is your business essentially you selling your unique skill set? In that case, it may be appropriate for your voice to take on your own personal tone. If your business is more a brainchild of several creators and deals with more formal clients, you may want to collaborate and agree on a single identity that best captures your shared passions and level of professionalism.
Why Does Brand Voice Matter?
You know this: the digital landscape is crowded. The chatter around the proverbial virtual dinner table is buzzing with every brand competing for attention. If your voice doesn’t rise above the noise to become that one seat at the table telling the most compelling story, there’s a risk that your story will be lost among the crowd.
In addition to rising above, you also want to find your voice so that your messaging is consistent. Every piece of news, information, and content your company sends out should sound as if it came from the same place. Customers will come to rely on your consistency and how easily they can identify you out of the crowd. The easier it is for customers to identify you, the more likely you’ll come to mind the next time they need help.
Tips for Finding Your Voice
You have a unique voice, but you have to find your way to embrace that voice. Do you struggle to find your place in this world, or in your industry? Do you ever wonder if you have a place?
It’s been said that there is nothing new under the sun, and for the most part that’s true. What is new under this sun is you. The way you look at things, the way you share things, the way you think things are all unique because you are unique.
It is your uniqueness that will define your place, but you have to take some time to define that very uniqueness of you.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The key to standing out in today’s noisy world lies in embracing your unique voice.
1. Define Your Voice
The young boy quietly watched the video from the other room while his mom worked in her office. The video restarted, so Mom thought it wise to check in on him. Any mom with boys understands that a long period of quiet can end up in disaster.
Mom walked into the room and immediately noticed two legs dangling off the back of the couch. She stepped around for a better look, and her son hung from the back of the couch watching the video.
“What are you doing?” She wasn’t upset with him, but she genuinely wanted to know.
“I wanted to see it different.”
His willingness to LITERALLY change perspectives allowed him to see things in a new way. It was something his mom noticed about him as he grew. He didn’t have to hang his legs over the back of the couch, but he did always make an effort to see things differently.
- What do you do that allows you to see things different or to do things differently?
- What do people point out about you (usually followed by something like, “only you”)?
- What do others ask you to do because they know you do it better?
The things others notice about you are some of the qualities that make up your uniqueness. When you identify these qualities then you are on your way to defining your voice.
2. Hone Your Voice
Once you define what makes you then you can hone the voice that will make your business and you stand out in the crowd. You don’t have to speak the loudest, or the longest, or the most bombastic to get attention.
When you are genuinely you then others will genuinely listen. The people that are purposefully listening will not only hear what you say but will also be more inclined to join you in your journey. Those genuine listeners become your super fans, and superfans create the foundation for community.
In the end, it is all about relationships, and honing your voice provides the conduit to share words with the people that will become your community.
3. Speak with Clarity
Know what you want to say and then say it in your voice. Others will offer guidance and suggestions, but don’t let the way they do things dictate your way. Stick to your voice and be clear in your message.
The pastor nervously stepped up in front of the new congregation. He had changed his notes the night before, something he had never done in his career, but he felt it was the right time and the right place. Clarity is about having the right words for the right audience at the right time. When any of these things are off, clarity can be lost.
The congregation had invited him to do a test sermon. They didn’t know him and he didn’t know them. When he drove home that afternoon, he knew he had blown it. Nothing clicked.
Fortunately for the pastor, the congregation saw something in him and offered him a job despite the bombing sermon.
Years later, the pastor preached the same sermon again. This time he knew the congregation and they knew him. The sermon idea remained the same, but he was able to speak with clarity because of his position and because of their understanding.
Clarity is not just about having the right words. Clarity is about having the right words for the right audience at the right time. When any of these things are off, clarity can be lost.
4. Speak with Boldness
When you have defined your brand so that you understand and embrace your brand voice and you know your position, you can speak with authority no matter the situation.
A mom sat in the bleachers watching her son’s ballgame, the second of the afternoon for the team. The coaches were on the field and the unsupervised teenagers began to get rowdy. When the wrestling started, the mom had all she would take.
“Turn around, pay attention, and watch the game,” she announced with authority.
The boys quickly settled down and turned their attention to the game. The dad a few bleachers away also turned around and settled down.
The mom hadn’t shouted, although she had spoken loud enough to reach over the chaos in the dugout. She had spoken with boldness that dictated she had the authority to speak. Even though she was not a teacher or a coach, she spoke in a way that assured the boys they should comply with her words.
When you share with boldness, listeners or readers will comply with the words (or will accept the words) because of the strength in which they were spoken.
5. Your Brand Voice Makes Something Old New Again
No matter what you write or what you speak, it has been said before. Maybe not in the exact manner you are sharing, and maybe not with the same tone. Still, the truth remains that there is nothing new under the sun.Know your uniqueness. Embrace your voice. Dare to be uniquely you.
Fairytales are a great example of nothing new being new.
“Just breathe.” The words whispered by Drew Barrymore in the movie, Ever After, were only one of many that took this telling of Cinderella in a unique direction.
The story has been told, on the stage, in animation, and over the centuries. The first known telling of the folk-tale is believed to date back to the 6th century.
It’s not a new tale, but each time the teller is new and the teller makes the story his or her own. In the case of Ever After, the writer envisioned the “truth” behind the story and therefore made the story his own.
What you have to say, or share or sell may not be new, but your voice makes it new.
Digging Deeper to Define Your Brand Voice
Finding your unique voice to help build your website depends on a few factors.
Does your company use your own unique skill set to generate revenue? Think of those who create content for a living, such as vloggers and writers, wgi will likely use their personality as their selling point and therefore, let their unique voice drive the company’s voice.
In most instances, you may want to simply create a separate voice for your business, giving it a unique voice based on its core values. It may be helpful to think of your business as a person, considering all of the complexities behind your business that drive its voice.
To find your voice, ask probing questions (either of yourself, or your company’s values and beliefs) and jot them down. See what arises when you confront these questions:
- What do you value most?
- What have you mastered?
- What gives you hope?
- What motivates you?
- What do you look forward to?
- What change would you like to see in the world?
- What would be different about the world because of you (or your company?)
- What makes you different from other people working in your field?
- If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Take some time to really consider these questions. When you think you’ve exhausted yourself, keep going. You may be surprised by what comes out after the “obvious” answers are gone.
With your list, circle words or ideas that pop up over and over again. What theme arises? What is unique that no one else in your space stops to consider and address? Identifying these will be the key to unlocking your voice.
What Does Finding Voice Mean In Terms of Brand?
When branding your website, you may think about how a brand looks visually, from fonts to colors to design styles. But as we’ve mentioned, the voice – the way you write your content – also creates your brand.
Think about it: a company that sells surf gear will take on the vocabulary and chill attitude of a surfer in their lingo. A Gen Z clothing company will have loose language and popular slang to connect to their target audience. They’ll appeal to their audience not just through images and layout, but the tone their copy takes.
If you’re thinking of how to create a website around your brand, consider these qualities to help find your voice:
- A clear purpose: Of course you’re not a ruthless business owner only focused on making money. You have a purpose beyond this for why your company exists. This should come out in your messaging.
- A likable tone: “Likable” depends on your audience – the boomer generation won’t like a voice full of slang they don’t understand. Likable doesn’t always mean funny or laid-back, either. Think more about being approachable and kind, and avoiding jargon. Show that you’re here to help, not sell.
- A tagline or motto: a snappy tagline may naturally arise as you find your voice, or could work wonders in helping establish the tone you’re going for. Keep it short and as “voicey” as possible.
How Do I Start Using My Voice to Define Brand Statement?
Now, after doing the hard work of understanding your voice and what fuels it, you’re probably ready to implement it! Keep these strategies in mind as you begin to infuse voice into your website content:
- Review current communications. You may find that your voice is inconsistent because of different writers using certain words over others. Or, you may find killer examples of times your natural voice came out before you were aware of it. From here, you’ll be able to note what your brand’s personality currently is and then begin the process of brainstorming more traits that you want to emulate.
- Document it. Begin with the notes you jotted earlier that helped you with your voice. If you haven’t already, craft your core values and mission statement. Next, think about common vocabulary, brand phrases, and most importantly, examples. These examples should demonstrate both how to write within your intended voice and what would constitute something outside of that voice.
- Know your audience. Spend some more time getting to know your audience and their communication styles. Does your voice resonate with them? What qualities does your voice share in common? (Spoiler: there should be significant overlap.)
- Understand tone. It’s all about how you say it. The exciting way you announce a new feature won’t be the same tone you have when responding to a complaint. Identify common scenarios you may come across and categorize them by the different tones your voice would take on.
- Refine: Your voice style guide should be reviewed and refined over time, and also during major events that may alter your marketing strategy. Remember: the words you used five years ago might not represent your company today. Without a consistent check-in, you risk sounding out of touch.
Use Brand Voice to Build Your Website
Need more tips? Keep these in mind as you build:
Make sure your voice is on every page of your website. Use this handy website content checklist to tackle each page with your voice in mind – even those 404 error pages.
Think about the font! The font is another element that influences tone (we all know how juvenile Comic Sans feels). Build your website and communications around one or two signature fonts. Check out the topography trends for 2022 to stay up-to-date and timely.
Keep a consistent color theme. Again, colors can influence tone or even impact the readability of your words. All of these little decisions affect how your voice is perceived. It may be worth reading Sprout’s guide to the psychology of color to orient yourself here.
Want to build out a blog or write more content in your unique voice? Review these tips for effective copywriting to increase a personal tone across your website.
Remember, your voice is part of who you and your company are, and once you harness it, you can create to your full potential!
To help build your website, Kadence WP offers an amazing theme and blocks to help you take your creativity to the next level. Download and install Kadence Blocks today for free, then start creating your site with exactly the voice you envision.
The more you understand the uniqueness that makes up you and your business, the stronger you can stand in your voice. The more you know your voice and the bolder you become in sharing with your voice, the firmer your foundation for success.
Know your uniqueness. Embrace your unique voice. Dare to be uniquely you.
Have you found your voice? Start putting your brand voice to work today by building your WordPress website.
Kathryn Lang believes it is simple, and as an award-winning author and natural-born hopesmith, she shares tips on how to find your why, pursue your purpose, and live a bold, intentional life – always with a dash of twisted encouragement.