When people think about brands, they often think about their visual identity. How does establishing a strong brand voice affect the way a brand can be perceived?
A brand’s voice can build trust, because it humanises a brand. You can create a persona, and make a connection. And, just as a brand’s visuals are stronger if they are consistently applied, the same is true of a tone of voice. The more consistent you are in not just what you say, but how you say it, the more trust you can build.
“…if I can understand the deeper purpose which inspires your business, I’m in a better place to articulate that, and hopefully inspire the reader.”
When crafting copy for a brand or campaign, what are the most important things you need to understand about that business?
It seems like a cliché now to say “start with why” but asking those questions can often lead to unique and compelling stories which illuminate the business’s purpose. Why did you start this business? Why do you love coming to work? And, of course, why should someone else be interested – what’s the difference your business can make?
All the details of what you do, and how, and how you’re different, are important to know, but if I can understand the deeper purpose which inspires your business, I’m in a better place to articulate that, and hopefully inspire the reader.
What’s a common mistake that you see brands make?
Probably talking about themselves too much, instead of thinking about their audience. I’ll give you an example with one particular word a lot of brands love: innovation. If you ask someone what sets their brand apart they might say “innovation”. That might be true, but what’s the benefit of that innovation for someone interested in the brand’s product or service? Again, there’s no point telling me your team has “87 years of combined experience.” Tell me how having a team with that much experience will deliver a better outcome.
“A brand’s voice can build trust, because it humanises a brand. You can create a persona, and make a connection.”
What are three tips for any brand when it comes to establishing a unique brand voice?
1 — The often quoted line by Oscar Wilde is: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” There really is no point trying to sound like another brand. You’ll find it’s also easier to be authentic. If you’re trying too hard, chances are your reader will see you’re trying.
2 — Read your words aloud. You’ll pick up little mistakes, but you’ll also hear how your sentences flow, if they’re too long, or if anything sounds out of place.
3 — Think about the design. I love working with designers because they’re secretly great editors. Forcing you to cut back on body copy, or craft the perfect headline to suit a particular image, focuses your message. And it ensures the brand’s voice and visuals are working together.