Your brand's voice is comprised of its tone and its word choice among other components. Together with your brand's archetype, personality and visual style, your brand's voice helps you to personify your brand.
Any or all of these might be components of your brand's voice:
- Accent (socio-economic, regional or foreign)
- Young or mature
- Vocabulary (frequently used words and phrases and never used words and phrases, grade level of vocabulary)
- Syntax - the structure of the words and other linguistic elements
- Verbose versus concise (length of sentences, use of parenthetical phrases)
- Use of slang, jargon or buzz phrases
- Use of analogies, metaphors and other figures of speech
- Coining a new phrase unique to the brand
- Sense of humor
- Sonic qualities (including volume, pitch, male versus female)
- Tempo and cadence (lilting?)
When thinking about different brand voices, consider Faulkner versus Steinbeck. Or Alister Cooke (Masterpiece Theatre) versus Tom Bodett (Motel 6: "We'll leave the light on for you."). Consider GEICO's gecko or Ernie the pistachio-loving elephant. Or even consider Columbo the unassuming but shrewd homicide detective with seemingly incoherent circumstantial speech in the television series of the same name.
The following are different tones of voice that you might consider:
- Laid back
- Folksy or "down home"
- "Every man" or "every woman"
- Soft spoken
- Upbeat or optimistic
And following are different tones of voice that you probably want to avoid:
Sometimes, it is easiest to point to a well-known personality who embodies what you want your brand's voice to be. Perhaps you would use that person as a brand spokesperson or at least as a shorthand for what you want your brand's voice to be.
If you do not have one marketing agency presenting your brand across all media, you should consider including a detailed description of brand voice as a part of your brand positioning statement. This may include a brand voice dictionary of frequently used words and phrases.
The more you are able to personify your brand in a unique and highly compelling way by defining its archetype, personality, voice and visual style, the more your brand will come to life as if it were a person. If you need more help in this endeavor, contact us about our brand voice (and visual style) worksheet(s). Good luck.
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