Building a Brand Voice and Ways to Use it

Stewart Bounds
11 Jan 2022

What is a brand voice you ask? 

A brand voice is what makes your company unique and builds trust with consumers. It’s how your company communicates with clients, employees, other businesses and people in general. 

It’s your company persona. 

If you’re unsure what your brand voice is, check with your team to see if they’ve already identified what that voice sounds like. If they haven’t, then it might be a good opportunity to assess what your products/services do for your clients, what you’re striving to achieve with your business and how to effectively communicate that to customers.

When developing your voice, clarify the following:

  • Brand morals and values 
  • Brand personality and tone
  • How you communicate to build trust

Morals and Values

How do you want to come across to customers? What do you want to represent with your product/service? Why do these values matter to you? Who is your target audience? These are some of the philosophical questions you ask your team when determining your morals and values. 

Throw out all of the common answers like being reliable, attentive, trustworthy, honest and fair. Businesses should strive to exemplify these characteristics no matter what they’re doing. You want your company to be unique. Finding your industry niche, owning it and making it irreplicable, is just as important when labeling morals and values. 

Use these as the core of your business identity, especially when crafting your brand’s tone and personality. 

Personality and Tone

Developing your brand’s personality and tone will lead you down the right path to effectively communicate with your customers. 

If you don’t know where to start, a word cloud may help you develop some ideas.

Think of a word or words that describe your business. Then start throwing all of the words that come to mind at the word cloud and see what sticks. These words will be the tone and personality of your company.  From there, narrow those words down into a succinct description that defines how your business should communicate.

Another option is to set up a team building activity! Buy some food and give everyone an opportunity to give you feedback. Go around the room asking what your team thinks when it comes to how to best address customers.

And if you want to provide a non-verbal option for the folks that don’t like being put on the spot, pass around some sheets of paper for them to write their ideas down on.

It opens up lines of communications that give you the reality of how your company perceives itself. 

Whew, got a little meta there. 

Once you define your voice, you’ll have access to multiple different tones cohesive with your personality. Imagine that each tone has a specific utility when communicating. There’s creative freedom when exploring and expressing how you speak with your voice. Associating different tones with your voice allows you to grow your personality and your company story. Growing your personality broadens your audience because of the depth of your story. 

It’s a synergistic form of growth. All of the characteristics that your company has due to tone and personality attribute themselves to your story. You’re projecting your voice, providing your customers with an emotional component that they cling to. 

From there, you’re taking them on a journey by telling them what your morals are and what you value as a corporate entity. People sense this impactful story through emotions and patterns, finding resonant vibrations within your narrative feeding into their own thoughts and feelings. 

Since we’re talking about how you can better connect with your audience, let’s talk about how you can reach out to them on social media.

Brand Voice in Social Media

Communicating through social media platforms is possibly the thing that your company isn’t doing effectively enough. 

You’re following all the commonplace social media rules:

  • posting on Facebook and Instagram at least once a day but no more than twice
  • reaching out to other companies or tagging team members on LinkedIn
  • creating collages, albums or decorative how to’s as reference posts on Pinterest 
  • tweeting company updates on Twitter
  • creating short and relevant videos on TikTok
  • turning your long form videos on YouTube into abbreviated versions for SnapChat

It sounds like you’re doing it all, but is it effective engagement?

Communication is a two way street. If your audience isn’t interacting like you’d hoped, then perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your social media marketing strategy.

1) Different Tones for Social Platforms

Like the word cloud example above, this step uses word association to show common characteristics for what your voice represents. Having a different tone revolving around your brand voice allows you to open multiple lines of communication. 

For instance, what do you think when you hear the word “powerful”?

The power of persuasion or positive thinking. This one is a gimme.

Influential people hold powerful places in society because they make impactful decisions.

Dynamic actions show how capable you are of accomplishing goals or performing feats of excellence. 

Boom. Now that you’ve defined your powerful brand, pick the best social media platform to convey that your voice is persuasive, positive, influential and dynamic.

Identifying your tone is left up to interpretation and perception, so these words will differ from person to person. What it comes down to is how you effectively communicate with your brand voice. Establish specific goals for the different social platforms and how you want each tone to reflect an alteration of your overall brand voice, then use that tone to achieve your goals. 

Another way to enhance your audience’s experience on social media is by pairing visual elements with your brand voice. 

2) Use Visuals

What’s more attention grabbing than words? Visuals! Scrolling through a feed, anything will pop up. Images perform well on social posts and infographics are great when illustrating key differences for a subject you’re discussing.

For instance, 87% of video marketers report that video gives them a positive ROI (HubSpot). 

For more awesome stats, check out these WordStream and invideo articles. 

While images do well at adding to your point, videos are more successful at articulating a full message. Ironically, it would be more efficient for me to create a video about “Building a Brand Voice and Ways to Use it” than to continue writing this article.

Consider the options when it comes to video production. While it is an investment up front, the statistics show that video increases traffic on your sites and platforms, as well as a positive ROI. 

It’s arguably the best marketing tool when voicing your brand and it pays dividends when used properly. 

“About Us” videos are a great way to introduce your company’s philosophy and brand to your audience. 

A-Core Concrete Specialists asked us to help share their story through our lens.

Capturing emotion through storytelling is one of the most compelling ways to convey a message. People resonate with emotions because everyone experiences them, good or bad, and it builds a connection between the storyteller and the audience. 

Sharing videos on social platforms makes it more likely for your audience to see and interact with your story, but if you want your audience to engage with your business, then you should communicate with them.

3) End With a Call to Action

Inviting engagement with a call to action might sound gimmicky, but in reality, you’ve provided an opportunity for someone to voice their opinion. 

A simple, “Let us hear your thoughts,” or, “We’d love to see your feedback in the comments,” makes it apparent to your audience that you care about their ideas. After all, these are the people that you’re seeking more engagement from. Another way to show them you care - other than through your brand voice - is by asking them what they think. A client that cares is a client you want to keep. They’ll always have something constructive to say about how you can better your business. 

Your brand voice doesn’t just affect your customers, but it also cultivates a way of thinking for your company.

How You Communicate to Build Trust

A brand voice provides guidance to any team member who speaks on behalf of your business. Whether that be a blog post, social media post, a marketing plan, phone call, or video - a brand voice will guide how they interact with others. It provides integrity, building a solid foundation for trust.

Your company should effectively communicate in every way possible. Designing a marketing plan around your brand voice builds trusted relationships with your customers. 

How?

It’s formulaic. A distinct and easily identifiable brand allows your customers to recognize that you have a pattern.

People like patterns. They even wear clothes with patterns. 

Customers will associate relatable things that they see or hear with your brand because they’ve identified your specific pattern. You’ve become predictable. That’s not a bad thing. Use that predictability to your advantage.

You do this by circulating this pattern in creative ways, fostering the relationship that people cling to. Then you reinvent your wheel, expounding on what your brand means, yet still relating it to that keyword defining your company.

Let’s get back to it by looking at some fun examples of what a brand voice is.

Never Settle, Never Done by Nike.

Almost everyone knows Nike’s “Just Do It” trademark slogan paired along with their iconic “swoosh” logo. It’s been a successful form of branding for them that’s captured the attention of sneakerheads, athletes and anyone that has the desire to push themselves past their limits.

Having built a brand voice around beating the odds through continuous effort allowed Nike to traverse new heights and areas of focus. It has helped them appeal to specific audiences and demographics. 

“Just Do It” has a sense of grit and toughness associated with the phrase, building a sense of determination to whoever dons the brand. 

The video above extends that focus to women: professional soccer players and young women with aspirations to play professionally. 

You see clips and sequences of tough scrimmages, street soccer, training on the field and off, extreme pro highlights and sound bites. Nike tacked on more than “Just Do It” in this video as they demonstrated what it’s like to constantly battle with others and yourself. 

They manifested training into something that you could see and paired it with the results of going pro and never stopping. 

Their brand voice showed that if you work hard at what you love to accomplish your dreams, then you should be prepared to never stop trying to better yourself. Why? Because competition is always present, especially with yourself. 

Does the video explicitly say, “Just Do It”? No. But it definitely shows all these hard working women putting themselves to the test on a daily basis. Brand voice doesn’t just imply words - it implies interaction.

What can we say Nike’s word cloud looks like from this video?

Determination. Grit. Triumph. Work that doesn’t quit. Athletic feats that can only be accomplished through constant practice. Nike created a video that echoes their “Just Do It” slogan in a creative way that doesn’t explicitly say it. 

That’s good marketing. 

The Man Your Man Could Smell Like by Old Spice. 

The jingle that almost everyone can whistle (not everyone has that gift you know). 

It’s hard to say what made it famous, but for me, I definitely recall my pre-teen self watching this commercial because of how amusing it was. 

Combining all the absurdities, distractions and wit together was arguably the best way for Old Spice to rebrand themselves. I couldn’t remember an Old Spice commercial I saw before this one, but I can definitely remember a lot of the ones that proceeded. 

You can tell that the video appeals to a younger audience because of what it embodies, i.e. the man your man could smell like. It’s inadvertently speaking to the women of the world by beginning with, “Hello ladies,” but still directly targeting the ad towards men. 

What can we say about Old Spice’s brand voice? 

It’s definitely silly, amusing, and they maxed out their absurd quality that brought tons of energy to their voice. Yet, it has a hint of sophistication to it that provides the customer enough intrigue to take the brand seriously.

America Is Beautiful by Coca-Cola. 

I remember watching this commercial during the Super Bowl one year and seeing a lot of controversy on social media about it. 

Forget all that.

Coca-Cola showcased diversity and unity within the melting pot that is the United States of America. 

How? 

Through families eating together. Through people with differing ethnic backgrounds enjoying activities together. Through US citizens working different jobs and throwing them on a sequence so that they show all of our country’s differences together. 

All while enjoying a beverage. 

As you’re seeing all the differences on screen, you’re hearing different voices and languages sing a song familiar to all Americans.

All the voices paired in this rendition of “America the Beautiful” shows how diverse our country really is. It allows individuals to be proud of their heritage by singing in their native language and having that pride exist within their version of the American dream. 

It’s about expression and the freedom we have to do so creatively. 

So what can we say about Coca-Cola’s brand voice?

They want to project a sense of unity accomplished through diversity. Why? Because anyone and everyone should have the freedom to enjoy Coke, so why not enjoy it together as one country?

That’s not really why. Or is it? It’s honestly left up to your interpretation. You can choose to agree or disagree. At the end of the day, you can drink whatever you want.

So what’s the best way to communicate with your brand voice? 

Benefits of Brand Voice

Brand voice provides guidance to any of those who speak on behalf of your company. Whether that be a blog post, social media post, a marketing plan, phone call, or video - a brand voice will guide how they interact with others. It defines your identity and provides clarification.

A company should effectively communicate in every way possible because it helps people discern who you are. You're able to tell a story through communication and creating a relatable narrative is the best way to connect to someone new.

Now what’s the best way to communicate your brand voice? 

Brand Voice in Video 

All of the wonderful elements in each example were combined by syncing sound with video. It allows for visual, verbal, and emotional connections to be made with your brand.

All the visual components show their story and they’re paired together with the audio that tells it. 

With Nike, you get all the whistles and fast paced scenes combined with upbeat music geared to get you moving.

With Old Spice, you get that whimsy from the jingle and all of the sound effects brought by the foretelling words of Isaiah Mustafa as he’s displaying everything on screen for us.

With Coca-Cola, you get nicely shot scenery, family gatherings and people interacting paired with a beautiful rendition of a song known by all Americans. 

All these elements are necessary to your brand voice. I could provide a further breakdown of the elements and the shots and the music and the everything else, but you get the picture.

It’s all about what you’re trying to accomplish with your brand. What do you want to get across to your audience? How many different ways can you say it? A great way to make sure that everyone can enjoy your brand video is by including closed captions or subtitles. They’re not disruptive to the visual components your video contains and they’re super helpful when you’re watching a muted video.

Figuring out your brand voice isn’t easy, but it is meaningful work. There’s always a purpose for something. 

Find it. 

At BW Productions, we think that one of the best ways to communicate that purpose is through video, whether that be a commercial or through a brand video. What’s great about video is the multiple types that there are and the countless ways to share them.

Intimidated by the thought of a video project for your company? Check out one of our previous articles about the Nine Types of Video You Should Be Using in Your Business. This article showcases some of the work we’ve done for businesses around Utah, which could be the jumping point for one of your unique ideas.

Ready to take the leap? Schedule an appointment with our Producing team today!

Stewart Bounds

UWIPP

Utah Women in Production and Photography was founded by women for women. Their mission is to advocate for women in their respective industries. Women provide unique perspectives, skills and insight, making impactful decisions on set. BW Productions is proud to represent a dedicated group that advocates for and collaborates with women.