If this past year has taught us anything, it is that companies need to have their brand voice stand for something. Just sitting in the background is not enough anymore.
When Forbes asked me to comment on how companies can cultivate a strong brand voice, the first thing that came to mind was that a good company also needs to be human.
Looking back, the social media work we have done with clients has all been in that pursuit, to allow their customers to see behind the scenes — behind the corporate cultural firewall that likes to keep all of the things that make a company great hidden behind a personless façade. To build a brand voice that shows who they really are and that speaks to their ideal customer.
We want to help them show a splash of personality. Signs of life. We want them to stand for something.
With that in mind, we responded to Forbes for their 13 Effective Ways Companies Can cultivate A strong Brand Voice. There are some great suggestions by some of my peers in the article, and I want to take it a bit further here with three ways create a strong brand voice.
3 Ways to Create A Strong Brand Voice
So many times, I have had people say something like, “I need help branding myself. I basically have all the necessary tools and knowledge, but I'm not making the impact desired.”
I hear you!
I want to share three ways to create a strong brand voice and some resources to help you get there for your own brand.
1. Be relatable, Be human
In social media today, people have higher expectations. Especially with customers under 30, you need to be more relatable. They expect you to stand for something and live out your commitment. Brands that are human and not just a logo or a color scheme do better than those that speak from a corporate voice. Also, you shouldn't try too hard. Just like your kids roll their eyes when you try to use their slang (or is this just me?), your brand has to be authentic to who you are. It is a balance that will require you to listen to and respect your ideal customer. It will also require that you use a voice that isn’t corporate or overly restrained. Take chances and show a glimmer of humanity.
2. Be Aligned with your brand vision
You as the owner or employee should understand the vision and purpose of your company so that you can align the way that you show up online to your vision and mission. We give tons of advice about how to create amazing content that is aligned with your brand mission. Watch the How to Create Strategic Content that Solves Problems as a way to align your content with your mission. When you are aligned with your vision, you come across as much more authentic than when you just try to keep up with trends.
3. Stand Out By Speaking Your Customer's Language
Connect what you are doing with your ICM (ideal community member). Your brand voice should have to talk to that person/ICM directly. The best way to connect with your ICM is to create content that solves their problems instead of heading directly for the sale. We use Evernote to capture what people say about their problems and comments that they make about our products or the problems they face that we know we can help them with. We use this “Word Vault” to capture language that we use in blog post, videos and even advertisements.
How do you create a brand voice that talks directly to your ICM?
In Smart Social Secrets we discuss the ICM pain point. What is the pain that your client or customer is experiencing, or what's the pain that keeps them up at night. You want to make sure that you are talking directly to that.
Here’s an idea of how we‘ve done that for one brand persona we use for a client.
|BRAND Persona/ICM: Miranda|
|ICM PAIN POINT||BRAND VOICE||BRAND VOICE DESCRIPTION|
|Get answers to their questions, without feeling stupid or uninformed|
|An accessible voice allows the persona to feel comfortable reaching out. Use lots of open-ended questions and CTAs inviting connection|
|Feel that they are the only ones going through this since most of their family/friends aren't entrepreneurs or business owners.|
|An empathetic voice allows you to create common ground with the persona, letting them know you know what they are feeling, then you can come behind that with advice|
|Looking for someone they trust to tell them step by step what to do next.|
|An insightful voice seeks to create quick wind and “aha” moments with your persona, which builds trust in your brand|
If you give a little time to this process you'll be shocked at how many opportunities will open right in front of you.
It’s easy to hide behind the logo or the brand because it just feels safer. But following these 3 effective ways of cultivating your company will help your company improve.
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