How to find your brand voice — 3 questions to get started
Brand voice. An essential (often overlooked) part of creating a recognisable and memorable brand.
Simply? Brand voice is the personality and emotions behind your brand. It’s the way you communicate and share ideas. It’s the thing that makes your business feel like a familiar human, rather than just, well, a business.
Whether you’ve vaguely heard of brand voice, you’ve already defined yours or you’re just dipping your toe in, this article will explore…
- What is brand voice?
- Why brand voice is kind of a big deal
- How to find your brand voice (with 3 handy questions)
What is brand voice, exactly?
Truth be told, this is a big question with a whole lot of nuance (and different answers depending on who you ask).
But what’s widely agreed is that brand voice is the personality and emotions of your business, which ultimately determines how you come across to your audience.
There are a few different things that contribute to brand voice. It’s…
- The words you use
- The tone you adopt
- The personality beneath the copy
- The cadence (AKA the length and flow of sentences)
“Ok, ok, slow up Sam. You said tone and personality under two separate dot points. What’s the difference between the two?”
I’m so glad you asked.
Your brand personality is exactly that — the fundamental characteristics of your business. It often helps to think of your business as a human. You might be fun, witty, quirky, serious, irreverent, professional, respectful, or trustworthy.
Tone, on the other hand, is the way you express your personality which can shift depending on the mood of the room.
For example, say I’m a bit silly. A bit of a joker, if you will.
Buuuut if I was stepping into my Dream Job Interview at Fancy Pants Corporate Role (haha) I would tone down the jokes. I’d still be ME, but I’d shift my tone due to the context I’m in.
It’s how brands with a fun, quirky tone of voice can broach sensitive topics without coming across as disrespectful.
So, why is brand voice a big deal? Can’t I just… write?
Ok, you CAN just write before you define your brand voice.
I mean, who’s gonna stop you? I’m not the brand voice police.
But I will say this.
Defining your brand voice can…
- Build a recognisable and trusted brand
- Make your audience feel as if they’re speaking to a real human
- Increase clarity, consistency and conversions
- Attract YOUR people by showing up as YOU
- Make writing for your business easier
So, if you ask me, defining your brand voice is worth its weight in golden retrievers.
3 questions to help find your brand voice
1. who is my audience?
This one’s a biggun. Because if you don’t know who you’re writing for, how can you get on their level and speak their lingo? Ask yourself…
What words do my audience use?
How knowledgeable are they?
What will they relate to?
And most importantly (drum roll) ask yourself… How do I want my audience to feel and react when they’re engaging with my business?
Do you want them to feel safe? Be warm, honest and respectful.
Do you want them to feel motivated? Be inspiring and upbeat.
Do you want them to laugh? Be witty, fun or playful.
2. If your brand were an animal, what would it be?
This question’s a little silly (hehe) but it’s also strategic.
The thing is, it’s not actually the animal that’s important. I don’t really care if you’re a hippo or a blobfish.
But I care about the reasons WHY you chose that animal.
And in my experience as a strategic copywriter, I’ve received some priceless responses…
- An ant — because they’re intricate, clever and work in colonies to build something bigger
- A giraffe — because they’re graceful, quiet and unassuming. It’s like you don’t know they’re there — but when you do, you’re amazed at their presence
- An eagle — because they’re elegant and command their space as they fly through the air
3. What are my brand values?
Values are something we hold close to our heart. They’re our north star that guides us on our journey. And ultimately, they dictate what we say and how we act. So, it makes sense to define your values before your voice, doesn’t it?
So, ask yourself what’s important to you (and your business)? What truly matters?
Is it creativity? Integrity? Diversity? Sustainability? Honesty? Reliability? Curiosity? Teamwork?
Defining your values requires you to dive deep and look inward. And if you’re a sole trader, they’re often a reflection of your own personal values, too (not always though).
When you become clear on your values, you can begin to define *how* these will sound in practise.
So go on, define your brand voice
These questions are a starting point to help you define your unique voice. Answer them. Brainstorm them. Read them to your dog. I’d love to hear how you go.
And if you’re reading this article and thinking “sh*t hot stuff, Sam, I’d really love your help defining my brand voice” then I’ve got the thingy for you.
My small business copywriting package is a mix of strategy and copywriting. It includes a Brand Map, which will define your values, audience, difference, unique selling point and personality. Then, we use this Brand Map to write consistent copy to create a recognisable brand.
Sam is an environmental copywriter and storyteller for conscious brands. Based on the Mornington Peninsula, she’s a former environmental scientist, barefooted nature lover and SEO geek with a knack for writing clear, heart-led and personality-packed words (that also wiggle their way into Google’s good books).