Finding Your Brand's Voice
Updated: Jul 6
Is your brand a daring Johnny or cautious Quinn? An exuberant Rachel or a sophisticated Dylan? Maybe a playful Sally or serious Louise?
Defining your brand voice can help you communicate consistently and be more relatable to your core audience. They will come to know you and, more importantly, trust you.
To help you define your brand we will first define ‘brand.’
Although brand and logo are used interchangeably, your logo is only one piece of the puzzle that makes up your whole brand. A brand is more than just a witty tagline, carefully curated social media content or beautiful print advertisements.
Your brand is the image or perception your customers have of your business that they have built up in their minds while interacting with you both directly and indirectly (visiting your store, reading about you on Reddit, talking to their friends, using your products, seeing your advertisements, etc.). It is this large, and largely intangible, universally accepted understanding of your company and your products. As a business owner, marketing manager, or creative director, you can guide this impression.
Brand anthropomorphism ascribes human-like – features, mental and emotional states to brands to see how relatable they are to their target audience.
Visualizing your brand can help you identify its (but really, we mean his, hers or their) voice.
Let us explain.
If you’re unsure what your brand is or how it is perceived, there is a neat marketer’s trick that can help - visualize your brand as a human being. Brand anthropomorphism ascribes human-like – features, mental and emotional states to brands to see how relatable they are to their target audience.
Here are a few questions to help you through the process:
Is your brand a he or a she, non-binary or maybe gender fluid?
What is their key personality trait? Funny? Serious? Playful? Spontaneous?
Where do they live? The burbs? Downtown Vancouver? On a farm? On the moon?
What kind of clothing do they wear? Denim on denim? Three-piece suites? Buffalo plaid and skinny jeans? Catsuits?
What kind of car do they drive? Ford F150? BMW? Something electric?
What kind of music do they listen to? 80s hair bands? Smooth jazz? K-pop? Bro country?
If they had a hobby, what would it be?
Are they baseball fans or theatre patrons?
What type of education do they have?
Where do they like to hang out on weekends?
You get it, right?
Give them a name, age and gender and go into as much detail as you’d like and see what you get. You might be surprised.
Magpie is a Michelle:
She's a cool and competent middle-aged woman with a university education and a background in marketing. She is a tall brunette who likes to dress business casual but lives for the weekends and her blue jeans. She has a house in the suburbs and runs her successful business out of her virtual office where she can balance time with her family and still meet her clients’ expectations.
She is passionate about Canadian food production, farming and agricultural science and connecting those industries with their customers. She appreciates good humour and a bit of wit but is also serious, professional and focused. She enjoys spending weekends at the lake with friends and family, reading a good book, completing a challenging puzzle, and listening to country music on her truck radio. But not modern country, more like 90’s country – Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, George Strait, Shania… you know, the good stuff.
Does she remind you of anyone you know? That’s the point!
Is your brand messaging driven by a strong understanding of your core values? If not, we can help!
Now use it, consistently.
Once you have distilled your brand into this replica human, it is easier to apply their tone of voice, likes, dislikes and personality to social media interactions, marketing materials, company policies and more. Simply ask “WWSS (What would Sally say) here?” Or Bob, Jin, Omar, Rebecca, Sylvie,... you get the idea.
Humans as a species value relationships and look for connections with each other. Knowing your brand's anthropomorphized characteristics and using them as a filter to guide all your communications and marketing messages can give your customers a sense of social connectedness with your company. And fostering a loyal customer base is always good for profits.
The next step is to give your brand character and understand its value.
Like a personality, brands are complex and malleable but must have a set of core values to guide them. Your mission, vision and values statements are the structure that guides your company philosophy and code of ethics. Are yours true to your company? Is your brand messaging driven by a strong understanding of your core values?
If you’re not sure, let’s talk!