Keep in mind branding includes your brand's style, design, and overall visuals. But it also includes how your brand sounds - in other words, its voice. And that's what we're talking about here.
1. Define Core Values.
A brand's core values are of utmost importance, because they humanize the brand. Your brand's core values are what connect you to your customers, because they distinguish you from other brands. And when customers relate to brand's values, they're more likely to stay loyal to that brand.
But more than just knowing your brand's core values, know what they mean internally, to your customer, and to your community. This will help you get real clear on your values at each level of communication. I also find that getting this detailed makes it really clear what these values mean to you and can manifest them into action.
2. Create a Brand and Customer Avatar.
I often talk about building customer avatars, but it's also important and really helpful to build your own brand avatar, because they aren't necessarily the same. They may have totally different, but complementary personalities.
For example, in a sample Brand Voice Guide I built for a company, I defined the brand's avatar as a Rebel Leader, because the brand is very much one that is a disruptor, leading the way for positive change, and looking out for the people.
The customer avatar, I defined as the Every(wo)man - someone who wanted to belong, feel accepted, and connect with others. These two avatars may seem totally different - one is a rebel who is doing things differently while the other just wants to be accepted and belong. But they are actually very complementary, at least in this case. The Rebel Leader is shaking things up to give more accessibility to the Every(wo)man and to normalize her issues.
In some cases, you may find that the avatars have the same personality types, but either way, creating a brand avatar and a customer avatar helps paint a clearer picture of your brand as a whole.
3. Determine your brand's tone in a few keywords.
The same message can be communicated in multiple ways. By defining your brand tone with a few key words, you can clarify your brand's personality and make sure your messaging is consistent across the board.
4. Note your keywords and phrases.
We all have words and phrases we love to use, and they're just part of personality and vocabulary. For example, in the past, I used the word "awesome" a lot - which I more recently learned clearly identifies me as a millennial and is "not cool" to use anymore.
If you find there are common words or phrases, including made up ones, make sure those are in your Brand Voice Guide, and use them in your communication!
5. Know your story.
Your story matters. These days, besides a great product and service, people want to connect with brands based on their values and story. Tell us how you got started and why? What was the solution you wanted to solve? What did you discover that led to you starting the brand? That led to your goal and mission? Where did all this lead you to? Where are you now?
Telling your story creates trust and connection. People either relate to your story or feel connected, because they feel like you understand them - you understand their problems and needs.
Do you have a Brand Voice Guide? If you're interested in clearly defining (or redefining) your brand voice so that you can set up your internal and external communication for success, email me so we can get started!
You can also email me for a sample to see just what my Brand Voice Guides look like.
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