Three steps to refining your brand voice to suit your target audience
In an era of quantity over quality, the internet offers a diverse and unlimited supply of content options for every audience type.
So, when it comes to figuring out where you stand in the industry crowd, understanding (and we mean really getting to grips with) your brand’s voice will ensure you gain an edge over your competitors in the fight to secure the interest of your target demographic and build a loyal audience as a result.
Whether you want your consultancy to come across as authoritative, your fashion brand to appear cool and carefree, or your fun catering business to be peppered with wit, whatever your goal, this all begins with your brand voice.
Before you create a piece of blog content for your shiny new website or send your first Instagram post into cyberspace, you’ll need to knuckle down when it comes to nailing your brand identity using our three-step process.
1) Really get to know your audience
While this is your business, your brand, your baby, that’s not to say you should build your brand identity solely based on your personal feelings about this venture and the direction it’s heading.
It’s crucial that you understand your demographic, harnessing a deep understanding of what they want to see from you and what draws them to the things they already interact with. By beginning with learning how to approach your customers as opposed to your brand voice, you’ll be able to build and adapt your content to their unique needs and interests.
Firstly, you need to look at the basics, including:
- Their age.
- Their gender.
- Their education.
- Their job role.
- Their interests.
Once you’ve gathered these insights (many of which can be easily obtained through Google Analytics), it’s time to create a portrait of your brand, building a picture of the type of person your typical customer is and designing your brand identity to complement your audience.
If your brand were a person, which social circles would they move in and how would they behave within those circles? Answering these questions will help you decide which types of content your customers are more likely to engage with – from written articles based on statistics to memes that focus on quick humour and social sharing.
Need help to define your perfect customers? Watch our Ideal Customer Masterclass.
2) Find your point of difference through content
For those of you who’ve already established a brand but have some concerns around engagement levels, gathering a representative sample of your existing content and going through these example pieces with a fine-toothed comb to analyse how you’re coming across is a beneficial place to start.
The important question you need to ask yourself throughout this exercise is whether each piece you review could have come from one of your competitors.
For pieces of content where the answer is ‘yes’, single them out and add to the ‘avoid’ pile. Similarly, if there are pieces of content that appear to portray only one of the many ideologies you represent, put them into a seperate pile – the goal here is to whittle down your examples to small groups of bespoke content unique to you and your brand.
By printing out these examples and displaying them on a whiteboard for your whole team to see, you’ll be able to create a visual representation of what works for you – putting you in a prime position to bring these elements together for a cohesive, blended brand identity.
3) Describe your brand identity in three words
Once you’ve analysed your existing content, invite your entire team to take a look at your selected samples – allowing them to help you identify the common themes across all pieces.
Having identified what you sound like right now, take it back to the drawing board and compare this against what you want to sound like.
To do this, pick three powerful, all-encompassing words that summarise your brand – expanding on these key concepts to drive the direction of your content. For example, if one of your words is ‘authentic’, then ‘genuine’, ‘trustworthy’ and ‘transparent’ would all qualify as close synonyms you could use to develop this theme further.
With these three words in your mind, write out a set of incomplete statements and hand them to your team, asking them to complete these statements with your brand in mind. Potentials to consider could include:
- My brand makes others feel ______
- I don’t like brand voices that sound ______
- Brand voices that are similar to mine include ______, ______ and ______
If answers are similar across the board, great – now, it’s time to incorporate these into your strategy. Alternatively, if the answers aren’t unified, you’ve uncovered a problem with your brand’s voice that needs to be ironed out within your own team before this message can be relayed to your content creators and, ultimately, your customers.
Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur looking to harness an authoritative brand voice for your new startup or you’ve decided it’s time for your existing ecommerce site to step up and take on its high-street competitors, a defined brand voice will prove to be the most important weapon in your marketing arsenal.
With these tips at the ready, we hope you’re encouraged to begin thinking about your voice and the impact this has on your customers today, tomorrow and beyond.
Read more branding tips
Love to build a unique brand your audience can recognise and connect with? You’ll find more helpful advice in these articles:
- How to work out your USP and where to use it
- 12 brilliant branding techniques for small businesses
- How to create a marketing persona for your buyers
- Five tips to help you create engaging content
Tori Atkinson is the lead content creator for Paragraft, providing bespoke content writing services for ambitious brands looking to find and nurture their brand voice.
Photo by William Moreland