3 tips for creating a strong, consistent brand voice
One of the more challenging elements of creating a brand that connects with your ideal audience is the development of your “brand voice” – the way of communicating with your audience that embodies the core qualities of your brand and sets you apart to your audience.
But what is a brand voice?
Think about it like this: in real life, you have a unique way of communicating with your friends, family and clients. Are you outgoing or reserved? Edgy, or more conservative? Bright and friendly, or calm and professional?
Your brand also has a voice. Your brand voice is the way in which you express yourself to your audience – and it needs to be consistent. It’s key to building a strong connection with your audience so that they know, like and trust you.
There’s no real formula for developing a brand voice that comes naturally to you and resonates with your audience. To a degree, it happens over time as you grow into your brand and as you learn more about your ideal customers and how you relate with them.
That being said, developing and maintaining a consistent voice for your brand also takes intention. You’ll be engaging with your audience in a lot of different ways and spaces, including:
Email newsletters and marketing
Speaking & presentations, if you’re a speaker
Interaction with your audience through blog post comments, social media, email, and client relationships
Making sure that your brand consistently stands out and is recognizable doesn’t just happen – it requires focus and care. So, today I want to share three things to keep in mind as you develop your own brand voice.
1. Consider how you relate to your audience
You probably speak differently with your friends than you do with your parents or grandparents, don’t you? Each relationship is different – and so is the way that you relate to the person within the context of that relationship.
The same applies to your audience. How do you want to be seen by them? How do you want to relate with them? What is your role in their lives, and how do you help them?
I love the way Michael Hyatt breaks this down (scroll down to #2 in the link). He explains that there are three different roles that you can have in relation to your audience: the sage, the sherpa, or the struggler.
The Sage is an expert and an authority in their field. They have a great deal of achievement and experience – often many years’ worth – and share their wisdom with their audience from that perspective.
The Sherpa is the trusted guide. They know more than their audience because they’ve been down this road before, and they can help to lead the way. They speak from the perspective of empathy and experience, but they also speak as someone who is walking the road with you, encouraging you and showing you where to go.
The Struggler is the person who is right there in the trenches with their audience. They record and share the lessons they learn as they’re learning them, and their voice is defined by the common struggles and goals they share with their audience.
Think about which of these roles best describe the way you interact with your audience. How can you create content (and with it, your brand voice) in a way that consistently reflects the role that you’re closest to?
2. Be yourself
While your brand (and your brand voice) must always be developed with the needs of your audience in mind, it’s also essential to make sure that it is an authentic expression of what makes you uniquely you.
As you build your platform online, you’re going to be creating a lot of content. What’s more, once you’ve created that content, you’re going to be putting it out there in a very noisy marketplace where it’s easy to feel like just another brand or website. That’s a really tough challenge in and of itself. Feeling like you’re communicating in a way that doesn’t feel natural or authentic to who you are is going to make the road even harder.
So, after that little dose of reality, let me take a moment to encourage you:
You, my lovely friend, are completely unique. You have strengths and talents and a way of expressing yourself that no one else in the entire world has. As a result there are, somewhere out there, people who need your help. Yours, not that person whose voice you really admire but know you could never pull off.
Choosing to go out on a limb or against the grain when it comes to expressing yourself authentically may feel scary. But the truth is that building your brand voice based on what comes to you naturally is going to make connection with the right clients so much easier, because you’re not going to have to put on an act or adopt a brand personality that feels foreign or fake.
3. Recognize that you’ll change over time
As a creative, you’ve probably found the way that you approach your art over time has changed as you became more and more familiar and experienced in your creative niche. This naturally comes with practice and an increased sense of comfort and ownership in your unique approach to the way that you create.
The same is true with your brand and the way you communicate with your audience. Your brand will grow with you and your business, and with it, your brand voice.
find that you’ve gone from sharing a Struggler role with your audience to being more of a Sherpa.
find that your audience changes.
shift the focus of your products and services, and with it, the way you communicate with clients, customers and readers.
realize that you yourself are changing over time and want to express or position yourself and your brand in new and different ways.
All of these are reasons for your brand voice to change and mature as you and your business do.
As a result, it’s important to remember that where you are now is not the end of the road.
Do not feel like you need to have your brand voice perfectly defined, or get discouraged if you find yourself having difficulty expressing yourself the way that you want to.
What you’ll find, as you continue to practice and grow, is that there are elements of your brand voice that act as an anchor – whether that is your encouraging tone, your sense of adventure, or your ability to delight in small joys and moments. Those elements will provide the consistency that your audience will come to identify with you and your brand, even as other parts of your brand and voice shift with your business goals and objectives.
If I could sum it all up, I’d put it to you like this:
- Keep practicing and creating content. Balance intentionality with the freedom to grow into your brand voice.
- Focus on the way you can best serve your audience, and make sure that your brand voice reflects the role that you have in their lives.
- Embrace the uniqueness of your brand’s personality, and allow that to guide the way that you express yourself to your audience.
- Don’t let the fear of turning away the wrong client get in the way of truly connecting with the right ones – instead, let your brand voice play a leading role in winnowing your audience down to the ones you are most suited to serving well.
As always, I’m cheering you on! Let me know in the comments: Which of these three tips do you identify with most, or most need to put into practice?