one of the things i often remind biz builders about is that your brand is more than your logo. it is the message you send out to the world about your business.
it is also important to remember that you send that message in two ways: with your look and your voice.
most little biz builders invest a lot of thought and energy into creating the right look. they choose the right biz name, invest in a custom logo, make sure they have good product images, get nice business cards printed and they make sure the appearance of all their marketing materials is consistent.
that’s fantastic, and an important part of branding indeed.
but equally important is the voice of your brand, and this is one area most biz builders don’t think about much. (they get their logo done and never really think about their branding again. sound familiar?)
your ‘voice’ is just as important, and maybe even more important that the appearance of your brand. if you don’t get your voice right, you can undo all of the work you have done to get your name out there and attract customers to your biz. if your voice doesn’t match the rest of your brand message your customers might not remember you because you don’t stand out at all, or worse they might not trust that you can deliver.
where is your brand voice?
your voice exists in the copy on your website, flyers, and other marketing materials. it is there in your emails, newsletters and blog posts. it is found in your tweets, facebook comments, phone conversations and meeting people in person. it is a part of your product descriptions, tagline, and sales pitches.
your voice matters! (click to tweet this!)
so how do you make sure the ‘voice’ of your business matches the brand message you mean to send out about your business.
1. make sure you are clear about what your brand message is.
is your business: efficient, methodical, professional, casual, funny, serious, modern, traditional, funky, trendy, cute, punk-rock… or something else entirely. (get out your thesaurus if you need to. come up with 5 words to describe your brand.)
2. consider how you can express those messages with your voice.
for example if your brand message is:
- professional, traditional, serious – then you probably doesn’t want to use slang, swear, or be too casual
- fun, funny, silly – find ways to inject humor into your writing/speaking style
- edgy, trendy, badass – you might use slang, text speak, modern lingo, swear words etc.
- inspirational, motivational – use inspirational quotes, motivating words & language
- efficient, speedy, time-saving – don’t send long wordy emails, keep your copy short & to the point
3. be the brand message you wish to send.
the more you live your brand message, the easier it is to voice that message. be you! let your personality, your passion, your gifts shine through. you might need to amplify that part of you a bit for your business communication.
for example, if you are not as outgoing & outrageous in real life as you need to be on your blog, that is ok. just amplify that outgoing side of you when you are working so you can send that message loud and clear! you might even create a bit of a biz persona for when you are communicating about your biz - put on a 'brand hat' for that part of you.
4. be consistent & repetitive.
if “quick & simple & efficient” is your brand message then that needs to be clear with every single interaction people have with you – always make your voice quick, simple and efficient. always. everywhere. if “magnificent” is the word that best describes your brand then use that word every single chance you get. when your clients start sending you quotes with the word magnificent in them then you know you have done it right!
5. be creative!
my favorite trick is to make up words that fit your brand message. for example, if your goal is to help businesses go green with their businesses, and then you could “green-ify” or “green-itize”. if you make up a word and use it often enough it will be intricately associated with your business. you can also find quotes, lyrics, sayings etc that match your brand message and use these often. pinterest is a great place to find inspiration for that.
6. look for examples of businesses that do this well.
if you aren’t really sure how to make your brand message stand out in your voice, pay attention to what other businesses are doing for a while. visit your favorite sites/blogs and consider how those folks stand out with their voice. even if their message is much different than yours you can still use the same tactics to express your message.
7. practice, practice, practice.
it might take you a while to find the right voice and to get used to being so over the top with your message. the secret is to keep at it. it is sort of like exercise… the more you do it, the easier it becomes, and the stronger you get at it! if you find yourself reverting back to the same old, boring way everyone else communicates stop and consider how you can inject your brand into what it is you are saying.
8. try writing out a business manifesto, pledge, or promise
this can be a great way to put a voice to your brand, to practice getting that voice just right, and best of all, sharing it with your fans. plus, once you have a manifesto written out, you can use parts of it over and over again (saving you time when you are trying to come up with what it is you want to say!)
9. find your spark
it can be really hard to share your brand message & amplify your brand voice if...
- you are feeling a disconnect from the brand you have started for your biz
- you feel like everything you say about your biz is bland or boring or been done before,
- you feel like marketing is kind of icky
- you just have no confidence talking about your biz
you might need to spend a little time finding or re-igniting your spark - that unique combination of your purpose & passion that you bring to your biz. you can call it your special sauce, your sweet spot, your secret power, or even your why. figuring that out can really help you confidently share your brand with the world.
10. when in doubt, get some help!
if you find that you have no idea how to write and speak in a way that makes your brand and business stand out, hire a copywriter to help you. a great copywriter will get to know you, your business, your brand message and your target audience and help you express all of that in your copy. sometimes all it takes is a little help to get you going, and then you can continue on that same track. it is well worth the investment – and really, why wouldn’t you put the same investment into the voice of your business as you did the look of your business?
most of the biz builders i talk to simply want to stand out amongst the competition and not feel icky about marketing. making sure that you know what your brand message is, genuinely believing in that message, and finding ways to amplify that message will help with both of those things.
what can you do right now to make your brand voice be heard? do you have questions about amplifying your brand? i am working on a new brand workshop to help you do just that & would love to know what has you feeling stuck!
this post originally appeared at copywrite matters. it has been updated to include more ideas & further resources.