Brand Voice: Steps to Finding the Sweet Spot

Guide

by Grace Molenda

 

woman smiling holding an ice-cream and cellphone

Every time your business shares a message—whether through your website, social media, billboards, emails, and beyond—your brand voice is at work. Brand voice is the tone that communicates your company’s values in a way that resonates with your customers. It’s what makes your brand you.

The question is: how do you find it?

These steps can help guide you in creating an authentic, consistent brand voice that will connect with your target audience …

Define your brand values.

Brand voice starts with brand values. If you haven’t sorted those out yet, start there. Who are you? What do you care about? Clearly defined, authentic values set you apart from competitors and plug your brand into a like-minded community.

Let’s look at an example: Ben & Jerry’s.

The beloved ice cream brand lists the following as their core values:

  • Human Rights & Dignity
  • Social & Economic Justice
  • Environmental Protection, Restoration, & Regeneration

By identifying these values, the company loses a part of the market but gains a foothold within target demographics. Ben & Jerry’s isn’t for everyone, and your brand isn’t either. Boldly declaring who you are (and who you serve!) is the first step in finding your brand voice.

Understand your target audience.

Values roughly identify who a brand is talking to: consumers with compatible ethos. To succeed in conversation with your ideal consumer, a little fine-tuning is required. Your target audience is defined by location (Where are they?), group status (Who are they?), and behavior (What are they doing?). Understanding your audience is critical to creating authentic content that connects and converts.

Subject matter matters.

Now that you’ve identified who you’re talking to, it’s time to decide what you will talk about. Non-promotional messaging is a reliable way to convey values and build rapport with your ideal consumer. For Ben & Jerry’s, this looks like:

  • Educating their audience about ongoing human rights issues.
  • Connecting their audience with resources related to social justice.
  • Sharing action steps taken to reduce their environmental impact.

Develop guidelines (and implement them!)

Can we create renewable energy with Ice Cream? Graphic by Ben & Jerry's

Your next step is to craft a list of brand voice guidelines that reflect your values and audience. Voice guidelines should articulate what kind of content you want to produce, how you’d like that content to make your audience feel, and what core qualities unify your content. Once you’ve developed your guidelines, stick to them!

This Ben & Jerry’s social media post illustrates the outcome of effective voice guidelines.

Brand values are at the forefront of the post. It’s clear that sustainability is important to both the company and target audience.

The copy is written in plain and accessible language, accounting for demographic variation among target audience members.

The consumer feels reassured by the company’s proactive climate strategy, which promotes trust. The consumer is also excited about this innovative source of energy!

Overall, this post is transparent, educational, and exciting, qualities that unify the company’s presence on this platform.

Ben and Jerry's Tweet: We know that making ice cream has a big impact on the planet and the climate. So it's our responsibility to do everything everything we can to minimize that impact. Learn more about how we're turning ice cream waste into energy at the link in our bio!

 


Finding a voice inside the anatomy of your brand can be tricky. KDD helps brands find their authentic voices every day. Contact us if you need help finding yours!


Grace Molenda was a Marketing & Communications Assistant at KDD. Grace loves learning about different platforms and helping brands leverage different channels to reach their audience.