In a perfect world, your customer would not need to look for your logo or slogan to recognize your marketing content.
Your new blog post, social media posts, or even that infographic you’ve been working on would all be immediately recognized as coming from you.
But this perfect world is a little difficult to achieve in this digital age, especially for small businesses.
The truth is, it’s not easy to stand out online. There are currently almost 200 million active websites, while Google Ads and social media marketing see millions of daily ads.
How to Build a Solid Brand to Rise Above the Noise
All these numbers mean there’s a lot of online noise happening, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies to be heard.
Your only hope?
Building a solid brand voice.
What’s a Brand Voice & Why Does it Matter?
Your brand voice is your unique way of communicating with your target market. It’s a combination of the words and language you choose to use, as well as the personality, imagery, and the values you communicate through your content.
It matters because:
1. It builds trust between you and your audience
As you may already know, building trust between you and your audience takes time. A brand that consistently conveys the same values and sense of purpose is easier to trust than a brand with messages that often shift.
2. It helps your audience recognize your content
When you have consistency in your content, you’ll be strong and memorable to your audience. As soon as your ads pop up on their search engines or social media feeds, they’ll instantly recognize your content.
3. It can help to build long-lasting relationships between you and your audience
Once trust is built between you and your audience, building long-lasting relationships is easier.
Now that we’re clear on why it’s important, let’s get into how you can begin to find your company’s brand voice.
How Can Small Businesses Find Their Brand Voice?
1. Start with Your Values
What are your company’s fundamental beliefs? What helps to guide the way you operate internally, as well as externally with your customers? These are your company values or core values.
Company values should not only be in your mission statement, but they should also be practiced. Clearly defining your company values - identifying what’s most important to you - will help to guide your brand voice.
Airbnb is a good example.
The site highlights that “building an inclusive platform for all hosts and guests is our greatest goal, and we’re always working to improve it.”
Since diversity and inclusion is important to Airbnb, they allow people from all walks of life to become hosts and guests. Their site is also very diverse. Whether you’re going on a work trip, a family trip, you’re after a luxurious stay, a feel for the city, or the country-life, your needs will be met.
This core value of inclusion also guides their imagery – all their ads, their web pages, and every marketing content they produce displays people of different age groups, ethnicities, and walks of life.
Once you know and understand what your core values are, all your marketing efforts should connect to them.
2. Review the Content You’ve Already Produced
Have a look at your blog posts, your tweets, your emails, and newsletters. Do you notice a common thread? Are there certain words or phrases that you tend to use?
If your brand voice has not been clearly defined, you may find that the content you’ve produced looks like it can be from different companies. Get rid of the pieces that don’t connect to your brand. What you want is to identify the content that truly connects to your values. The content that you produced and feel like “That’s Us! This is who we are as a brand.” Gather that content and analyze the tone, the personality, the phrases, and words used as a guideline for future content.
3. Consider Your Audience
Who are your speaking to? Are you building a working mom brand? A tween brand? A gym brand? All these different audiences are people who communicate differently.
Understanding your audience persona will help you identify important things, such as the language they use, what’s important to them, and how they like to express themselves. Of course, you need to be authentic; however, you also need to consider who you’re talking to in order to understand how you can create content that connects to them.
If your business is trying to drive traffic through blogging, learn the three key elements to a good business blog and always use your brand voice when writing.
4. Work with Your Team
Enlisting the help of some creatives on your team can help you better define your voice.
Have a brainstorming session with your team to identify the three words that can be used to describe your brand. Each person can come up with their own three words. When you reveal these words to each other, is there a common thread? Once you’ve worked with your team to identify the best words that help to describe your brand, break that down even further.
For instance, let’s say that after a brainstorming session, you’ve identified the following three words that you feel best describes your brand:
Now, define each of these adjectives further.
- Sincere: honest, authentic, straightforward, heartfelt
- Bold: fearless, daring, adventurous
- Innovative: breaking new ground, inventive, original
Be more specific about the adjectives you feel define your brand.
5. What’s Your Story?
Who are you?
Are you a stay-at-home mom who quit her job and launched an online business that’s now taking care of her family? Are you the child of immigrant parents and have had to work extra hard your whole life to prove yourself?
Our stories don’t only build character, they also help us to connect to others.
People relate to people. People also buy from people they relate to.
Above All, Remain True to Your Brand Voice
“The art of marketing is the art of brand building.” - Philip Kotler
Building your brand voice and branding strategy is not going to be an overnight process but the journey will be worth it. Even when you bring in creatives for your content, help them understand your brand voice so that they can create content that’s right for you. Content that will help your ideal market trust you and be more open to building long-lasting relationships with you.
Khanyi Molomo is a B2B writer and Digital Marketer. She’s helped many small businesses create online content that drives qualified traffic and converts. You can reach Khanyi through her website, Iconic Writing.