brand voice

We all have a brand voice. I have a one. You have a brand voice too.

Yes you do. Really. Whether you believe it or not we are all known for something by those around us.

With yourself personally, it will be what your friends, family and work-mates think of you. For churches and non-profit organisations it’s what the general public and those connected into the cause think of them.

I remember in the movie ‘The Kings Speech” Colin Firth struggled to coherently communicate because of a speech impediment and become very frustrated at his inability to communicate the way his wanted to. Like Colin’s character, churches, non-profits and businesses can struggle to articulate who they really are.

Sometimes they are tongue-tied or they are just plain unsure of what they should sound like. At other times they think they are speaking in a certain way only to discover that others aren’t receiving them the way they think they are speaking.

Finding your own brand voice isn’t that difficult. Here are a three ways that will help you find it.

1. Find your character

We all have characteristics that others know us by. Some of us may be known as one or a mixture of being friendly, warm, inspiring, playful, considered, authoritative or professional.

I love Han Solo’s character (showing my age). The loveable rascal who is always pushes the boundaries of legal, but you still love him anyway. Or Bear Grylls, expert risk taker, knowledgable, measured, with a hint of craziness about the way he eats the most disgusting food!

Thinking about organisations, contrast Apple with Microsoft. Apple the cool hipster that inspires you to be great, versus Microsoft, the slightly cumbersome older brother who gets it done. Ugly.

When I think about churches I think of Hillsong, inspiring, big, musical, free and contrast that with Mars Hill, serious, on a mission, masculine, blokey, direct and straight talking.

2. Listen to your tone

Our tone of voice is the vibe that comes out of your brands communications. Sometimes its through spokespeople, or through the written word or TV. You may be funny, personal, humble, honest, direct or scientific.

I’m a big fan boy of Apple. They seem to hit the right tone of voice almost every time. They must work really hard to get it just right so as not to sound condescending or smug. I really like this great example of what every new employee of Apple gets when they start.

3. Understand what your language is

Speaka da englesh? Parlez vous Anglais? The language you communicate is so important. It’s vitally important that you are speaking in a way your audience can understand. Your language either verbal or written may be savvy, serious, complex, simple, jargon filled, fun or whimsical. Want to sound like the expert? Use more complex language. Want to sound exclusive? Use insider language and acronyms. Want to sound hip? Use slang. Be careful with slang as it can feel sometimes like you are a try hard if you get it wrong.

Your turn

What examples of brand voice have you seen that you’ve liked or not liked?