Would you recognize the voice of a well-known brand? For instance, if you were to remove the McDonald’s name, logo, and other branding elements and trademarks from an advertisement, social media post, or press release, would you recognize the “voice?” You may believe that you would recognize the “voice” of McDonald’s because you’ve been exposed to their advertising and branding for most of your life, or because they spend billions of dollars in marketing and advertising. While that is true, it is also true that you recognize one brand voice over another simply through consistency and authenticity. You can watch a television commercial for McDonald’s or read posts on their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and recognize the same brand voice used throughout each channel. Even though your small business doesn’t have a fraction of the advertising or marketing budget of a corporation such as McDonald’s, you can boost and improve your brand and make everything from your marketing and advertising initiatives to your one-on-one interactions with customers or clients more effective with a consistent and authentic brand voice.
Our Different Voices
Imagine if you spoke with different “voices” throughout your day. We all speak slightly differently with other people depending on our relationships – for instance, you wouldn’t speak to your boss the same way you would speak to your significant other – but imagine if your voice was radically different, and now imagine if you spoke to the same people with those radically different voices. Chances are the people you know and interact with would be concerned and even alarmed!
The Importance of Consistency
While your customers or clients understand that they may not be dealing with the same individual every time they visit, call, or email your business or organization, they do expect consistency in these interactions. Nothing is more disconcerting to a customer or client than feeling as though the various employees, managers, and owners of a business or organization will all provide a different response to an inquiry or request, especially if a customer believes they have to reach a specific employee or manager to receive the proper response. Likewise, if your company produces content marketing with an inconsistent voice, your customers may believe that your organization is sloppy or even dysfunctional, with no clear identity or direction. Not having a consistent voice in all of your client interactions, whether they are through content marketing or one-on-one interactions, can do real damage to your reputation and client relationships.
The Key To A Consistent Brand Voice
The key to developing and maintaining a consistent brand voice is breaking your “voice” down into elements that are easily identifiable and understood by everyone inside and outside of your organization. Start by coming up with a three to five-word summary of your brand – for instance, a tire company may describe itself as “dependable,” “knowledgeable” and “honest,” while an interior design firm might describe itself as “fashionable,” “tasteful” and “daring.” If your industry or market is highly competitive, or if it has been difficult for consumers to distinguish your company from your competitors, it is advisable to use a broader set of keywords to better distinguish your brand and differentiate from your competitors.