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91% of marketers agree that a company’s brand voice should be a core part of its marketing strategy, and 90% say that having a strong brand voice is important to a business’s overall success.
Your brand voice is how you talk to your customers and the persona your brand takes on in its marketing messaging. It should be visible in your web copy, email newsletters, blog content, social media posts, and any other customer-facing copy. Ensuring you have a documented guide for your brand voice helps your team remain consistent, leading to a stronger brand voice.
But how do you get started finding your voice and making sure it translates through your marketing copy? Throughout this article, we’re going to address the importance of having a strong brand voice, how to create one, and five ecommerce brands that are killing it.
Let’s dig in!
Why bother building a stronger brand voice
At this point, you might be wondering why. Why does building a strong brand voice matter? Why bother aligning your marketing strategy around one singular voice? Who’s going to notice if your posts follow a similar voice?
Well, your audience will. At least subconsciously.
Your brand will stay top of mind with a strong brand voice. Your customers will recognize an established brand voice that resonates with them. 46% of consumers say a brand stands out on social media when it does a good job of engaging its audience and 39% say it’s due to memorable content. Both of those can be accomplished through your voice.
Having a strong brand voice helps your audience relate better to your brand, making them want to buy from you. It gives you another way to appeal to your audience than the unique selling point of your products alone.
Furthermore, having a strong brand voice can ramp up your word-of-mouth marketing. If your marketing messaging and social media content are resonating with your target audience, they’re going to share your content—or at least mention your brand—with their friends and family members. Especially because relatable content can have a big influence on how people perceive your brand.
A strong brand voice helps to build trust and create connections with your customers. But you have to make sure the voice and persona you build meshes well with the audience you’re trying to reach.
Co-Founder and CEO of Tortuga, Fred Perrotta shared that a strong brand voice matters to him because it’s the root of how the brand differentiates and positions themselves. “Our brand voice is meant to be a knowledgeable (but never snobby), well-traveled friend. In our case, the voice is also consistent with how we design and market our products. Our bags should show that we know what travelers want and need. Plus, the voice supports our blog of packing tips and gear reviews, which is a major part of our marketing.”
How to create a strong brand voice
"Our voice emerged naturally from how we approached our product and the business (and later the blog). When people asked us questions, we turned our answers into blog posts. By the time we needed to codify our brand voice, we've already been speaking to our customers that way." - Fred Perrotta, Co-Founder, and CEO of Tortuga
The road to finding your brand voice differs, and there's no one size fits all. But we’ve got a quick five-step guide that is perfect for brands starting from scratch and brands that are simply trying to strengthen their existing brand voice.
Step 1: Refer to your company’s mission statement
What are your brand’s overall goals or objectives? Why does your brand exist? Keeping this information in mind is going to have a big impact on your brand voice.
For example, a company whose mission statement revolves around creating self-care products for improving self-image and mental health likely wouldn’t want to take on a sassy and sarcastic brand voice. That kind of persona doesn’t translate that mission well. Instead, the brand would probably want a more reassuring and soothing voice that better represents its values.
Let’s take Madcap Coffee as an example here. On their about page, we’re able to get a glimpse into their story and their passion for their product:
We’re able to feel their excitement throughout their brand voice, and it comes through on their social media as well.
Your brand voice doesn’t have to be anything extreme. You just need to know what traits you want to present, how you want your content to be perceived, and what will best resonate with your audience.
This brings us to our next point.
Step 2: Identify and define your specific audience
Another major step in creating your brand voice is knowing exactly who your target audience is. Who are you aiming to reach with your content, and who is most likely to buy your product?
An important part of any business or marketing plan is to create a buyer persona or ideal customer profile (ICP). With this, you’ll be able to build a profile of the type of person who might need or be interested in your products.
Your persona should include information like:
- Gender identity
- Education level
- Family life
- Buying patterns
By compiling all of this information—either by analyzing existing customer data, interviewing customers, or estimating based on what you’re selling—you’re able to make more informed decisions for your marketing plan and your brand voice.
Let’s take razor brand Billie as an example here. Their target audience is millennial women, and they make that obvious in their brand voice, as showcased in the below the Instagram post.
”Spring break szn” is a popular millennial statement, helping this brand resonate well with the generation they’re trying to target. Using a common language makes the company more relatable and their customers feel more motivated to buy from them.
Step 3: Identify content with the most engagement from your audience
Take a look back at the content and marketing copy your brand has already created. Which social media posts get the most engagement, which blog posts get the most comments/shares, and which landing pages get the most traffic/conversions?
Using this information can help to guide your existing brand voice into a more established voice and persona. By paying attention to the content that is currently resonating with your audience, it takes a simple analysis to then pull the main traits from these popular posts into a documented brand voice.
Take a look at this tweet from Sour Patch Kids:
If they were basing their brand voice off of this well-performing tweet, they would realize they should use more humor in their content. Apparently, their audience enjoys the jesting tone of voice.
Pay attention to the more popular tone of voice in your own posts so you can work to replicate that for all of your social content and marketing messaging.
There’s another way you could go about getting an answer to which brand traits matches your brand the most. And it’s to pose this question to your loyal customers and get them to tell you exactly what they think about your brand.
It’s a surefire way to make sure that whatever information and traits that you’ve previously identified from your social content, are aligned directly with the brand perceptions by your target audience.
Step 4: Choose your brand traits
The next step is to choose your actual brand traits. Some of these may come from the previous step, while others may come from a voice you want to create.
You’ll want to come up with three main brand traits that will emulate your overall brand persona. So for a brand that wants to help their customers learn how to do something with their product, their three brand traits might be:
With those brand traits, your voice or persona would be upbeat, positive, and provide helpful tips and advice that ensures your audience is able to easily learn how to complete a task or use your product.
Consider what outcome you want your brand voice to help your customers with. If you’re simply trying to entertain or build awareness, a sassier voice might be a great idea. If you’re working with a more complex industry, a softer approach (i.e., a friendlier tone) is likely better.
Step 5: Document your brand voice
The last step is to document your brand voice. By compiling all of your traits, brand values, brand personality, and similar attributes in one place, you can ensure that all marketers, salespeople, and copywriters on your team are able to adhere to a consistent voice in all of your marketing messaging.
Let’s say that you’re building out your brand voice documentation for your healthy eating subscription box. Your documentation might look something like this:
- Providing healthy and nutritional meals that taste great and make our customers’ lives easier
- Helping both established healthy eaters and those new to healthy food learn how to have a more nutritional diet
- Providing incredible customer service that is approachable and amenable to feedback
- Building a learning center that educates our customers on how to better take care of their bodies
We are NOT:
- Avoid big, fancy words
Brand Voice Guidelines
- Avoid including just the product or article title in the caption
- Maximum of 1 exclamation mark per post
- Incorporate emoji when relevant
- Add a double space when spacing out paragraphs
- Caption options:
- OPTION 1: Start with an introductory sentence—something to draw the user in. This could be a question or a sentence relating to the product or educational piece of content. Then further explain what the link leads to.
- OPTION 2: Make a big, exciting 1-2 sentence claim on what customers can expect in their next box.
- OPTION 3: Use a quick quip or single question or sentence as the caption—something engaging. This is ideal for when the graphic or photo accompanying the caption needs to be the centerfold of the post, like when sharing educational tips in graphic form.
Use the above as a template to input your own brand voice details so you and your team can align all of your customer-facing content and create content your audience loves.
5 brands that have a great brand voice
There’s nothing better than learning from examples, so we’ve pulled five strong examples of unique brand voices that can help you get a better idea of how to create and execute your own voice.
1. The Sill—calm, neutral
The Sill is an online plant shop with a handful of retail locations in a few major cities across America. They have a calm and neutral brand voice that helps them connect with plant lovers of all ages, genders, locations, and preferred plants.
They also use very decorative and poetic language, which fits well with the type of product they offer. Right on their homepage, we see the tagline, “Spruce up your patio with lush, bright-light plants and element-friendly decorative planters.”
Due to the nature of their product—leafy green foliage—this flowery language makes a lot of sense and helps them appeal to their target audience.
Here’s an example of how this translates to their social media content:
They incorporate that same type of language when describing their products on social media that we’ve seen on their website.
2. Vacation—loud, playful, enthusiastic
Vacation is a self-proclaimed “excessively good sunscreen” brand with an 80’s vibe all across their brand imagery. As we can see right from the first section of their website, their brand voice is very exaggerated.
This comes through in the very next section as well, when they have the gigantic line, “The World's Best-Smelling Sunscreen.” More than that, we also see it all over their social media.
Take a look at this tweet and its all-caps introduction:
While this might look like a one-time major company announcement, it’s not. In fact, almost every single one of their tweets starts with the “IMPORTANT COMPANY ANNOUNCEMENT” introduction as a way to grab attention to each of their social posts.
3. Three Wishes—humorous, witty, fun
Three Wishes is a cereal brand that creates gluten and grain-free cereal. Their overall voice has a humorous edge to it, as we see in their product descriptions and on their social media posts.
For example, their cinnamon cereal has this quick descriptor: “We've put a healthy twist on a classic cinnamon cereal favorite (wink wink), so please grab a bowl and spoon…or just stick your hand in the box like we do.”
And interestingly enough, their social media voice has a similar vibe but uses no capitalization. Here’s an example from their Instagram:
They have fun with their brand voice and keep their overall messaging very lighthearted. As a healthy cereal option for families, this voice works well for their brand.
4. Frank Body—sassy, upbeat, witty
Frank Body is a skincare product with a really unique brand voice. They’ve personified their brand so that everything is spoken in the first person. When browsing their website and social media, we see verbiage like, “my acne-fighting body wash” and “my new rosehip body duo.”
Having this first-person brand voice gives them a lot more freedom to play around with their marketing messaging. It also helps their brand stand out from the crowd by taking this unconventional angle.
They also incorporate some sass into their brand voice, and they use a lot of modern slang and shorthand in their content.
This tweet shows off a great example of their brand voice in action:
5. Oatly—trendy, quirky, young
Oatly is an oat drink brand with a bold brand identity and voice. Not only do they rely on big, bright, bold illustrations to get their point across, but their brand voice also works just as hard. Their website is just as unique in that it scrolls to the side, rather than from top to bottom.
They use a bit of light humor in their brand voice, but they also rely heavily on visuals to tell their brand story. These are anything from illustrations to graphics using big, bold fonts to videos they share on social media.
This tweet shares a fun video that uses their brand voice:
Pulling their brand voice into a number of different outlets gives them even more ways to connect with their audience through various types of content.
Build a strong brand voice for your brand
Time to take your brand voice to the next level. Whether you’re looking to standardize your current brand voice or create a brand new persona, building a strong voice is a great way to increase word-of-mouth and brand awareness.
Follow along with our guide to build your own brand voice and create even better relationships with your target audience. Start increasing engagement and growing your business with a documented and streamlined brand voice.