What is Meant by “Voice”?
The best way to illustrate this is to think of writers (for you literary types) or perhaps directors (for you movie buffs).
Ernest Hemmingway novels and Jane Austin novels have vastly different presentations (and probably audiences) because they’re written in different “voices”.
Star Trek and Cosmos are also presented in different voices.
The movies of Steven Spielberg and Luc Besson are also very different.
Your “voice” is what ideas and images occur to people when they think of you.
Yes, Brands Have a Voice
The same is true of your brand. When people think of brands (be they Walmart of the local old fashioned style barber), certain ideas and images occur to them. The sum total of those is the voice of the brand.
If you’re an employee of a large company, the voice is set by others (unless you’re a very senior marketing person) and if you own a franchise the voice is set by the franchisor.
However when you own your own autonomous non franchised business, the responsibility to set those voice belongs to you.
The Tie Between a Brand’s Voice and Content Marketing
Content marketing (which according to Seth Godin is the only form of marketing left) gives you an opportunity to establish your brand’s voice.
I scan the Inbound and Content Marketing trade press daily by virtue of having subscribed to the newsletters of pretty much everyone I can find who has an opinion on the subject. I can not tell you how many email’s I see very day that are written to appeal to people’s hope of gain, fear of loss, and the idea of scarcity.
That is the voice they’ve chosen.
- The voice of Apple says “coolness”.
- The voice of Walmart says “cheap”.
- The voice of the little barber shop near where I live says “come on in”.
- The voice of the hair salon further down the road says “expensive” (at least to me).
I think you get the point.
Your Brand’s Voice is REALLY Important
Because it’s the starting point for every piece of digital content you publish.
I’m next going to ask a question that in American culture is almost always used in a negative way, unfortunately.
The question is “Who do you think you are?“.
Are you the person friends can rely on in a pinch?
Are you the person who absorbs and shares trivia with others?
Are you the person who prefers to be around people or to be left alone?
It’s very similar with brands. Whether you’re consciously aware of it or not, you want your brand to say things to people. You want people to think of your brand in certain ways.
Finding your voice helps you get there.
To think of this in others terms, ask “What personality traits does my brand convey?“.
Another Great Tool to Find Your Voice
Is to ask yourself why you’re in business in the first place.
Below is an excellent TED Talk from Simon Sinek on this subject. While it’s 18 minutes long, he expresses the importance of this extremely well.
Once you have your why, finding your voice should be second nature.