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How To Find Your Brand's Voice In An Increasingly Tech-Driven World
Dawn Lerman, Ph.D. Professor of Marketing and Executive Director, Center for Positive Marketing, Fordham University and Author of The Language of Branding: Theories, Strategies and Tactics
Burger King’s ads were widely lauded for their entertainment value and for reminding us that technology cannot replace human creativity. They also emphasized the importance of brands connecting with customers through human voices—both literal voices and figurative ones.
What does it mean for a brand to have avoice, let alone a human voice?
Some brands have a voice in the literal sense of the word, meaning that they speak.
Most brands, however, project their voice through the language used in and across the many types of communication media in which brands appear.To be more specific, the language used across communication media creates a tone of voice. Tone of voice can be thought of as a style that expresses the brand’s attitude. Tone of voice is closely tied not only to a brand’s positioning but also to its personality. For that reason, a well-crafted tone of voice can help ‘humanize’ a tech brand, making it accessible, personable, and relatable.
Tone of voice is closely tied not only to a brand’s positioning but also to its personality. For that reason, a well-crafted tone of voice can help ‘humanize’ a tech brand, making it accessible, personable, and relatable.
Crafting a brand’s tone of voice requires making deliberate choices about the language used in marketing communications—the specific words, punctuation, sentence structure, linguistic devices such as rhymes, metaphors, and alliteration. Imagining how a brand should ‘talk’ may be difficult at first. To get started, it can be helpful to think of the brand asa person.Specific exercises include:
• Writing a dialog representing the conversation that you would expect to have with the brand were the two of you to meet on the street, at a party, or some other venue.
• Writing a page in the brand’s autobiography, paying particular attention to how the brand tells its story.
• Writing the cover letter that the brand would send when applying for a job.
After completing one or more of these exercises, ask yourself the following questions about the language ‘spoken’ by the brand:
• Would it be believable those familiar with the brand?
• Is it compatible with the personality that prospects and customers expect from your brand?
• Is it consistent with the nature of your brand?
If you can honestly answer yes to all three questions, then you have clearly begun to articulate your brand’s voice.