Is Your Brand’s Verbal Identity Sending Mixed Messages?
When people think about branding, they are often thinking about a brand’s visual identity. There’s another, equally important component: your brand’s verbal identity. In an ideal world, these two work in tandem to deliver clear, consistent messaging.
With communication happening at lightning speed, through multiple channels, and handled by multiple people, it’s critical to to develop a strong verbal identity. If you’re not clear on your brand’s voice, it’s easy to go off the rails. And when that happens, your messaging can become confusing, jarring, and you can lose touch with your core audience.
Just like visual identity, your verbal identity broadcasts your message into the world. A company with a strong brand voice uses that voice at every point of interaction – email, customer service, social media, web copy. Your brand’s voice should be specific, consistent, and everlasting.
It’s human nature to want to please everyone, or to attempt to speak to everyone. But in doing so, you can quickly lose sight of your goals in an effort to include as many in your audience as possible.
The solution may seem somewhat counterintuitive: in establishing a brand voice, you should know, very specifically, who you are speaking to. Are they millennials? Moms? Dog people, cat people? Your message will change subtly depending on how your audience sees themself and how they interact with
Keep It Consistent
Maybe you decided to try a more ‘millennial’ approach for a little while, only to double back to your old personality. Take a step back and evaluate what your brand has been saying – and how you say it – to date. How would you describe your brand’s current personality and voice?
Reading through social media, web copy, emails – do you feel like you’re speaking to an individual, or several different voices?
Here’s an exercise to try: you’re out shopping. When you get home, you notice you’ve been overcharged, and you need to call the store to ask for a refund. How would you, as your brand, do this? What’s your strategy? When all’s said and done, can you still shop at that store? If you’re unsure, you may not know your brand’s voice as well as you think.
Once you have established that voice, preserve it! Remember that even if you are part of your company’s brand, the brand voice does not have to reflect you in real time. Transparency is admirable, but raw confession might lead to former brand evangelists burning your products.
Craft An Everlasting Verbal Identity
A well-designed brand voice, one with a core message that can allow you to see past and future, is an investment that will set your brand apart. Knowing your brand’s personality, and corresponding language, can prevent the kinds of verbal mishaps that will land you in Twitter’s crosshairs.
Rather than a set of hard-and-fast rules, your brand’s voice should be consistent, but agile enough to be used almost automatically. It’s not a script – it’s a toolbox.
Still feeling daunted? We’d love to talk!