Imagine a business that changed its logo every single day. It would be difficult to keep up with them, right? And yet, the equivalent of your written logo—your Brand Voice—often gets pushed to the side or even forgotten. In fact, many business owners don’t even fully know what Brand Voice is or why they need to think about it.
Let’s start with a simple definition for what Brand Voice is, practically speaking.
Brand Voice is the culmination of how you communicate with your audience.
In an ever-more-crowded digital space, there are a lot of businesses offering similar services, and you need to stand out from the crowd. Visuals help. Your communication methods help even more.
One of the most powerful (and oft-forgotten!) strategies for cutting through the noise is developing a clear understanding of what your Brand Voice is and how it fits into your content strategy.
An immediately recognizable voice allows your target audience to connect with you. On the other hand, if your voice shifts and changes constantly, it becomes difficult for your audience to trust you, remember you, and buy from you. We go into more detail about the dangers of a confused Brand Voice here.
Because you communicate with your audience every single day across multiple platforms, your Brand Voice is everywhere. When you give a speech, run a workshop, post on Instagram, send an email, promote a program, or even answer a DM… you’re conveying your brand’s voice.
Not only that, but once you have a clear idea of what your Brand Voice is, you can outsource it to other people when needed, freeing you of content creator burnout and giving you time to focus on running your business.
Wondering what exactly makes up your Brand Voice? Let’s dive in.
What is Brand Voice? 5 Key Components
Brand voice may feel abstract on the surface. After all, how do you pinpoint a communication style?
But not only is it possible, capturing your Brand Voice gives your brand clarity and you, the business owner, newfound freedom. Your Brand Voice consists of five interwoven parts, all of which can be captured, learned, and handed off to your team members or outside writers.
When you successfully capture your voice, you can:
- Create consistent, predictable communication with your audience across multiple platforms.
- Build more trust with your potential clients because they feel they’re really getting to know you and your brand.
- Outsource your content creation with confidence, knowing that the person who takes over has the tools they need to write content that sounds like you and resonates with your audience.
So what is Brand Voice, if not some abstract, ethereal thing? Here are its five core components and how they impact your messaging:
Of the five components, this is the most abstract, so let’s start here. Tone is the way your brand’s communication feels.
Does your brand show up as brash, confident, and rebellious? Or is it soft, nurturing, and empowering?
This “feeling” is conveyed in a lot of different ways. Consider:
- How (or if) you use humor
- The core values that drive your content
- Whether you lean into metaphors orn straightforward examples to explain concepts
All of these details impact the overall tone of your Brand Voice.
Not sure where to begin? Here’s a fun exercise for you. If you were to create a Spotify playlist for your brand, what songs would be on it?
Then, take a look at your content. Does it reflect a similar feeling as the playlist?
Your Brand Voice is all about verbal communication—and a single word can deeply impact the tone we talked about.
Think about what specific words your brand uses to create its own unique flair. In particular, pay attention to the adjectives and verbs that show up when you talk about your brand or write your own content.
Take two soap companies. One might describe their soap as “nourishing.” Another might describe theirs as “invigorating.”
What about two coaching companies? One might offer a service that “pushes” and “motivates,” while another might prefer to describe their service as one that “guides” and “encourages.”
Similar outcome, very different feel.
It’s worth a brief aside here to acknowledge the fact that words have power, and they do not exist in a vacuum.
As you think through the words that best represent your brand, we want to encourage you to dig a bit into their own origin. It’s worth making sure you aren’t appropriating words just because they “sound good.”
What phrases speak to your brand’s communication style? Maybe there are catchphrases you always use. Maybe it’s just the way your brand conveys an idea or a silly turn of phrase that is just you.
For example, “capture your voice” is something we at North Star say so often that it’s become an integral part of what our Brand Voice is. It’s part of who we are and what we do. The same can be said about “build a bridge” (between yourself and your audience) and “find your North Star.”
Over time, you’ll likely uncover more phrases. Make sure to keep track of them, so you can be intentional about their usage.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the words and phrases your brand would never use—unless it’s to push against it. For example, there’s a popular term in the marketing world you may have heard of: ideal client avatar. This is used to help people hone in on who they serve.
While it certainly has its uses, we include “ideal client avatar” in our “avoider” list. At North Star, we prefer the term “target audience.” This sprang up after we spent years working with clients who felt that the traditional ideal client avatar was too stifling, and “target audience” gives them more creative expression.
What words and phrases does your brand actively avoid? Maybe it’s because of an ideological difference, maybe it’s personal preference, or maybe it’s to differentiate yourself from others in your field. Knowing this will help you capture the essence of what your Brand Voice is and hand it off without worrying about your new writer slipping something in that doesn’t work.
The best way to connect to your audience is through story, and the stories you choose to tell are an integral part of Brand Voice. These can be the core stories that you fall back on again and again—like your Origin Story—or they can be anecdotal tidbits you use to explain a concept.
We break it down into 5 categories:
- Origin: How your brand got started or has evolved over time
- Purpose: The why that drives you
- Innovation: What makes your brand different
- Expertise: What makes you excellent
- Influence: How you shape others’ behaviors or thoughts.
Whatever stories you tell, they play an important role in showing your audience who you are, building trust, and showcasing your experience and results.
What Is Your Brand Voice?
Now that you know what Brand Voice is, how do you capture it?
At North Star we’ve developed a strategy for capturing and documenting Brand Voice so you can create content that’s consistent, build trust with your audience, and outsource with confidence. During your Brand Voice Intensive, we’ll learn the ins and outs of the way you communicate and document it on paper so that no matter who’s creating content, they have a thorough understanding of the unique words and turns-of-phrase that make you you.