Brand Voice 101

A voice. Every brand needs one.

This concept is like a dead horse, one that’s now been beaten so badly we need dental records to identify it.

We talk about brand voices all the time, constantly pushing the idea that a voice is essential to any marketing initiative.  Voice this. Voice that.

But, what’s a brand voice really? Is it when you open a carton of milk, only to have it Moo at you? No.  That’s not a voice. That’s a sound effect, folks.

We’re talking about the tone, the personality, and specific types of conversation that this brand will initiate in a public forum.

It all has to be relative to your brand’s core values, and to put it simply, it should reflect what kind of person your brand would be if it were to appear in the flesh. To do this properly, you have to identify your demographic, and adjust your tone to resonate with those who are listening.  For example, The Ronald McDonald House is a wholesome charity, and they communicate that through their Twitter. They live-tweet fundraisers, post inspiring stories, and send tweets of gratitude to new followers. If they tweeted ‘Getting’ MESSED UP at da Jays game tonight and selling some raffle tickets #YOLO’ people might get confused about their intentions. Of course, that’s a very extreme case, but you never know.

When a brand approaches an agency, they already have a pretty good understanding of who they want to reach via Twitter. However, it’s up to the agency to develop a unique voice, and to post relatable content that interests the group they are trying to reach.

Using your chosen voice to interact with similar brands is a good way to start B2B dialogue that’s interesting to observe as an outsider. Seeing brands like Pepsi tweet at Arby’s about “getting together sometime” is cute, right? It’s like they’re old college buddies or something. Suddenly, they’re not  just faceless mega-corporations, but rather a pair of friends looking to kick back, and upset a few stomachs.

But this doesn’t happen over night. Keep a close eye on your analytics as you begin to mold your tonality.  It’s all about trial and error. Finding out what works.

I used to wear puka shells and snap-back visors. I don’t anymore.

Twitter accounts, and the brand voices that populate them, are not unlike people. Like a person, they must grow and develop. As a person, you change over time, and your brand’s voice should do the same.

So, that said, which brands have exceptional brand voices? Whose brand voice could use some work?
Did you ever wear puka shells? (Just kidding, don’t answer that.)



  • Gus Stratford

    This is hilarious! Well written. 

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