What the F Is Your Brand Voice?

If you’ve ever heard “I love you” uttered with all the warmth of a glacier at midnight, you know that the WAY we say things is just as — and sometimes even more important — than what we’re saying. But how do you decide how your brand should speak? What IS brand voice… and how’s it different from tone, anyway? Today on Marketing Is Broken, we’ve got brand voice expert and copywriter Justin Blackman, who has a lot to say on the subject. And just wait till you hear how he says it.

Aaaand we’re back with Marketing Is Broken, the weekly series that you WILL watch, if you know what’s good for you.

That thinly veiled threat was an example of tone of voice — and it’s something you probably didn’t expect from me, since by all accounts I’m a pretty easygoing guy. Even my wife says so. Right, Em?

Well, that was… sweet.

Since I KNOW you’ve watched every episode of Marketing Is Broken, that shift in my tone just now probably threw you off. You got used to hearing me talk a certain way — and all of a sudden, I hit you with something new. It was jarring, right?

Brands make this mistake all the time. Because when you haven’t clearly defined your brand voice, it’s hard to know what that voice IS. Unfortunately, if you miss the mark, it becomes very clear what it’s NOT.

Doug Kessler’s excellent Velocity Partners article suggests that tone of voice shouldn’t be a footnote — it should be at the forefront of B2B brand strategy. Assuming you want to make more money and not toil in obscurity forever, that is.

Kessler says…

  1. Voice isn’t just a vehicle for your message. It IS the message.
  2. Your brand voice should signal trustworthiness — because things like scale, stone, and solemnity just don’t do it anymore
  3. You should build your brand voice like you’d create a perfume: with base notes and accent layers that create something unique

Already, this stuff is more useful than fluffy “Here’s how to use your logo” guides we’ve all seen (and possibly created). 😬

How to Develop a Unique Brand Voice

To take us even deeper into the nuances of creating a brand voice that’s not only unique, but actually replicable — so that even if Patricia from marketing comes up with the “voice of your brand” and then happens to get hit by a bus, you can still publish new content — we’re joined by brand voice expert and copywriter Justin Blackman.

Watch the episode to hear Justin answer these questions:

  • Lots of branding agencies have their own special process for developing brands, including tone and voice. But is there a basic process any marketer can do to strengthen their voice?
  • How can brands avoid sounding just like other brands, especially as they’re starting to explore their own voice?
  • How do you know when you’ve got your voice “right”? Any metrics or reactions to look out for?

What's Your Take On Brand Tone?

Have you clearly defined your brand voice? Or are you switching voices so fast, your audience’s heads are spinning? Let me know how you’ll change your approach in the comments. And send my love to Patricia.

Author: Josh Braaten

CEO - Brandish Insights

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