Branding Basics for Businesses: How to Find Your Voice & Stick To It

The December 2014 Webs Small Business Digital Trends Survey revealed that 63 percent of small businesses use digital tools to market to customers. When marketing online, businesses must present a coherent look and feel to successfully connect with the target audience. Below are creative ways to showcase your company’s voice, an important, yet often overlooked, part of developing a strong brand.

Understanding Voice

Voice refers to more than just the tone you use to communicate with your audience; it’s the personality of your brand, as Buffer notes. All of the elements that show who you are — colors, logo, brand aesthetics and overall style — combine to become your voice. If your brand appeals to youths, you might have an informal or casual voice; or if you’re a B2B business, a formal voice would be more appropriate.

These elements have to match. A business that has adopted the formal voice and B2B target audience should stay away from select bright colors like hot pink or electric yellow for the logo, but a business that targets adolescent girls, would likely find those colors effective.

Once you come up with the basic elements of voice, you must apply them consistently and routinely across all of your social channels to build brand trust and connection. If you experiment with different voices, you could potentially lose interest from the people you’d already won over.

Using Your Voice to Engage and Inform

When you can demonstrate a clear voice, and use that voice to engage and inform your target audience, you nurture the type of trust that leads to sales. Moreover, your fans will be talking about you and will mention your product or service as the solution, organically growing your brand’s reach.

To engage and inform without shilling, focus on creating and content that is true to your voice and helpful to your target audience. Gather Content has examples of how to engage users using different voices. Using these tips, think through how sample customer responses, Facebook posts or article headlines would be perceived coming from you. Once you’ve developed some prototypes, create and share content in your voice across your channels.

Businesses Doing it Right

It’s always helpful to have example of business that are creating and sharing engaging content in clear voices.

One company doing this well is Internet security and identity theft protection company Lifelock. On its Facebook page, Lifelock posts notifications of data breaches and scam warnings to help its fans stay safe by being informed. Sure, the company occasionally reminds fans of the service it provides. However, these posts are far outweighed by the other content produced and shared.

Another classic example is Apple. A marketing classic, their Think Different campaign showed iconic geniuses and historic figures from Albert Einstein to Cesar Chavez with the words “Think Different.” There were no references to Apple computers (again, no selling). But the ads suggested that Apple created different products to meet the needs of gifted people.

Lindsey is a regular blog contributor, social networking maven and research professional who makes a living freelancing and running a small business. She holds advanced degrees in creative writing and information science and recently worked as the digital repository coordinator at Framingham State University.