There are myriad ways you can connect with consumers. One of the most important ways is developing a brand voice that shows the consumer packaged goods (CPG) world who you are and provides that first impression and connection with potential consumers.
Now, you may be thinking, “I have a brand. But does it have a voice?” Or maybe you’re thinking, “My brand has a voice, but is it saying the right thing?”
Creating a brand voice that connects with consumers can seem like a daunting task, but we’ve done some of the heavy lifting for you and created this quick guide to help you create a brand voice that sings better than Pavarotti and Maria Callas combined.
What is a brand voice?
What do you think of when you hear the words “little blue box”? What comes to mind when you see a gecko? When you see a white cursive lettering on a red background?
If you said, Tiffany, Geico, and Coca-Cola, you’ve just passed your first test of understanding what brand voice is.
Simply put, a brand’s voice is its vibe or its personality, if you will. It’s the image you create, and the feeling that you want consumers to take away after interacting with your brand. It flows through every point of contact the brand has with the consumer.
A brand voice is consistent no matter where a consumer connects with the brand, whether it be on your website, social media, in a brick-and-mortar store, a television commercial (or streaming commercial if you don’t pay the upcharge for commercial free), billboards, magazine ads, you name it. If it is a communication vehicle, the brand voice is there, and it is familiar and reliable to consumers. A strong brand voice is recognized from a mile away. You see the Nike swoosh, and you don’t even have to see the words Just Do It—you’re already thinking it in your head. You see the smiling mustachioed man on the tall cylindrical chip can that is part of Pringles’ brand voice, and you can’t help but think, “Once you pop, you just can’t stop.”
A brand voice isn’t just a catchy tagline and creative insignia or packaging, a strong brand voice goes beyond that. The messaging you use to talk about your brand to your customers are part of your brand voice; so are the color palettes and images you use. When intertwining all of these different pieces, the tone you set is the foundation of your brand voice.
Why is a brand voice important? Does it really matter?
If you’re asking yourself that last question, let us respond with a resounding, “Yes!”
Your brand voice matters a great deal. Why? Because it’s how your consumers both identify your brand and identify with your brand.
CPG is a crowded field these days, and having a strong brand voice helps cut through the noise. It gives you the ability to connect with consumers and show them just how you stand apart from other, similar brands.
There’s also the fact that while a lot of what makes up your brand voice is visual, there’s a good portion of it that’s just…not. As one CPG expert writes, “Technology is once again moving us into relatively uncharted territory, because consumers don’t even need to look at products, or search them visually, to order them… so the “store” shelf is evolving dramatically. That’s why CPG brands need to find their direct to consumer voice as we move to a direct #RetailRelevancy world.”
So, while consumers can now order products via smart speakers—meaning, they’re not engaging most of their five senses as they traditionally would when shopping—your brand has to be at top of mind for them, but do so without them being able to see, smell, touch, or taste it right in front of them, as if they were in a grocery store.
(Technology: Keeping CPG interesting since…always!)
A strong brand voice is important not just to keep up with changing technologies and delivery channels, but last through whatever CPG throws at brands. When you have an established, reputable brand voice, consumers know they can depend on your brand to deliver the message you’ve created. Maybe that’s a dose of quick wit or unexpected humor, a bit of absurdity for what would otherwise be a common product. Or it’s a sense of reliability you’ve cultivated, so consumers know that your brand, your product, will be there through good times and bad. Whatever your brand voice, a strong one has a lasting presence.
How can you create an engaging brand voice?
There’s no one way to create a strong brand voice that instantly connects with consumers. There’s also no easy way to do it, either. But if we were to create a roadmap of how to get from start to finish, there are some essential brand voice stops you’ll want to make.
1. Know your audience. You can’t develop a strong brand voice if you don’t know who you’re speaking to. Who is your target consumer? Why are they interested in your brand? What are they looking for? How do you fulfill that need? Where do they want to engage with your brand? Understanding these facets will help zero in on your audience, which then helps you zero in on the voice that will connect best with them.
2. Understand the difference between your brand voice and your brand tone. Brand voice is consistent and dependable. It’s your core messaging that pervades every piece of communication. Tone is how you present that messaging and it can change depending on which channel you’re using to communicate and what you are communicating. (For example, a social media post has a different tone than, say, a formal press release.)
3. Create a brand voice style guide. Once you’ve established your brand voice, write down everything that needs to be known about it: who your audience is, what your core messaging is, what phrases are okay to use, and which ones should never be used, etc. You need something tangible you can share with your team so that everyone is on the same page, and so your brand voice can speak clearly and consistently across all communication channels.
4. Remember that you are a brand, not an entire category. There are certain qualities of your brand that set you apart from the others in your category, so make sure your brand voice reflects that. Don’t let your voice dip into sweeping category generalizations—your unique value propositions are what will solidify the foundation of your brand voice.
Use your voice!
A strong brand voice can take you places. Where? Wherever your consumers go! Your brand voice can let you connect with consumers so that they take you everywhere with them, time and time again.
Do you need help finding your brand voice? Connect with one of our marketing providers on RangeMe.