Developing a clear brand voice ensures that customers will recognize your brand, each and every time they come in contact with it. Just as you want to be mindful of the undertones of tone, you also want to assess your brand voice routinely to make sure that what you’re writing and communicating is staying in-line with what your customers have come to expect.
In a recent post, Ann Handley notes, “Brand voice signals three things: 1) Who we are, 2) Why we do what we do, and 3) What we are like to deal with.”
The first two items are essential for knowing the “you” behind your business. But the third item is particularly relevant. When customers choose whom to work with or buy from based on the connection they’ve made, we business owners want to always be making a good impression. Our brand voice should reflect who we most want to be for our customers.
In order to keep a brand voice consistent and yet attainable across all marketing platforms, Handley suggests choosing three adjectives that “best match your brand personality and the characteristics of your audience or users.”
The three words, for instance, that I would use to describe Little Leaf Copy Editing are the following:
(Like Handley, I couldn’t just stick with three adjectives.)
Next, Handley suggests describing each adjective in detail. In addition to defining what the adjectives mean, in terms of your business, she recommends also describing how your business puts those words into action.
- Smart – For me, being “smart” is as much about know-how as it is about common sense and intuition. Customers sometimes come to me, thinking they need one service. After visiting with them, I realize they’re actually looking for another. For the best customer experience, I listen intently to determine which service or set of services is the right, or “smartest,” fit.
- Knowledgeable – This is where the know-how comes in, but, as much as I could tout my graduate degrees, knowledge goes beyond academia and education. As a life-long learner, I know the necessity of reading (and reading and reading…) to stay on top of the latest writing and content marketing trends and strategies. But learning shouldn’t stop there. If you follow the posts I write and articles I share, you’ll see how I enjoy passing along my knowledge to others. In the end, sharing tricks of the trade can serve two purposes: to demonstrate expertise and to give customers a better understanding of the services I provide.
- Skilled – To be a good editor, I must not only know the written word inside and out (grammar, syntax, etc.), but I also must know how to put that knowledge into practice. The services I offer reflect the skill that I have in molding and refining various writing styles and forms. With everything, correctness, purpose, and relevance are essential to ensure what I create (from this blog post to a newsletter for a client to a polished version of edited copy) is consistent and high in quality.
- Caring – Writing is personal and impressionable. Customers come to me because they often aren’t confident in their own writing abilities. I aim to meet my customers where they are so that, together, we can produce the written works they desire. If I can help customers feel certain about the content they create (or that I create for them), what I do is fulfilling my customers’ greatest need.
Likely, you already know the impression you want to make in your business. Demonstrating those qualities in writing, though, may take some experimenting. Over the next few weeks, I encourage you to practice. Take one event or idea, as Handley does, and write about it from several different perspectives. Find the brand voice that seems to fit who you are and how you want your customers to see you.
The more you exercise your brand voice muscles, the stronger you’ll become at discovering the tone, style, and words that define you.