For B2B companies, playing it safe with messaging can make it difficult to stand out from the competition. Combining personality with professionalism is the best way to make your message stick.
Where to Start: Getting to Know Your Brand Attributes How well do you know your company? When you’re creating your brand voice, becoming reacquainted with your company and how you want it to be perceived is a great place to start. The process of creating a brand voice is often a matter of discovering what you’re already known and liked for. Some of the questions worth asking are: ● How is the company perceived by the customers and the public?● How does the company leadership want to be known by the customers and public?● What are the things that your core customers respond strongly to? The answers to these questions will be helpful in the next step of the process in which you’ll take these attributes of your company and turn them into your voice.
Turning Brand Attributes Into a Brand Voice What are some of the words that kept coming up when you started to review your company? Perhaps it was ‘friendly,’ ‘personalized service,’ ‘cutting edge,’ or maybe ‘quirky.’ The words you have assembled from the first exercise will make up the vocabulary that will be used to describe your brand voice. Begin by compiling your list of words into a document and use them to build more detailed descriptions of what your brand voice should be. For example, perhaps the words or phrases that kept coming up included things like “welcoming to newcomers,” “excellent source of education and learning about the topic,” “eccentric,” and “cheerful.” You’ll want to note these, but also turn them into statements like: “Our brand voice is welcoming, encouraging, and cheerful to first-time visitors as well as those who repeatedly come to our website as a reliable source of topical information.” This extreme specificity about how the language should make customers feel will be invaluable as you develop the next tool: a dedicated document that describes your brand voice. Creating a Centralized Document to Describe Your Brand Voice All the work you’ve done thus far will have been for nothing if you don’t turn it into a concrete plan that can be followed by employees and any copywriters that work on your projects. Having this critical reference document will help ensure consistency throughout all the platforms where your messaging appears. You might be wondering what should be included in your document. So far you have a list of words and a more thorough description of your brand attributes. That’s a good start. To go even more in-depth, you could also include well-known personalities and characters that might represent the brand voice. Another good addition to this document could be a list of core values that you want to reinforce across platforms. A list of “Do’s and Don’ts” with exact phrases you are apt to use and those you absolutely would steer clear of will also be of value to your team.Now that you have your personality down pat, let’s talk about adding professionalism. Rethinking What “Professional” Sounds Like What constitutes ‘professional’ these days is much different than what it used to be. Think about how acceptable workwear has shifted. Once upon a time, a proper suit was the only way to go in certain industries. These days, people have the flexibility to opt for more casual attire as long as they get the job done, and the same can be considered true for your messaging. True professionalism is about being perceived as trustworthy and competent in your field of expertise. The way you choose to do this is up to you and provides you space for creativity and the ability to reflect the personality of your company in a way that people will remember. Use Your Voice Brand voice is worth spending time on because it helps create a consistent and clear way of communicating to your customers. Despite what conventional wisdom might say, infusing personality doesn’t need to negatively impact your perceived professionalism. In fact, memorable, lively copy can ensure that your brand is remembered and stands out from the rest.