What should my brand sound like?
Marketers talk a lot about cultivating a brand personality, but how do they actually accomplish it? How do you go from a brand name to a fully developed personality. For a person, it takes a lifetime of experiences to fully develop your voice, but still takes effort into honing how that voice sounds across our visual, auditory, and written presentation.
For a brand, there is much less time to develop a personality because as soon as it hits the market it's already in front of customers. Who's to say if you need a brand personality? If your product is at parity with others, brand differentiation is one of the few avenues available to create demand in the market.
But, let's say you know you need a brand personality, what do you do next?
Learn about the brand from its employees
Start by speaking with people at the company- from the founders downward. Get an understanding of where the brand is headed, why it was founded, and what they are trying to bring to consumers through a product line.
There is a difference between product marketing and telling a brand story. When it doubt, think of Nike. Nike doesn't sell shoes. Nike sells its brand and the desire for people to be a part of the larger brand experience. "Just do it" transcends a product and takes on a lifestyle for consumers.
Do a little research
Next, have a better understanding of the product sets and how they fit into what the company is delivering. The company might be delivering innovation, but understand how it's showcased across the product lines. A great example is Apple who stand for "something different." Apple showcases their identity through its simple creations, streamlined designs, and creatively inclined interface.
Include research within the category and outside of the brand that is being developed. By looking at the competition, marketers can better understand the gaps in the market and see if that by filling them, they are creating a brand that customers can better identify with.
Bring together brand attributes
A final step in your brand discovery is to brainstorm what attributes best suit your brand. If your company is innovative, do they also want to be approachable? Or do they want to be considered a less-accessible brand authority? Or are they the outsider, hip, trendy, etc.? There are plenty of ways to describe a brand, just make sure the choices you go with make sense for the brand as a whole and is something that can be carried with the brand as it grows.
Brands can change over time, but setting the foundation for what it wants to be known for is key to developing a brand that evolves. Apple doesn't say anything new, but it showcases it's brand in many different ways. It's able to stay "on brand" because of its strong brand image and identity that was created, honed, and touted by Steve Jobs.
Start drafting a voice
Finally, keep all of your benefits, examples, and tone in mind when beginning to draft a brand's story, mission, vision, manifesto, and additional copy. By remaining true to the insights uncovered within the brand investigation, marketers stand a better chance of creating a unique brand voice that speaks to the target consumer.
Get some fresh thoughts
After running through the draft, revising, and finalizing the first copy, return back to the brand and ask for their feedback. Fresh eyes on messaging can help tease out particular strengths that may not be highlighted as much as they could, and give marketers a better idea of what the company behind the brand thinks of the overall structure and tone. During this stage, companies and marketers can work together to refine the brand, its image, and what it should sound like.
What does your favorite brand sound like?