Develop your brand voice: Messaging, lexicon, and consistency

I talked a little about formulating how to understand what your brand sounds like, but what do you do next?

Once you determine what your brand stands for, you can have a much better idea of how to convey what you want to say. From there, developing your voice stems from messaging and how you want consumers to feel when reading your content.

 
 

Stay on your brand's message

Your brand has to stand for something. Everything it's working toward should come back to this purpose. When you stand for something, people will return to this purpose through each type of communication.

For great brands, you know exactly what that purpose is. It's being different, bringing the athlete out in everyone, or delivering overnight. Everything you do, write, or convey should lead back to this purpose.

Your message includes visuals. Your brand's voice stands next to these visuals and should do them justice. A photo is worth a thousand words, but for brands you likely will have much less than that in an advertisement. Use your space wisely.

List what your brand needs to convey with its voice

By listing what your brand is, and is not, you can help refine how you convey your messages. Your brand can be cute, but not contrived. It can be youthful, but not self important. By creating a definition that says what your brand is, as well as what it isn't, you can avoid falling into a stereotypical conversation.

List multiple adjectives that build on each other. You can be fun, simple, and emotive, without being pandering, false, or unclear. Building these layers into your brand, just like you do when you do a deep dive into your branding, will help make your messaging come across as multilayered.

Voice can change over time as well, brands can grow into their experience. Especially when speaking about personal branding, growing your voice to match your experience can showcase your expertise.

Try on different voices, build a brand lexicon, and get feedback

After listing your adjectives, start building a voice and lexicon. Include your lexicon and strategic brand voice choices in your brand style guide. The style guide (including a lexicon) will create a consistency across writers and teams so that even when people turnover, your brand still sounds the same.

A lexicon is a guide to the types of words you will use or not use. Instead of saying unique, maybe you say quirky. Instead of "Personal training" maybe it's always "Personal Training". Your lexicon can include terms from your industry, but shouldn't be limited to jargon. Building your lexicon should take some time, and can be refined as you go, but solidifying it will make sure your brand voice is consistent.

 
 

Jargon is vague. Whenever you find yourself relying on jargon terms like "synergy" (I'm sure you can think of more), realize you're not being clear. Think about how you can replace a term that people may not even know with something more simple.

Try out different voices when it comes to writing product descriptions, call to actions, etc. Narrow down to the options that best convey your voice. You should be able to A/B test the options that are your favorite to see what people are resonating with.

Stay true to your brand

Building a consistent voice is key to getting consumers to trust your offering. Building a style guide, lexicon, and testing what works - these all create a brand that you want to stick with and one that resonates best with consumers. Consistency of your promise, tone, voice, all go into creating your brand promise.

Staying true to the brand promise you've created can be hard: you want to pivot when you think things may not be working. However, a brand promise is what needs to keep showing up. Give your brand time to resonate with consumers and time for them to hear about it.

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