It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.
A strong voice tells you with tone, content, and intention exactly what it wants to convey. Without any of these one elements, you lose the message.
Most of in-person communication is conveyed through body language. Online, barring a video, people have your words and an image to interpret what you’re trying to convey.
Ever get an email that sounded flat out upset or rude? You give people the benefit of the doubt especially if you know them and emails are easy to misinterpret. But are people going to give your brand the benefit of the doubt, or will they just keep scrolling?
Become intentional with what you say and how you say to generate more loyal followers.
Voice in Television
One of the most apparent places you can understand brand voice is through television and movies. Right now, I’ve been sucked into Jane the Virgin because of the compelling narrative and Jane’s perspective. But it’s not just what happens, it’s how it happens.Her story is told with a voice over narrator who brings additional humor or insight to the situation. The show is influenced by magical realism and telenovelas, giving it drama and a humorous intensity that’s self aware.
You may have noticed the craze around Game of Thrones, the show that’s launched a thousand memes, as well. With 8 seasons and even a petition to redo the ending, the narrative crafted by George R.R. Martin has driven fans to obsession. It’s a show that draws individuals into the world because of one of its tenets: no one is safe. A departure from most television shows, it’s accrued and audience that has overwhelmed even HBO servers.
Both are examples of strong narratives – in style and content- that have built strong followings. But television is not the only place where movements can spawn.
Nudity on Social Media
Social media censorship surrounding nudity is strong. On Facebook especially, accounts can be closed and groups formed to share nude content. With Instagram initially being more lenient, there are many accounts that share nude images including one of my favorites: @nude_yogagirl.
I know, sharing nudity on the internet may not sound all that kosher. However, there’s nothing inherently sexual or exploitative around nude images – which is one of the messages that she is trying to share.
Her account depicts nude yoga poses around the world. She’s a model who has even created fine art prints of her photos. Recently, Instagram has been trying to mitigate her account’s reach.
She has moved her followers to use the hashtag #NUEDisNormal with their own nude yoga post to fight against the censorship of artistic nude images. And people are responding in support.
Below are some of the stories she’s shared:
The power of a compelling story, from television to social media, can compel audiences to support your cause or effort.
What does this mean for small businesses?
Have a point of view
A point of view allows businesses to say something interesting and it lets your audience decide if they identify or relate to what you offer. A lack of a point of view looks like a generic product- it has nothing to say, visually or otherwise. People don’t think about it, don’t identify with it, and are driven by price for purchase. Becoming generic, not just in terms of the adjective, is what companies fight against. At that point, you may be added into the general lexicon but you don’t have any brand protections (you can’t trademark generic).
Be aware of your tone
How many companies feel like they’re talking down to you? Or that they’re judging your choices? Or are inherently insisting that you’re not beautiful/smart/strong/etc. without their product?
Be careful how you share your information or promote your product. Understand how you want to relate to your audience so you can control the tone of the information you provide. There’s a big difference between information shared by your best friend versus your teacher, and it’s a fine line between teaching and condescending (especially since people often go by words alone).
Know how you want your audience to respond
Have an idea of how you want people to react to what you share. On television they may be going for ratings, but when it comes to your marketing you can designate how you want people to respond. Common calls to action (CTA) include:
- Answer a _______
- Join membership
- Learn more
- Participate in X
- Redeem free _______
- Request a review
- Reach out/Contact