Every brand has a brand voice. Every sentence on your website, every adjective you use, every e-mail you send and package you ship and PDF you provide for download creates this voice--whether it be through the words, the imagery, even the colors you've picked for your brand. It all comes together to create a "persona," and that persona helps the consumer make a decision. Do you relate to them? Great. They're sold. And if you don't, they move on.
Where a whole lot of brands go wrong is they think the goal of a brand voice is to be liked by everyone. The biggest market possible! But that's not how it works. That's just a lot of wishful thinking.
I'm a writer, so whenever I'm handed a branding project here at Idea Booth and instructed to give a brand a new voice, I come at it from a writer's perspective. In the art of writing, the voice is everything. In fact, I would argue that the tone of voice is more important than anything that's actually said in the content. The tone is what creates the outline of your persona and provides context to what you're saying in the first place. Without a refined and precise tone, you are just peddling adjectives hoping they speak for you--sort of like a suit on a man who doesn't quite know what he's talking about.
The reason so few brands actually have a dominating voice in their market is because they focus too much on what they think the consumer wants them to be, instead of having a very clear understanding of who they are in themselves.
And is this not one of life's deepest truths? Do we not gravitate to those who emit an aura of confidence and self-awareness? Do we not pledge our allegiance, follow them into the unknown, and trust in where they're going?
We do. We, as human beings, do this with each other every single day.
So then why don't we build brands in the same way?
Here's the truth of it: It's because in order to create a brand voice that matters, in order to be someone of value, you have to (at the same time) be willing to stand on your own two feet and realize not everyone is going to like you. No influential voice, in the history of anything, sang without objection. And it isn't just what is said, but how it's said. Each influential voice rings true because of where it comes from, deep down in the pit of the stomach, knowing who you are and exactly what you believe in. Don't seek permission. Give that permission to yourself.
Unless you have that level of self-awareness for your brand, your voice will never say what it needs to say. It will just be a conglomerate of adjectives, carefully sewn together and worn like a new suit. It will look nice. It won't turn anyone off. It will do the job well and it will come with a lifetime guarantee.
But it will never move the hearts of men.
And as a result, your brand will be just another business, instead of the influential voice it could have been.