Building a brand voice: how to remain authentic but relevant in the age of comparison

March 13, 2024

Just as we are all unmistakably identifiable by our unique appearances and voices, so do brands need to be instantly recognizable for their target audiences by the way they look, write and speak. This is a necessary prerequisite, if a brand aims to stand out as a reliable partner and earn the trust and loyalty of its customers. But in order to achieve this goal successfully, each brand needs to develop and employ one main important tool that relates to it in a unique and unmistakable way – and this tool is known as its so-called “brand voice”.

What is “brand voice” and why is it important for your business?

Brand voice is the recognizably specific way in which a brand communicates and presents itself to its target audience. It plays a crucial role for the distinction of the brand from its competition and it is an important tool for the establishment of a deeper and more personal connection between the brand and its customers.

But building a brand voice in a successful and authentic way is not an easy task, especially in the contemporary overcrowded competitive landscape. Nowadays, all customers are bombarded with a myriad of brand voices struggling to grasp their attention everywhere they go on a daily basis. And they have become increasingly adept at tuning these voices out and evading to succumb to their well-known traditional tactics.

That is why the brands that aim to distinguish their voices from the crowd of competitors and establish a solid and long-lasting bond with their customers need to come up with boldly differentiated and uniquely tailored strategies in order to be able to relate to their target audiences personally and immediately. The modern customers have been found to recognize and respond more easily to well-defined and authentic brand voices that directly resonate with their personal needs, values and experiences. So, the best way to achieve this, first and foremost, is by remaining honest and transparent with the audience about the brand’s personality and values, as well as about the real advantages offered by the brand’s products or services. Then, there are also several other steps that brands can follow, if they aim for authenticity and relevance of their brand voice.

So, if you are on the lookout for some useful tips on how to build an authentic brand voice for your business and keep it relevant to your target audience, stick around and read through the rest of this article. You will also find out some interesting details about the development and success of several of the most widely recognizable and authentic brand voices.

How can you build an authentic brand voice?

The first step that you need to take towards the rendition of authenticity to your brand voice is to gain a thorough understanding of the unique characteristics of your target audience. These include their demographic information (like their age, location, education and job role), as well as information about their particular needs, challenges, motivations, goals and expectations in relation to your brand.

Secondly, you also need to understand your competition completely. If you get to know your main competitors’ brand voices well, you will get a better idea about the appropriate and inappropriate tactics for your industry. You will also be able to recognize better what language and tropes you need to avoid, as well as to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor brand, so as to determine the trends of the industry. These trends will reveal to you the best opportunities to distinguish your brand voice successfully.

And there is a third factor of which you need to be well aware, too – your brand itself. Before setting out to craft your brand voice, you need to ensure that you have a sound grasp on the tenets and messaging that your brand is founded upon. These assets include, for example, the purpose, vision, mission and core values that your brand stands for, as well as its personality and competitive advantages.

Only the brands that clearly know who they are and what they aim to achieve are capable of building their brand voices in an authentic way that is relevant to their target audience. And their brand voices are hard to ignore because they manage to convey the values of the company, its differences from the competition and its trustworthiness for the customers unwaveringly and unambiguously.

Nonetheless, even the most successfully built authentic brand voices further face the challenge of preserving their relevance to the customers in the long run. In order to be able to do that, they need to find and apply the most effective strategies that would solidify the bond with their audience and earn their long-term loyalty to the brand despite the inevitable and constantly ongoing comparison to their competition.

How can you sustain the relevance of your brand voice in the age of comparison?

Several general strategies have been identified as effectively managing to preserve the long-term relevance of brand voices to their audiences against the contemporary backdrop of competitive comparison. Their common denominator is the fact that all of them seek to establish a personal and emotional connection with the customers, which has proven to run deeper and to last longer.

The most impactful of these strategies is referred to as “emotional storytelling” – the practice of telling a compelling brand story to reveal the values and features that make your brand unique. This has been proven to be the easiest way to connect with people on an emotional level and get your message across with a stronger influence.

Another clever strategy to achieve this effect is through the practice of integrating user-generated content in your brand story, so as to support it with real-world results and feedback from the customers or users of your products or services. In this way, you will increase your brand’s credibility by providing reliable evidence of the truthfulness behind its story.

And finally, your trustworthiness and reliability as a brand would best shine through your overall messaging, if you focus on creating content that is easy for people to understand and connect with; if you let your messaging reflect your personality; and also, if you manage to convey your confidence, transparency and honesty by means of your brand voice. You can achieve all of these goals, if you strive to: avoid using industry jargon or overly complicated language; draw people to your brand voice by making it more personally relatable; convey a sense of certainty, authority and honesty in what you say and do, so as to earn the trust of your audience and retain it for a long time.

The stories of some of the most widely recognizable brand voices: how did they succeed?

One of the most famous success stories behind a well-known and established brand relates to the transformation of the Marlboro cigarettes’ voice from mildly targeting women to boldly targeting men in the 1950s. This shift in the brand’s target audience was one of the most significant changes in its marketing strategy, and it is regarded as one of the most iconic and influential brand repositionings in the entire history of advertising.

Marlboro managed to revolutionize the existing marketing strategies at the time because it was the first brand to realize that if it aimed at a complete redefinition of its voice, it needed to create a strong emotional connection with its target audience. Therefore, it introduced the Marlboro Man campaign, which became the epitome of rugged masculinity and freedom, as it evoked a sense of adventure and rebellion that resonated with most men across America. The brand, thus, came to be associated with powerful values such as independence, strength, and adventure – and so, Marlboro tapped into the desires and aspirations of its customers successfully. The emotional appeal of the brand’s messaging went beyond the mere act of smoking and turned it into a lifestyle choice for its loyal customers.

Another famous and well-established brand that has managed to relate to the emotions of its customers and become an integral part of their lives is Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola’s brand voice is also focused not so much on the product it offers, as on the feelings evoked by the product. Therefore, its tone is joyful, positive and encouraging because it aims to simply make the customers feel happy when they consume the product.

The brand voice employed by Apple represents yet another example that has succeeded to relate to its customers in an authentic and personal way. But Apple’s voice relies more on approaching them as individuals simply, creatively and profoundly, as this appeals better to its target audience of artists and iconoclasts. Both Apple’s products and brand voice feel personally designed with thoughtful precision, as there is no element of them that is not absolutely necessary.

All in all, there are many details that you need to take into account, if you want to build and maintain an authentic and consistent brand voice that successfully attains your business targets – especially considering the modern age of constant comparison to your competitors. But brand voice is a crucial element of your communication with the target audience, whose trust and loyalty you are trying to earn. Therefore, you should not underestimate its significance for your business and you should consider well your strategies and approaches to developing it, so as to achieve your goals. And if you need more useful tips on how to craft your brand voice authentically and successfully – do not hesitate to contact us immediately – our team is always ready to support and advise you!

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