Quickstart Guide by Susan Harkins
Ever wondered how brands establish an authentic tone of voice? Want to apply strategic industry methods to your brand communications?
A mission statement should be unique to each organization and should reflect its values, ethics, and goals. Mission statements are public messages that explain your brands greater plan. A unique value proposition (UVP) is a statement that describes how your product or service is different from your competitors and why customers should choose you. This helps a brand stand out from competitors by clearly communicating what makes them different.
Go beyond aesthetic. Examine what the brand stands for - if it were a person - who would it be - what would it be interested in?
Audience research is an essential part of any successful marketing strategy, by taking into account regional demographic importance, and leveraging population based demographic insights, you can gain a better understanding of audiences and create content that resonates with them authentically. It’s not just demographics and slang you need to consider – it’s actual location and lifestyle. Understand their habits to understand their lives and where you fit in.
Think about your entire audience (or segment) as an individual person. Who is your ideal audience? Identify who you want to target and what they're all about.
Some brief online searching should provide you with a short list of competitors in your space that align with your purpose and aesthetic. Once you’ve developed your list spend time researching their brand identity and voice. What do their ads and social posts look like? What type of voice do they have on their website? What about their social feed? Do they share client content? Do they speak directly to their audience? Take note of what you see that resonates - and where they are lacking. Don't forget to take note of specific keywords.
Keep friends close - and competition closer. Make a short list of competitors in your market that you want to surpass. Aim to include companies of varying success to use as a benchmark for your own progress.
Constructing a clear brand language will enable you to create a solid base for the words, terminology, and jargon that should be used in your overall customer communications and marketing efforts. Consult your research, mission statement and UVP to find your unique keywords and expand from there. If you wish to sound exclusive, consider incorporating industry specific jargon or acronyms. This could also give your content an edge over competitors and make it stand out from the rest while positioning you as an expert in the field.
Choose your brand Persona, Purpose, Language + Tone. Select one option from each area of the chart above that best fits your brand and intentions. Use this as a guideline when crafting communications.
Use marketing analytics tools to track how well your content is performing and identify any areas where you need to adjust it. Run A/B tests with differing voice or keywords to get real data feedback from specific audiences. Additionally, you can request real, conscious feedback on how users perceive your message and what changes they would suggest. Consider sending out a periodic survey for audience feedback or conduct a focus group type study for more specific detailed input.
It is likely that you will need to make adjustments or refinements in your language depending on the purpose of the communication or how your audience responds. Don't be afraid to adapt.
The most important thing to do - is to begin.
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