Tips on how to Craft and Nail Your Model Voice
Your brand voice is the personality of your company.
It is the character that you use to front your operations – the person who makes your company feel tangible. And that's why it's a big deal.
Your brand voice is the part of your brand that your avatars will interact with the most. Social media content, paid ads, long form content, emails, and products are the points of contact you have with your avatars and customers. Every time your avatar hits one of these touch points, it hits your brand voice.
These are the interactions that show who you are and why someone wants to get to know you better.
Getting a brand voice out of thin air is tough though (don't worry, you aren't the only one having problems). It is the existential question that is brought to business – who are you?
We'll show you how to answer this question for your business by laying the groundwork for your brand voice by making a decision and using two spectrums:
- Decision: personal or business
- Spectrum: mentor's friend
- Spectrum: Simple language for jargon
Personal to business
The first step in figuring out your brand voice is deciding who is talking to your avatar. There are 2 options:
- An employee (a CEO, Marketing Director, Social Media Manager, etc.)
- The business itself
At DigitalMarketer, for example, we send emails from our CEO Ryan Deiss. This means that these emails are written in Ryan's voice and signed by him. Take a look at the following example:
Having Ryan as the face of DigitalMarketer works very well in our business, but we understand that this is not the case for everyone. And there are many success stories from companies that aren't a specific person.
For example, Canva doesn't send emails from any of its three founders. You are sending email from Canva:
In some cases, using an employee's voice or the company's voice may not be a big deal (as in our case). In other cases, it may make more sense to focus on the company's voice.
Does your customer avatar want to hear from a person or a company?
Where does your company's personality lie in the spectrum of friends and mentors?
To find the answer to this question, you need to know who your customer avatar is. Who should you be Are you looking for a fun friend or a mature mentor?
For example, we want to be your friend at DigitalMarketer. We don't speak like Neil deGrasse Tyson if he were to convert career paths into digital marketing. We like to talk to our readers and customers as if they were friends we meet for coffee or at a marketing conference.
Here is an example of our brand voice in an email to subscribers:
This works very well for our audience of marketers who want to learn more about the marketing world but don't want to feel like they're at a college lecture again. 🙅♀️🙅♂️
For other companies, however, the voice of the mentor brand works much better. For example, Tony Robbins is not going to try to be your "Let's have a drink" buddy after work. He'll tell you to get in that ice bath, jump on a trampoline, and boost your energy because this is your life and you'd better do something with it.
His brand voice is that of a mentor. Check out Tony's Instagram post below:
His avatar of an average person looking to take their life to the next level wants mentoring and someone to guide them through inspiration and motivation. The mentor brand's voice fits perfectly with Tony's avatar.
If you feel like your avatars don't necessarily want a friend or mentor, this is a spectrum. Every company is neither a friend nor a mentor. In between there is an area for companies that are friends but mentors or mentors but friends.
Where is your business in the spectrum of friends and mentors?
Simple language for jargon
Now that you know who is talking to your avatar (a person or your company) and where your brand voice ranks in the spectrum of friends and mentors, it is time to type in the words that you will be speaking to your avatar.
This is the easy-to-speak spectrum of jargon, where you either use language that anyone can understand (even if they're not familiar with your industry) or use niche jargon, meaning only those that are good. Industry insiders know what you are talking about.
Again, we need to go back to your customer avatar. Who are they and want language? Does it make the most sense to talk to them?
For example, Bulletproof sells foods and supplements for people looking to improve their health and lifestyle. Its founder, Dave Asprey, is very familiar with biohacking jargon – but you won't see any jargon in emails to their subscribers.
Why? Because your customer avatar is not an expert in health care; You are an average person trying to find a better lifestyle. This is why you will see a simple voice in Bulletproof's emails to their subscribers explaining what refined carbohydrates are and why they are bad for you in easy-to-read language:
If only Bulletproof threw the words "refined carbohydrates" at their customers. You wouldn't really know what these carbohydrates are and why they are bad. By using simple language and explaining everything that is not knowledge for the average person, they make their content accessible to many people.
A simple voice is great for bulletproof, but not for any other business.
Here is part of an article from Nasdaq.com that was written using technical jargon such as "cash strategy," "cull risk," "portfolio", "market downturn," liquidation, and more.
It's perfectly fine for Nasdaq to have a brand voice that speaks straight to the technical jargon. The people who will read the Nasdaq blog will be more than well equipped to understand what cash strategy, cull risk, portfolio, and the other terms mean.
However, this doesn't mean that your brand voice has to speak in either plain language or jargon. You can find your happy intermediate point where you can mostly use simple language with a touch of jargon or jargon with a touch of simple language – it all depends on what works best for your customer avatar.
Where is your business in the plain language spectrum?
Here you are – you've created your brand voice based on what your customer avatar wants to read and hear, and now you can be sure that you've determined exactly who you are supposed to be. 🎉
Remember, a brand voice can't change often without confusing your customers. So once you've decided who is talking to your avatar and where you are on the spectrum from friend to mentor and easy-to-speak language, you can't go back and forth as often.
Because of this, understanding your audience is a crucial first step in creating your brand voice.