So you're at a networking event filled mostly with people you don't know. Whether you like it or not, you want the attendees you connect with to leave with a certain idea or perception of you. To fill out the box you've outlined for yourself, you dress a certain way, select your words, jokes and compliments carefully; you want your new acquaintances to take home the “right” picture of you. This is branding. And, the box you fill and bring to the party is your brand voice.
Your voice can be informative, confident, sarcastic or whatever else you choose. Most importantly, it needs to be authentic. Think of all those people you haven’t met yet; all those people that follow you on social media or read your emails, blog posts and newsletters. Eventually, those people will meet you in person and will find out if you are really who your online persona says you are. People are very good at spotting a fake.
So how do you design your brand voice?
Every medium you use to deliver your message requires its own voice. How you speak on Twitter is not the same as how you speak on LinkedIn or your personal blog. Keep your audience in mind and adapt accordingly.
- Establish who your target audience is. Who are they? What do they do? Who or what do they like? What kind of publications do they follow and what kind of information do they want? What do they do for work or fun? What do they want from you?
- Build your voice's prototype. How do you want your brand to make people feel? What do you want people to do when they come in contact with you? How do you want to feel when you interact with your audience? What 3 qualities do you want your voice to reflect?
- Determine where and how you're going to use each voice you've designed. What information will you share on each social media platform? How are you going to convey authenticity? What will tie your voices together across all mediums?
- Test it out. You can build a focus group within your network by combining people who fit your target and some who don't and weigh their opinions. Or, you can be a brave soul and fly solo. Or mix it up and try both.
The most important thing to remember when you’re building your brand and brand voice is to do what you feel is best, what feels intuitive, natural.
So how about you? What do you think your brand is trying to say?
Sometimes, the voice in my head is louder than the one that comes out of my mouth but I never tell it to shut up. - Liliann Malcolm
This article was re-published from LinkedIn with permission from the author. Liliann Malcolm helps brands become the hero of their own tale by developing unique story lines to best match their identities and find their happy endings. Her specialities include brand management and identity, campaign management from strategy development to market and results analysis. In her spare time, I am a big fan of food, fashion, dancing and stand-up paddleboarding. Connect with Liliann on LinkedIn here.