Ever read a piece of marketing copy— an instagram caption, email or ad and been able to pick the brand behind it straight away?
A distinctive voice can be just as powerful as a logo in helping you to stand out, influence perceptions of your brand and build trust and relatability. It can help you to attract the right people and say ‘sayonara’ to the rest.
The benefits of having a distinctive brand voice are pretty clear, but knowing how to define your unique brand voice can be a little trickier to define. We can’t just copy another brand. Or say we’re ‘friendly’ or ‘funny’ and call it a day.
When it comes to brand voice, the specifics matter. For example, if your voice is friendly— what does that look like? Is it ‘chat to a neighbour’ friendly or ‘texting your best friend of 10 years’ friendly? If you’re funny— does that involve sarcasm, telling dad-jokes or just being silly?
There’s nothing like real examples to help you grasp just how different brand voices can be, and in turn, how this impacts how you feel about a brand.
So, in today’s Brands We Love we’re taking a look at 3 examples of brands whose distinctive voices have given them an enviable edge.
1. Cards Against Humanity
Dry, witty and informal, Cards Against Humanity regularly insult both their customers and themselves. This brand doesn’t play around with niceties and pleasantries. And that’s what their customers love about them. They’re not afraid to be bold, swear or throw around an offensive or divisive remark. Their brand voice is wonderfully consistent too— on their website, instagram and even in support emails.
What we can learn:
- Remember that even through their voice aims to make people laugh, Cards Against Humanity still temper their tone depending on the scenario, with their priority always being to help their customers above all else.
- What makes you loved by some, will turn away others, but it sure beats being bland or appealing to no one!
2. Hey Tiger
Hey Tiger not only make chocolate that is ethical, instagram-worthy and freakin delicious (I can personally attest to this), but they also have a brand voice that brings all the boys and girls to the yard. They have a conversational, casual voice that echoes their millennial customer-base. Peppered with lovely sensory words (like crunchy, creamy, salty), and fun pop-culture references, Hey Tiger make you want to be their best friend and eat all their chocolate, all at once.
What we can learn:
- Use your own ‘—isms’, phrases, stories and references to give your brand a personal touch and make it feel like you are having a one-on-one conversation with each one of your customers.
- Descriptive, sensory words are a great way to activate the senses and get your customer to imagine eating/drinking/wearing your product before they buy.
3. Southwest Air
SouthWest Airlines cater for a very broad audience, but that doesn’t mean their voice isn’t clearly defined. Their whole brand revolves around the idea of putting people first, and their genuine, honest, emotive messaging mirrors this idea. While, like many other companies, SouthWest use attributes like ‘friendly’ and ‘genuine’ to describe their voice, they go a step further and define what that actually means for their brand. For example, a flick through their brand guidelines shows that their brand voice is, ‘always warm with a positive attitude, never corporate’ and that there should be ‘no faking, over exaggerating, or trying too hard for a joke’. These extra descriptors help their team fully understand what their voice is (and what it isn’t).
What we can learn:
- Describing both how your brand voice should and shouldn’t sound leaves less room for interpretation (especially when working as a team).
- Use real examples to show people how your brand voice plays in different scenarios.
- Your brand voice doesn’t have to sound like you (or someone from your team).
While these brands are all quote different in their messaging styles, each does 3 things really well—
- They mirror their customers’ language.
- Their message themes and writing styles reflect how they want to be perceived as a brand.
- They sound different from others in their industry.
In my experience, getting your voice perfectly dialled in takes time. It’s about listening to your customers, seeing what sticks and revising along the way. In the meantime, we can all learn and get inspired by brands inside and outside our industry. Now I want to know— what are your takeaways from these brand voice examples?
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