Brand image, brand identity, brand voice.
This article assumes you’ve already got the first two covered, but now want to develop better online communication.
As it happens, your target audience(s) will have a lot to do with what your brand voice sounds and looks like. The first determining factor is the kind of company you are and the kind of products or services you offer. The second is conveying a message in the way your target audiences most prefer.
A further two factors come into play: brand voice and tone.
The short version is that voice has to do with conveying the persona of your brand. It presents the chief characteristics of your company and product or service to the public. The more nuanced tone, on the other hand, is how you do it and the type of language used to do so.
Voice and tone together—since you cannot have one without the other—can be consciously used to build trust, influence and persuade. These core objectives of any marketing strategy are important to get right.
Finding an appropriate brand voice that aligns itself well with your brand begins by defining your brand a little more closely.
All successful companies have a vision and a solid business plan including a marketing strategy. It almost goes without saying that marketing strategies need to be based on market research and hard data and require a team effort. We thought we would get that point in early on, although it is not the focus of this article.
Let’s look at some contrasting brand voice examples to see how these marketing strategies tie in with brand persona and voice. Brand voice and tone are conveyed in content. Good content relies on consistency over time and across platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, your website and blog).
Wine and Naval Defense
The first example is Mateus Rosé, a Portuguese wine brand that began with an innovative bottle shape in 1942, and by 1975 had achieved worldwide exporting success.
The iconic bottle contains a pink, slightly sparkling wine that is easy on the palate and extremely versatile. The product’s success is remarkable since there are thousands of wines produced in Portugal alone that are arguably better wines from a connoisseur’s point of view. The difference comes from market positioning and brand voice and tone.
The content is like the wine: light and easy and to be enjoyed by everyone of legal drinking age.
The second example is an online magazine called Mer et Marine produced by the French media giant Groupe Télegramme. Both are published in the French language. Mer et Marine, however, has selected articles translated and adapted from the French and published online in English.
The technical articles on French naval and defense equipment are intentionally information-heavy. Technical detail and accuracy are paramount.
The content is read all over the world by naval personnel, engineers, and shipbuilders. Readers have no problem navigating the complex concepts involved in this sector. A similar English publication, the Maritime Journal, communicates in the same way.
How your product is sold determines the way you write that all-important content for marketing purposes.
The ships and wind turbines featured in Mer et Marine and the Maritime Journal are sold by companies participating in high-level public tenders. There is no online shop.
Aside from demonstrating technological and functional superiority, the business end of this industry does not take place online. Potential buyers are merely alerted to the events within the maritime sector via Twitter.
You wouldn’t know it from their website, but like Mer et Marine, all Mateus Rosé marketing material starts out life in the Portuguese language, and is also translated and adapted into English for the international market.
Sales mechanisms in conjunction with your target audience determine your brand voice. Your brand voice is also guided by what your target audiences want to know and what they need to know.
Brand Voice and Content
The Harvard Business Review published an article five years ago stating that nine out of ten organizations are now marketing with content.
Read our article on content marketing tips for a more in-depth look than this post can provide.
The bottom line is that without consistently and regularly provided content in an appropriate voice, your ability to compete is at a huge disadvantage. And that has serious repercussions for your business.
Language Has a Voice and Style
Look at the language used consistently on the Mateus Rosé platforms. The sentences are short and easy to understand. There is repetition not only from page to page on the website, but echoes from advertising campaigns decades ago. The language is not bogged down with detail.
The tone is friendly and fun-loving. Who doesn’t want to drink the wine when they read “Mateus Rosé Original is ideal as an aperitif, to accompany a refreshing moment in the day”?
Even the food label requirements for accurate nutritional information are expressed in a refreshing way and easily taken in.
Mer et Marine, by contrast, uses impersonal language, and a very matter-of.fact voice. A randomly picked sentence, “In 2018 Couach unveiled a new model of fast patrol boat optimized for, among other duties, ASW missions against alien submarines operating in coastal waters and their automated vehicles.” demonstrates this.
Because of the need to pack in as much technical information as possible, the sentences tend to be longer. There is no need to explain what looks like strange abbreviations to the average reader since those in the industry know what they mean.
The facts are laid bare. Their only appeal lies in the accuracy and completeness of the information. The tone could even be said to be boring. But it is appropriate.
Graphics as Voice and Tone
Graphics add color and texture to both the voice and tone of your content. You would not wear a suit to the beach or a swimsuit to a night at the opera. In a similar fashion, graphics have to be appropriate to the voice and tone of your company’s message.
All Mateus Rosé graphics feature pink, which is a good match for the color of their wine, also pink. The color suggests youthfulness, enjoyment of life and conviviality. The color is designed to make you feel at ease; it’s calming and makes you smile.
The photography features people drinking wine and enjoying themselves. It conveys the same message as the graphic elements and blends perfectly with the uncomplicated use of language and pleasant tone of the content.
Mer et Marine and the Maritime Journal are not appealing to the reader’s emotions at all. They are providing technical information and a lot of it. Both use blue, the color of the sea. That said, many websites use blue since the color is thought to cultivate the user’s trust.
Its readership demands thoroughly checked facts on what are very large structures. Both websites use larger than normal fonts for headings and enormous, high-definition photos. Together, these two elements convey the impressive magnitude of the theatre of operation.
The photographs provide precise visual detail of what the complex texts accompanying them describe. They add resonance to the voice and tone of the written content.
Content gets you seen. And visibility, as well as a consistent voice in an appealing and appropriate tone no matter what that might be will get you those sales you’re targeting. Carefully chosen words are always the best ones.
There are so many different types of companies and different types of audience. It follows that their brand voices will be different. Our two examples at opposite ends of the spectrum on so many levels give ample evidence of that.
For more ways on how you can influence the way your brand speaks and how it sounds, read other digital marketing articles on our blog. Remember that content, which announces your presence and carries your brand voice on your chosen platforms, is king.