“He will join us or die!”
“Do you feel lucky, punk?”
“Congratulations on your one cousin. I have seventy, each one better than the last!”
If I told you that Dwight, Darth Vader, and Clint Eastwood each said one of these quotes, would you have trouble matching up the speaker to the quote? I doubt it, and I’m pretty sure that most people could get these right on the first try. Why is that?
In showbiz, it’s important to establish strong characters who are easily identifiable. This makes them more loveable, memorable, and relatable, which ultimately increases profits for the networks. Can something from showbiz really help your B2B company?
Yes, it can. Creating a memorable brand is very similar to creating a strong TV character. You want people to easily recognize your brand, remember you even when they’re not in direct contact with one of your ads, and stay loyal because they love your brand. To do this effectively, you can create a brand voice to help your business stay in character.
In this article, we’ll talk about the ROI of creating a brand voice, how you can make one, and how to make sure your team gets the most out of it.
Increase leads by 97% with buyer persona research
Messaging built on strong buyer persona research can profoundly affect your ROI when done consistently and with the right voice. Study after study shows improvements in email marketing, web-traffic conversion rates, marketing-generated revenue, and site visit duration.
- Skytap saw an increase of 97% in leads from online marketing.
- NetProspex got a 171% increase in marketing-generated revenue.
- HubSpot found that having buyer personas can increase a website’s effectiveness and ease of use by 2-5 times.
These examples clearly show the value of using a brand voice for your company. But, a brand voice can help in other ways too. It can help cut down on team confusion when creating sales and marketing materials and ensure that communication between employees and customers is always building your brand. So, how can you get started?
Infuse your customers, employees, and leadership into your brand voice
To create a compelling brand voice, you need to get input from your customers, your company’s leadership, and your employees. This input will help you create a voice that’s appealing to your customers and that your team believes in.
You need to find out why your best customers are choosing you over the competition. Customer interviews are a great way to find out. What should you ask in these interviews? Start by learning basic demographic information. The following points are the essence of what you want to learn in the customer interviews.
- What were they looking for when they made their choice?
- How did they look for solutions to their problem (blogs, friends, competitors, etc.)?
- How did you solve the issues they were facing?
- Is there something about your brand personality that stood out to them? Are there any specific qualities they were looking for in your company?
- What do they like most about your offering?
It’s usually better to ask these questions subtly as you tend to get more honest answers than asking them directly. Below is an image you can save that shows the types of questions we would ask when performing buyer persona interviews.
Depending on how long you’ve been in business and the size of your customer base, you may have other sources of customer data available to you. For example, you can also leverage analytics data and customer surveys. The more data you have will give you a better pulse on how your customers actually feel.
Get company leadership on the same page
To truly find your company’s voice, you need to identify the core of your business. This includes things like company values, mission, roadmap, target market, and your competitors. We know it can be challenging, but you need to get leadership to commit to a day when your team can discuss and decide on all of these elements.
To get this part done, we like to use a method developed by Jake Knapp from Google Ventures, called a brand sprint. Jake describes it this way: “The point of these exercises, it turns out, is to make the abstract idea of ‘our brand’ into something concrete.”
During this meeting, you’ll get all the elements you need from your team to create your brand voice. We like this method because we can get the right people in the room, have time constraints that limit the amount of distraction, and get the buy-in we need to move forward.
Input from employees
Your employees typically interact with customers more than your leadership. While it’s probably not possible to implement all of their feedback, you should still listen. This is especially true of input from your sales and customer service teams who have frequent interaction with customers. Look for trends among the input and weigh them accordingly. When you find recurring themes, it may be a sign that you need to incorporate them into your brand voice.
The four main components of your brand voice
1. Brand story
Every great character has a brand story, and your brand should have one too. Now, we’re not talking about your company history, but rather a story that clearly shows the purpose of what you do.
The brand story should describe who you are, the problem you solve, why you do it, and how customers benefit in a few concise paragraphs. This main messaging is instrumental in helping you persuade potential customers.
2. Buyer personas
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal client. The buyer persona should include demographics, information on how they shop, goals, roadblocks, and other helpful data. Whenever anyone on your team communicates with a customer, writes for your website, or creates sales and marketing materials, they can write to your buyer personas.
Doing so will ensure that everything your team creates is always done with the customer in mind.
3. Brand avatar
The brand avatar represents your company. Creating this helps to humanize your company. Since it personifies your company, you can use this resource to imagine how your company communicates and the qualities that communication should embody.
4. Content strategy + guidelines
Finally, we get to the strategy that all this customer research makes possible. Because we have done the work of talking to customers, digging into analytics, and talking to our team, we now have the data we need to make a powerful strategy.
This strategy should include a content calendar that’s based on customer insights and SEO research. Together, these help you target the keywords your customers are interested in and are attainable within your current website authority.
Within your content strategy, you should include guidelines for posting on social media. These guidelines will ensure that employees use your brand avatar when talking on the company’s social channels. A consistent voice has a profound effect on your success when marketing on social. But we’re not the only ones who think so.
"With all of the noise on social today, creating a unique brand voice is a crucial aspect of differentiating your brand. Think about how your brand voice on social helps further the connection you want to build with your community. Here at Sprout, we really focus on a social voice that embodies our values. For example, "Care Deeply" is one of our core values, and we demonstrate that by truly listening to each customer who reaches out, welcoming feedback and trying to foster a genuine connection with the people we encounter on social. "Seek Simplicity" is something we practice by responding on social in a way that's both thoughtful and concise, reducing the number of interactions it takes to solve an issue and making the interactions we have more impactful.
On a practical level, every brand needs to articulate and document what its voice entails. This means developing guidelines and training your team on things like word choice, editing style, do's and don'ts, and so on. From that foundation, anyone representing your brand on social can feel confident in developing creative content that's always on-brand and furthering that voice in every social engagement."
Manager, Social Media - Sprout Social
Once you have the main parts of the brand voice created, you need to use it.
Using the brand voice
Just like any other marketing tool, your brand voice is useless if not implemented correctly. While your brand voice can help many different aspects of your business, there are three areas you should focus on to take advantage of your brand voice.
- Web and marketing content. This includes your content marketing, web copy, branding, social media, and ads.
- Client communication. Train your sales and marketing teams on how to use the brand voice in every interaction with your clients. Doing so will ensure that every communication with your clients is consistent and brand-building.
- Client treatment. Your sales and marketing efforts are only as good as your service. If you don’t actively try to delight your customers, you’ll lose them.
These are the areas where it’s most important to use your brand voice. But, how can you help your team make the best use of this new tool? Here are four steps that will help.
1. Have them read it. Before training, they should read the entire brand voice. This will help them get a complete understanding of what the overall voice of your company will sound like.
2. Identify what parts of their job they will need to use the brand voice for. For example, the social media expert will need to refer to the social guidelines frequently, while employees who write for your blog will need to understand your buyer personas and their pain points.
3. Designate an expert on your team they can turn to for support. Someone on your team should be available to help answer questions about the company’s voice. This person should also be in charge of reviewing new material and ensuring it aligns with the updated voice.
4. Check in and identify problems with implementation. Your brand voice expert should check in with the members of your team who contribute significantly to your company’s voice. Find out if they are having difficulties implementing and what you can do to smooth out the process.
These steps will ensure that your team gets the training it needs and that everyone is on the same page. From there, your voice will only get louder and more distinct.
A brand voice gives your communication the superpower of being super relevant.
47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. - (Demand Gen Report, 2016)
Practical topics are more likely to be shared and motivate web visitors to return. Creating a brand voice gives you an insider's look into what your customers want to see, and you can focus your content strategy on relevant information. This will accelerate the results you get from your content marketing efforts and make you feel like you have a marketing superpower.
A brand voice will also help you treat customers like human beings, which is not only good for business, but it's the right thing to do. When you engage your audience, you’ll start turning one-time visitors into repeat customers and brand evangelists.
Are you tired of content marketing efforts that fail to build your brand? We can help you create a brand voice and give your brand superpowers. Send me an email, and we can chat over coffee (in-person or virtually).