Whether you’re venturing on your own or have years of experience as a business owner, one of the most challenging aspects of entrepreneurship is creating a compelling brand voice that can clearly articulate what you stand for and captivate your audience.
Maybe you don’t know what to say. Or perhaps you have a clear vision of how you want to communicate. But it can be hard to put into words what you believe in and the values you hold close to your heart.
In this blog, we’re going to dig deep into your brand and beliefs to define your brand voice. You’ll walk away with a short script to easily articulate what you do and how your communications make your ideal clients feel after interacting with you.
What is brand voice?
In simple terms, a brand voice is the way a business — a brand — communicates with its audience. It encompasses your choice of words, your tone, and the overall vibes of your communication in all forms.
In the words of the late Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Your brand voice is one of the main factors that affect how people feel when they come in contact with your business. Does your ideal client feel encouraged, nurtured, supported, optimistic, excited, like they can trust you? That’s the power of your brand voice.
One of the world’s most famous brands, Nike is inspirational and fosters a sense of achievement. Their slogan, Just Do It, is a perfect way to sum up these feelings.
Ask yourself these 3 questions to discover your brand voice
Now it’s time to discover your own brand voice. To do this, we’ll work through a series of exercises that will dig into the deeper, more hidden sides of your business and shape your voice and messaging.
Who are you talking to?
Many times, especially at the beginning of any business, we fall into the trap of wanting to cast a wide net to attract a range of people. But one of the biggest problems with this approach is that it dilutes your messaging and makes it harder for people to connect with you.
The most important element of your brand voice is who you’re trying to reach. Think of your ideal client and what she expects of you. These questions will help you understand her so you can talk to her directly:
- Goals and values: What are her ultimate goals? What does she truly want?
- Sources of information: What has she seen or learned? Maybe a competitor or a similar product — or maybe an entirely different product she thinks will solve the problem.
- Pain points: What’s the problem she’s facing? How does it affect her? These are both the manifestations of the problem (my finances are a mess) and the way she feels about them (I can’t believe I left my taxes for the last minute again. UGH).
- Objections: Why would she feel like you can’t solve her problem? What doubts or concerns could she have? Factors like price, commitment, guarantees, or even ‘this is how it’s always been’ belong here.
How do you want them to feel?
If your business were a person, your brand would be its personality. Your brand elicits emotions and reactions from your audience. It makes them feel a certain way and connect with you because they realize you understand where they’re coming from. So your brand strategy must clarify how you want them to feel and create the environment for those feelings to arise.
To find this, simply ask yourself: How do prospects feel before engaging with me? And how do I want them to feel after working with me? A good example would be feeling overwhelmed by tax prep at the end of the fiscal year — and feeling relieved once they know you’re taking care of everything and getting them set up with minimal effort on their part.
What are you helping them do?
Here’s where it gets good.
Once you know who you’re serving and how you want her to feel, it’s time to define how you’re going to achieve that. This is where your purpose, mission, vision, and values come in. To craft these, ask yourself:
Why do you do what you do? The answer to this question is your purpose. This purpose can help you connect with your audience and create a strong bond through empathy — do you understand firsthand the struggles your ideal client is facing? Have you witnessed or experienced it? Is this the reason you’re compelled to act?
What are you setting out to do? The answer to this question is your mission. Are you helping them achieve something you’ve struggled with yourself? Do you have the tools they need to reach their ultimate goal?
Where do you see yourself in the future? The answer to this question is your vision. Do you envision helping others achieve financial freedom? Conquer their inner critic? Dissolve their inner doubts? For example, the famous shoe brand Tom’s set out to take “the responsibility of providing for the comfort of children in impoverished regions worldwide.”
What do you hold close to your heart? Freedom, encouragement, independence, audacity… Your values are the foundation of your business communications. Ideally, they’ll be so ingrained in your brand that you won’t have to mention them. Your values dictate how you behave internally and externally. Who you hire, who you work with, and how. I personally value empowerment and support, so one of my goals is for each client to walk away from our interactions feeling like we’re partners and we’ll make her goals a reality together.
Brand voice template: Fill these sections to put together your brand voice guidelines
The final step of this exercise is to bring it all together and create your brand voice guidelines. These are the cornerstone of your messaging. Feel free to edit the wording and adjust the sections as needed, but I encourage you to keep the flow as-is.
As a your title/service (bookkeeper, consultant, etc), I/we understand that you want your ideal client’s ultimate goal. And it’s precisely this understanding that allows me/us to provide a your offer. I/We’ve been there, too. We know how frustrating it can be to deal with the pain points affecting your ideal client.
And that’s the reason why we decided to change the game by offering you one to two sentences detailing your offer (example: a one-on-one coaching plan to break through your limiting beliefs). I am/We are your authority (an experienced business coach and entrepreneur). And I/we can help you achieve it, too.
As per the Brand, the tone for this communication is 2-3 adjectives that reflect the way you want clients to feel (direct, empowering, nurturing, supportive, etc), in order to help the prospects and clients feel how you want them to feel (excited, supported, positive, etc).
The messaging alludes to the solution your offer provides (simplicity, relief, done-for-you services that free up their time, etc).
Your brand voice is the first step to showing up authentically in business
A clearly defined brand voice is crucial for your marketing and business in general. Without it, you risk losing cohesiveness and appearing inauthentic across the different touchpoints each prospect has with you.
Are you ready to tap into the power of your words and build the business you’re dreaming of?