Jul 20 How to Evoke & Maintain Multiple, Distinct Brand Voices
Establishing a singular and unique brand voice can be a difficult undertaking. Harnessing that brand voice and implementing it in successful community engagement can be even harder. Hardest of all, however, is evoking and maintaining multiple, distinct brand voices when working for several diverse clients.
While this is admittedly difficult work, it’s far from impossible, and today we’re going to discuss some helpful ways to both evoke, or call to mind, one in a quiver of brand voices, as well as ways to help maintain each distinct brand voice as you switch from one to the next.
- Choose a figurehead to represent each brand’s tone of voice
Knowing your audience is key to understanding how to select and implement a successful brand voice. You don’t want to choose a humorous, informal voice if your audience is primarily sophisticated c-level folks, and, contrarily, you wouldn’t want to be overly formal or stiff in voice if your audience is mainly college-aged extreme athletes. Knowing your audience is key, and, while a we are/we are not list can be a helpful resource in developing brand voice, we advise that you strive for more than just a list of adjectives to describe your brand’s voice.
These descriptors are helpful, but can be vague or abstract when you’re in the midst of replying to a consumer. So, elect a spokesperson, or a figurehead, to be the surrogate voice of your brand. In thinking of how you should be representing your brand, all you need to do is think of how this individual would deliver the messaging you need delivered. So, are you more of a John Cleese or a Gilbert Gottfried?
- Consider how you use language to achieve a specific voice
It’s not simply enough to have this brand voice figurehead in mind and then begin clacking away at the keys like a mad person. You should still be thinking carefully about why this person’s voice is unique, and, furthermore, why it fits your brand identity so well. Considering how the person you’ve selected might adhere to or stray from conventional grammatical or syntactic rules, what words they may or may not use to articulate a point, and whether their general persona demands formal punctuation or, on the other hand, lends itself to slapstick emoji use is necessary when honing a given voice and mastering its nuances.
Are commas necessary, or do we just end the sentence there? Are we using multisyllabic words, or sticking to simpler synonyms? And do we end our reply with the conventional period or do we cap it off with a tongue-out smiley? These answers will vary depending on your audience, and, in turn, the voice you’ve chosen to address them.
So, you know exactly who your audience is for each brand that you work on, and you’ve even found the perfect representative to help keep you, as community manager, on the right voice when conversing with each community. Nice job! Sadly, though, this is just the start. You’ve laid the foundation, but now the hard work begins.
How do we, as community managers working on several diverse clients, keep our heads on straight with so many different brand voices floating around upstairs? You might think of it as work-induced schizophrenia, and you wouldn’t be too far off, but we like to think of it as the madness that keeps us moving ever forward, or the great challenge that pushes us to grow and achieve as marketers. Now that you’ve evoked a brand voice for each of your disparate clients, now you must maintain them through every interaction you make.
- Listen to your chosen figurehead (for each brand) speak at length
The first step to maintaining your various brand voices over the course of your work is actually quite simple, but can prove immensely helpful, nonetheless. Whenever you have a spare moment, or you’ve managed to create one for yourself, you should be listening to the actual person who you chose as your brand voice ambassador.
If you’ve chosen, say, Morgan Freeman as the voice of your lifestyle brand, then take every opportunity you can spare to listen to the actual man speak. Be it candid interviews or scripted monologues, listen to as much of his speech as you can, to better understand its subtleties and unique characteristics, so that you can better deploy it as your brand’s voice when the time comes.
- Practice conveying a single message in each distinct brand voice
Another exceptional way to become proficient in switching seamlessly from one distinct brand voice to the next is something of an exercise. Take a moment every day to practice expressing a single messaging point in each of the brand voices with which you work. Consider carefully the grammar, syntax, vocabulary and punctuation (or lack thereof) when working through this exercise, and be sure to channel the figurehead that you’ve selected for each brand.
Foghorn Leghorn might say: “C’mon down and get yo’self some right tasty eats, ya heard?”
Stewie Griffin might say: “I would strongly advise you make haste as you come to feast upon some of this delectable nourishment.”
Peter Griffin might say: “You’d be a dummy not to hurry down for some of this tasty grub!”
There you have it! We see how messaging can be conveyed differently, to different audiences, through different brand voices. And, while there’s no clear science to guide us through the process of evoking and maintaining multiple, distinct brand voices, we do have practices like those mentioned above to help us find our way through this often perplexing realm. So, get out there and find your voice(s), and please feel free to contact us with any further questions on this or any other social topic!