What does your brand stand for: Adding personality and intrigue to your brand
The companion to intentional design is a strong brand voice. This combo platter is served up on a number of mediums: your website, a brochure, even something as small as a business card. In this instance, small is not to be confused with important, because this 3.5 x 2 inch piece of 100# paper is what people will remember you by. To capture—and keep—all eyes on you, your marketing pieces should be wholly reflective of who you are and what you stand for.
You must start by finding your voice.
How does your brand talk? Is it quippy and sassy or intelligent and nurturing? An authentic brand voice is often derived from the personality of the owner. For example, Current 120’s brand voice is a weird mashup of funny and educational. It’s always a bit wordy. Those three bullets sum up Arielle and I to a tee. We’re awkward but quick-witted, we love helping our clients learn more about both marketing and their businesses, and finally, we can talk (sans jargon, plus puns). Maybe it’s more ramble than talk. But it works! And it’s helped us define our business and set ourselves apart from the competition. To define your own brand voice, you first need to know who you are (links cheesy self-help book here) and what you want to say.
Don’t be afraid to have an opinion.
Use your voice to stand up for what you believe in. Likely, you’ve built your business around this point of contention. For us, we hated working in a reactive environment, so we quit our jobs and built Current 120 around the sole idea of working with One Client at a Time. We get to be proactive all the time. It’s a dream, and it sets us apart from the competition. In your business, it might be speaking the truth about where your food comes from and why you should eat organic (my nod to Arielle). Or telling armchair internet sleuths that they have the skills to solve cold cases (a nod to myself).
It’s time we say goodbye to the cookie cutter, white bread businesses who appeal to the masses. You know who we’re talking about (not by name, of course). You’ve seen their websites. Your eyes glazed over. You looked away or hit the back button. They didn’t connect with you because they weren’t saying anything. So have a personality; whether it’s snarky or playful or informative, that’s up to you.
Your voice won’t vibe with everyone.
A business owner will ask, “But what if Sandy Sue and Joe Schmo don’t like what I’m saying?” Then you’re doing it right. Sandy and Joe aren’t your target audience, and that’s okay. You’ll find your people. They’ll read your rallying cry. And you’ll have found your champions.
One side note here: Your brand can take a political stance, but please, pretty please think it through first to understand how it will affect your company (positively or negatively). Always be mindful of your message and be sure it represents your business and not just your personal opinion.
Whatever you do, speak about it with pride and passion. When your target audience reads your content, they’ll get it. They’ll connect with you on a personal level—whether you’re a company of one or a business of 1,000. They’ll remember your name, your product, and that you gave them something to believe in.