At Navig8Biz, we know that starting and sustaining a business is a daunting task, full of moments of uncertainty, loneliness and, at times, complete terror. We get it, we’ve been there before, many times over. Jo and I have started 40 businesses between us – some successes, some failures. That’s why, when we speak to our students, we use a voice of understanding, experience and downright honesty – the voice that we wish we’d heard all those years ago.
Defining the voice of your brand has never been more important. As you surf your way through the tsunami of competitors who now occupy the digital space, articulating your brand message in a way that’s authentic is the difference between a successful brand and a mediocre one. But it doesn’t need to be complicated. We think branding has become far too complex. Here, we aim to simplify it as we reveal how to define the voice of your brand.
As you go on the journey of building your brand, you’ll come to a place where you realise that the voice needs to be clearly defined. When writing your website, social media captions, ad copy and blogs, you’ll need to understand the voice and tone that you apply to these platforms. In order to do this, start listening to yourself and the people around you. A voice is not a made-up thing – it should be authentic to you. Spend time listening to yourself, your colleagues and your team members; how do you communicate with one another? This will help to identify your brand voice.
SWIM AGAINST THE TIDE
You’ll need to swim against the tide in order to stand out. Yes, you should be looking at your competitors daily, but you don’t want to become them. Use your voice to separate yourself from the wolf pack. Your brand needs to have a direction of its own; you’re going to have to be brave and put yourself out there. There is no place for wallflowers in business. Instead, be authentic and be true to yourself.
CREATE A COPY BIBLE FOR YOUR BRAND
Your copy bible is a digital working document that includes all your key messages, words and phrases. To gain inspiration, read books, flip through real magazines and listen to podcasts. These are the places where you’ll digest key phrases and information that can be translated to your brand and audience. Above all, a copy bible should be authentic.
BUT I SUCK AT WRITING
If you don’t know where to begin, start ‘riffing’ – this is what I call writing on the fly without any thinking involved. You can always go back and edit later, but the gold happens without inhibition. As the adage goes, ‘Write without fear, edit without mercy’. Once your copy bible is full (but never complete as it will always be a work in progress), you can (and should) consistently refer to it when writing any copy for your brand. It’s your guide to helping you flesh out your website, social captions, ads, blogs, books, print collateral and PR statements. Your key messages are YOU on paper.
DEFINE YOUR BRAND VALUES
If you’re reading this, hopefully you’ve already defined your brand values. After defining your brand values, it’s so important to print a hard copy and stick them on your wall. By doing this, you can refer to your values daily and never deviate from them. If you’re uncertain of your values, begin with the reason WHY you started this business. In this process, you can also start to define what you are NOT.
CREATE A KILLER MOOD BOARD
Create a Mood Board as a constant reminder of your WHY. When you understand your WHY, your voice becomes clearer. You may call this a Dream, Inspiration or Visual Board. By having it on the wall of your office, your core values will be infused into every marketing message. We spoke to Digital Marketing Expert and Consultant, Marisa Robinson, to understand why mood boards matter. “Vision boards allow me to get clear on my goals and visually track them to keep me aligned and on purpose. As they say, ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ so my vision board instills focus and my eye remains on the prize,” says Marisa. Check out her vision board highlights here to learn how to make your own.
LIST YOUR ATTRIBUTES
Once you’ve spent time listening to one another and defining your brand values, you can begin to write down the words that define your brand. Is your brand poetic or pragmatic? Soft or defiant? Straight or cheeky? Serious or witty? Gentle or brutal? After you’ve noted down your specific attributes, print a copy and place it on your wall. Additionally, make your attributes and voice known to every team member to create consistency.
DON’T OVERCOMPLICATE IT
There’s a lot of white noise out there about marketing. Underneath all this, marketing is just selling to the masses. And selling is just about understanding people. Once you’ve defined your audience and understand your customers’ needs, establishing a voice for your brand should be far easier than you think.
OUR VOICE AT NAVIG8BIZ
At Navig8Biz, it’s important to us that you feel like someone is holding your hand whilst also whipping your arse, during this wild ride known as business ownership. This is why we speak with the voice of an older sibling; honest yet caring.
“We get it; we know what you’re going through. But get off your arse and go change the world. You were born to do this.”
HONEST YET CARING
FUN YET EDUCATIONAL
WARM YET BRUTAL
EMPOWERING YET RELATABLE
INTELLIGENT YET AUTHENTIC
WITTY YET EXPERIENCED
What’s your brand voice?