5 Tips for First Dates (and Building a Brand Voice)

Author: Clay Miller
Posted: May 9, 2019

Topics: Branding

Your hands are sweaty. Your heart, racing. No matter how many first dates you go on, it always feels like the first one.

You close your eyes and run down your mental checklist. Are you a “hi” person? Or a “hello?” Or maybe even “what’s up?” Are you trying to be smooth? Sweet? Funny? Intellectual? Was the black outfit the right choice? Or was the red one more true to you? And is Die Hard cool enough to be your favorite movie? Man, you really love Die Hard.

 

These are questions that are smart to ask yourself on a first date. But the same can be said when developing your brand voice.

A brand voice represents the personality of your brand.

How does it talk about itself? How does it talk to others? It’s as important as ever in 2019 B2B marketing, as most markets are saturated with eager suitors.


Both in dating and branding, you need to establish who you are from the outset of the relationship. And to maintain trust, you should be consistent with what messages you’re putting out there.

Are you (or your brand) in need of a personality overhaul? Check out these 5 tips on how to nail that first date:

1. Know Who You Are…

Who are you? You’d never believe it, but most businesses struggle with those three words. They either don’t know, have a definition that’s too broad or have missed the mark.

So let’s start here: Your brand voice should reflect the values and personalities of the people working there. For example, a serious voice isn’t for a business full of exuberant personalities.

Play to your strengths. Do what you do best. Prospective clients can tell when you’re not being genuine. No matter how you position yourself, it should feel natural. You’ll know when you’ve found the right formula.

Adults talking over coffee


2. ...And Who Your Competition Is

But knowing who you are is only half the battle. You must also understand the voices of your competitors.

If your primary competitor has an intellectual voice with no room for informal language, a more whimsical approach could stand out. And if another competitor is rigid and to-the-point, then a compassionate approach makes sense.

Learn what else is out there. You may be surprised by the niche you can occupy.


3. Consider Your Target Audience

Many aspects of your brand voice will hinge on one question: What kind of businesses are you trying to appeal to?

If your business is targeting tech clients, they may be more attracted to technical language with a dash of wit. In the retail space, a direct, no-nonsense approach can be effective with a sales-focused staff. And in the small business sector, a caring and compassionate voice can be appealing to overextended business owners.

A great brand voice gives your brand human qualities. Just make sure your prospective clients like the person your brand becomes.

Coffee date

 4Channel a Celebrity

Need a shortcut? Turn to the stars. 

Once you have some words and traits down, pick a celebrity you admire who embodies those traits. This helps humanize your voice and shape the outer edges of your brand voice.

Is your brand intelligent yet sympathetic like Emma Watson? Is it clever yet poised like Neil Patrick Harris? Or is it technical yet enthusiastic like Bill Nye?

When writing in your brand voice, ask yourself “what would my celebrity sound-a-like say here?” If the answer’s obvious, then you probably picked right.

5. Take Notes

How many people will produce content and collateral for your business? A couple? A dozen? Several hundred?

No matter the size of your business, consistency is crucial. Keep your all writers on the same page by producing a voice style guide to define what elements are and are not a part of your brand.

How does your brand introduce itself? Does it use simple or technical language? Does your brand use contractions? Does it use slang? If so, what kind?

It can seem tedious, but a voice style guide is an investment in the present and future of your brand.


Two adults talking

Once you have your guide, apply your voice to all of your company’s owned media. Make sure your website, collateral, blogs, social media and more match your company’s personality. Your consistency of voice will wow your current and potential clients.

Heck, you might even get a second date.

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