When you think of Red Bull, the first thing that comes to mind — besides giving you wings — is the extreme. From record-breaking free falls at the edge of space to mud-soaked mountain bikers, events like these define Red Bull’s brand and have become an integral part of its voice.
By giving your brand a central, distinctive voice, you begin to build audience curiosity and loyalty. Your content marketing and the opportunities you seek to spread your message will be based on the presentation of a voice you have to determine and shape. Contributions to your website, blog, and any publications you reach need to reflect you accurately.
However, creating that voice can be difficult. How do you know you’ve found your voice? What if an entire team needs to communicate your brand’s message using that voice? By using the great resources you already have and working to establish consistency across all platforms, you can find your voice.
Giving a Brand Its Voice
What works for Red Bull won’t work for every brand, but that shouldn’t stop you from giving your brand its own voice. While how you develop this voice will vary, certain strategies can help:
- Talk to customers. This can give you a better understanding of the words they use to describe your products or services. These conversations can be formal or informal. Just appoint someone to confirm what people are saying — and how they’re saying it.
- Gather insights from frontline employees. Frontline employees engage with customers the most, so they know how to communicate with them. They can also serve as resources for future content topics relevant to your customer base. Start with your customer service department, and expand from there.
- Evaluate the efforts of other companies. Not that you want to imitate others, but companies excelling in customer engagement can help build your brand voice. Draw inspiration from what’s working for your direct competitors. Then, check out the content from other companies targeting the same segment in a different industry.
- Review past content marketing initiatives. Prior initiatives can provide a wealth of insights into what’s worked (and what hasn’t worked) in the past and indicate ways you could find a fresh voice. Devote some time to this process; you don’t want to experiment with a past campaign that was met with lukewarm results.
- Develop a guide. Describe the voice of your brand in detail. Get this guide into the hands of everyone involved with your content development efforts to ensure all communication coming from your company aligns with your company’s personality.
Once your brand has a voice, you’re still faced with another challenge: keeping it consistent.
Maintaining Consistency Across Platforms
For many businesses, content development isn’t a one-person job; employees in different departments run different channels. Although the content must fit the individual channel, it must also fit the overall voice of your brand.
Users should be able to move across platforms and still feel like they’re talking to the same person. Think about these conversations as moving consumers from small talk (social media) to more in-depth discussions (guest contributions on a third-party site). If you change the voice of your brand from one content channel to the next, you erode your company’s identity in the process.
A few years ago, Coca-Cola launched Content 2020, an initiative designed to give strategic guidance to all marketing efforts associated with its brand. Regardless of which division of Coca-Cola is developing content, it all shares a unified voice.
Ultimately, interactions with customers and employees — along with research dedicated to what’s worked for your brand and other brands — is the key to creating your brand’s distinct voice. This voice will be what engages and builds trust with your audience. It allows people to develop a relationship with your brand.
And, a consistent voice is necessary to sustain that engagement and further build your following. By ensuring that consistency, you can use several of your preferred social platforms to communicate your message, establish rapport, and maintain a lifelong audience.