Capturing and Developing a Brand Voice
Content is king. Especially in today’s digital marketing landscape.
From emails and blogs to easy-to-digest social media content like Tweets and video, the content a company distributes truly defines who they are. Get a brand voice and message right, it becomes easier to engage an audience. Getting that voice and message wrong could lead to losing an audience.
Over the course of my tenure with LinnellTaylor Marketing, I’ve been honored to help almost 50 organizations find their voices and deliver thought-provoking and impactful content to educate the apartment industry. For some clients, that content was curated with a traditional, data-driven personality that was all about the facts. Others were cultivated to embrace a more creative brand voice and showcase the company’s energy and forward-thinkingness (I know that isn’t technically a word but you get me – it’s my voice). And some voices were comfortable in the middle.
Regardless of what type of brand voice we created, it all started from the same place – feedback.
The success of any new PR or marketing program comes down to honest and open dialogue between an organization and the content writers. This statement rings true whether the writer is in-house or contracted.
The Benefits of Cross-Directional Discussion
“A brand voice cannot be created in a vacuum.” We know the industry but we don’t know your company, yet.
We welcome and engage in cross-directional feedback and discussions throughout our client engagements. Typically, this process starts with a deep dive meeting. This half-day, in-person, open-forum meeting offers the opportunity for LTM to really start to get an understanding of our clients. We are focused on learning about a company’s personality, how that company wants to be perceived in the industry and where that intersection is found.
Since these discussions can be emotionally driven, we often uncover differing views on what the brand voice should be, how people are explaining the company’s value proposition and inconsistencies in messaging within an organization. These differing views are vital to creating an impactful and successful overall brand voice. Until these areas can be aligned and agreed upon, the ability to effectively communicate to outside audiences – remember that whole get-the-voice-wrong thing – will be significantly hindered.
Fostering ongoing and direct discussion from all stakeholders – employees, executives, customers and even end-users – elicits the most profound understanding of a company, which is then turned into an overarching brand voice. It is one thing to say a company is innovative. It is another to discover that innovation through how your products and services are created and then leverage that to build content to showcase your innovation.
Let Tracked Changes Be Your Friend
Brand voice is more than the use an Oxford comma or the use of first or third person. Brand voice is truly about what is being said and the tone in which you are saying it.
Our clients often utilize multiple authors to serve as thought leaders for the company. We strive to get to know and capture each team member’s unique personality, understand how they conduct business, and establish their areas of expertise. These should be embraced when content writing for an individual. And while writing for several thought leaders adds to the complexity of establishing and maintaining a brand voice, it doesn’t make it impossible.
Enter tracked changes, my friend.
While tracking suggested changes can feel uncomfortable for some, especially when there is a lot of edits to track, doing so provides the content writer with a greater understanding of how to better position the thought, the concept, the brand and the individual. And thankfully if honest feedback is provided every time, these edits should be fewer and far between.
Trust me, there have been times I have received content back with more edits than original content. And while it stings a little to see, I always welcome it for two main reasons. 1. It indicates that a client takes their brand voice and how each individual is positioned as importantly as I do. And 2. It shows they are vested in helping build our working relationship.