In the Beginning
One of the first things I like to ask a potential marketing client is, “Who is your customer?”
This seems like an obvious question, but I often hear answers such as, “Anyone who wants to buy my product”, or “Everyone.” The most common answer is, “I’m not really sure.” I have even gotten this type of answer from people who have spent years working in the marketing field.
If you don’t know your target audience, then you are spending your marketing dollars in a shotgun method; just hoping to hit something. Knowing your audience allows you to narrow your aim and generate a much better return on investment (ROI).
Okay, I Know My Target Audience. Now What Do I Do?
Once you have determined who your audience is, the next thing to figure out is where to reach them. I won’t take the time to get into all the demographics in this post, but different customer demographics can be reached in different ways and through different channels. Right? Yes!
I Know How and Where to Reach My Customers. What’s Next?
The next step is determining your brand’s voice. Your brand, company, organization, etc., needs to have their own particular “voice” in the marketplace. I am not just talking about having a consistent message in all your advertising and marketing efforts. That is very important, but is only a part of your “voice” as a brand.
Your brand’s voice is not just the message you present. It is more about how you present that message.
Your brand’s voice is not just the message you present. It is more about how you present that message. Your voice is the personality of your brand. It sets the tone for how you will be perceived by your audience.
How Do I Determine the Voice for My Brand?
Just like determining your target audience, you will need to consider what is the appropriate voice for your brand. Actually, having determined the target audience will help you in choosing the appropriate voice.
If your audience is the young, outdoors type, your voice needs to reflect that. If the audience is older and more established in their lifestyle, that will also dictate the direction you seek for your voice.
Think of your brand as a human personality and describe that personality.
I generally suggest that companies think of their product or service and how it applies to their audience. Then, they can apply some words that describe what their voice to this audience should present. Think of your brand as a human personality and describe that personality.
Does your brand’s voice need to be calm, but playful? Maybe you need to have a voice that is boisterous and outgoing. Take a few minutes and think about the personality you need to project to catch the attention of your audience. It is good to come up with at least 2-3 voice descriptors for your brand.
Once you have that, let’s move on to the next section.
Fonts, Colors, and Graphics
Once you decide how your brand’s voice needs to “sound”, it is time to consider what that will look like. Yes, I said look. I know that voice seems to indicate a sound, but in most marketing materials this will be presented in the form of text, and graphics.
Just as your company logo has a look and feel, your voice should provide a consistent message through your choice of fonts, colors and graphics.
The font and font style you choose can have a big impact on the image you project. There are more fonts out there than you will ever be able to test, but you should be able to narrow the list quite a bit by referring to your personality list that you created earlier.
For instance, you are not likely to want to use a fancy script font to promote bulldozers. Bulldozers are big, loud, and powerful. You probably want a font that reflects those characteristics.
Colors and graphics are also very important to how your voice is perceived. Let’s go back to our bulldozer analogy. Heavy machinery lends itself to bright, bold colors with graphics that accentuate that. Maybe you would want to use graphics that have a bit of a grungy feel to them.
This would certainly be a different scenario if you were deciding on the voice for a ballet company. I think you get the idea.
Standing Out from the Crowd
As with most digital marketing strategies, you want your voice to somehow stand out from the crowd. If you are using the same voice as everyone else in your industry, it will be hard for potential customers to hear you above all the noise.
Find something to make your voice stand out from the crowd.
This could go back to your descriptors. Maybe part of your voice can include a bit of fun in an industry where everyone else is being stodgy and boring. Disclaimer: this might not be appropriate depending on the industry. Funeral homes should probably not opt for fun in their brand voice. Use good judgment!
While this is not everything you need to consider when developing a voice for your brand, this information should give you a good point of reference to get started.
If we can help you with determining your audience and your voice for your company or organization, contact us and let us know your struggles. We are here to help.