What do blog posts, packaging design, and customer support have in common? They’re
all important channels for delivering your brand voice.
The Brandfolder team recently embarked on a journey to find and define our brand voice,
which included our brand personality and core values.
Finding our brand voice wasn’t easy, but it was so insightful that we decided to share all
the lessons we learned along way.
According to our experiences, here’s how you can build your brand voice in five easy
STEP ONE: BRAINSTORMING BRAND VOICE
First, we invited the entire company to submit their ideas and opinions about
Brandfolder’s core values. Next, we set up a brainstorming meeting with a few
core employees where we would discuss the submitted ideas, and develop
new ones. We made sure to invite our director of customer experience, so we
could gain insights on how our audience perceives us. We also invited our
creative director, so we could gain insights on how our digital asset
management tool is perceived by the design community.
STEP TWO: DISCOVERING BRAND PERSONALITY
A brand personality helps you think of your brand as a person — one with
a voice and values that consumers can relate to emotionally. Remember
this: brand personality is just a guide. It shouldn’t be taken too seriously or
literally. Here are the personality questions we asked our brainstorming
team to think about: 1. If Brandfolder were a character in a movie, who
would they be played by? 2. What does Brandfolder watch? 3. What does
Brandfolder read? 4. What tools, apps, and brands does Brandfolder use or
engage with? Thinking of your brand as a person helps you create a more
dynamic brand story. It also helps create an entity that employees and
consumers can relate to deeply on an emotional level.
Here’s what Brandfolder’s Brand Personality looks like.
STEP THREE: BRAND VOICE
Next, we considered the two main components of a brand voice: language and
tone. Tone is how you want your brand to appear to others, i.e., friendly and
optimistic. Language involves the words you use to describe that tone, i.e.,
concise and informative.
To help us tackle this challenge, we began with an exercise called always and never.
It goes like this: Brandfolder is always [fill in the blank] and Brandfolder is never [fill in
After we had a few long lists of what we believed Brandfolder was and wasn’t, we
had a strong foundation for determining our language and tone.
STEP FOUR: NARROWING IT ALL DOWN
Once all the brainstorming was over, we needed to narrow down our list
and make some tough decisions. First, we made a note of certain words
that appeared three or more times. Then, we combed through the list
and stopped on each word, asking ourselves questions such as: 1. Is this
the best word for the idea we want to convey? 2. Is there another word
which better describes this idea? 3. How will our employees interpret
this word? 4. Does our audience perceive us this way? It’s easy to get
hung up on choosing between two words with a similar meaning. If
you’re really stuck, consult co-workers, or just go with your gut.
STEP FIVE: CHOOSE CORE BRAND VALUES AND BUILD A CHEAT SHEET
After we established Brandfolder’s personality and voice, we had the
foundation we needed to build out our brand values. To see how other
brands approached this task, we started searching the web for inspiration -
and ended up finding it in the core value guides of Buffer and Zappos.
Taking these examples into consideration and evaluating our own research
helped us come up with an set of values we’re pretty proud of! We
arranged them into an acronym to make it easy for everyone to remember.
HOW TO BUILD A BRAND VOICE: TAKEAWAYS
No matter how you approach your brand voice, here are a few important
takeaways we learned from our experience.
Get a diverse set of opinions to define an accurate brand voice. You don’t
have to involve everyone in the brainstorming process, but you should be
sure to represent a range of roles and experiences. Think outside the box
and push the boundaries of your brand. If you create a neutral zone
where people feel comfortable saying their most innovative ideas, you’ll
come up with stronger, better results. Get inspiration from brands you
admire. Look at how other brands in your industry approach brand voice.
This will make you more creative and ensure you’re on the right track.
WANT MORE BRANDING INSPIRATION?
Check out our free eBook, "SIX AND A HALF WAYS TO TELL A BRILLIANT
BRAND STORY”: http://pages.brandfolder.com/brand-ebook