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7 Steps to Developing a Resonating Brand Voice

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Memorable companies often make language their own. Learn the tactics to create a brand voice your audience will love and remember. Erica McGillivray from Moz will walk you through what creating branded language means, how to do it, how to scale and advocate for it, and how to keep it fresh. We'll explore:

- Creative language team exercises for defining brand lingo and the psychology behind it.
- What it actually looks like to teach and get input on language from your team.
- Crafting a brand voice guide from statements of purpose and addressing different audiences to dictionaries.
- How to humanize your brand through word choices.
- Empowering your staff or clients to be internal and external advocates of a shared language.
- Using your voice to own your audience and culture across your marketing channels.
- Real life examples from brands such as Stitch Fix, Basecamp, SuperHeroStuff, theSkimm, and more that use language to bring their community in for shared dialog.

Presented at Content Marketing Conference, Las Vegas, May 2016

Published in: Marketing
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7 Steps to Developing a Resonating Brand Voice

  1. 1. #CMC16 Content Marketing Conference 2016 7 Steps to Developing a Resonating Brand Voice @emcgillivray Erica McGillivray Senior Community Manager Moz
  2. 2. #CMC16@emcgillivray Problem: Someone must write the words!
  3. 3. #CMC16@emcgillivray
  4. 4. #CMC16@emcgillivray
  5. 5. “ “ #CMC16 Voice is a mission statement. Tone is the application of that mission. - Kevan Lee at Buffer @emcgillivray
  6. 6. #CMC16 Find What Your Brand Already Has 1 @emcgillivray
  7. 7. #CMC16 Historical documents @emcgillivray
  8. 8. #CMC16 Case study: Netflix’s Jessica Jones @emcgillivray All the marketing channels
  9. 9. #CMC16 Know your channels @emcgillivray TV ad
  10. 10. #CMC16 Know your channels @emcgillivray social images
  11. 11. #CMC16 Know your channels @emcgillivray social responses
  12. 12. #CMC16 Know your channels @emcgillivray events and press
  13. 13. #CMC16 Know your channels @emcgillivray landing page
  14. 14. #CMC16 Visual design assets @emcgillivray
  15. 15. #CMC16 Visual design assets @emcgillivray
  16. 16. #CMC16 Office space @emcgillivray
  17. 17. #CMC16 Office space @emcgillivray
  18. 18. #CMC16 Emails outside your company @emcgillivray
  19. 19. #CMC16 PR (press and speaking) Mike Ramsey at Nifty Marketing Someone at Google @emcgillivray
  20. 20. #CMC16 PR (press and speaking) @emcgillivray “ It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise. -  Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing
  21. 21. #CMC16 Intranet @emcgillivray
  22. 22. #CMC16 Leaders @emcgillivray “Howdy, Moz Fans!”
  23. 23. #CMC16 Leaders @emcgillivray #Nerdland
  24. 24. #CMC16 Leaders @emcgillivray
  25. 25. #CMC16 Brand Values @emcgillivray •  Have fun •  Do exceptional work •  Experiment •  Pay attention to the details •  Treat people right •  Tell the truth •  Give back •  Keep learning
  26. 26. #CMC16 Brand Values @emcgillivray
  27. 27. #CMC16 Brand Vision @emcgillivray •  spirit of innovation and excellence •  desire to create positive change •  commitment to transparency
  28. 28. #CMC16 Personas @emcgillivray
  29. 29. #CMC16 Building a Team of Feedbackers 2 @emcgillivray
  30. 30. #CMC16 Makers @emcgillivray Customer success Content UX tech writer Customer support Community PR UX content
  31. 31. #CMC16 Other stakeholders @emcgillivray
  32. 32. #CMC16 But we don’t have “writers!” @emcgillivray
  33. 33. #CMC16 Who is already doing this work? @emcgillivray
  34. 34. #CMC16 Team Exercises and Psychology 3 @emcgillivray
  35. 35. #CMC16 Personas @emcgillivray
  36. 36. #CMC16 Demographic: location psychology @emcgillivray
  37. 37. #CMC16 Local culture go! @emcgillivray
  38. 38. #CMC16 National: tone it down @emcgillivray
  39. 39. #CMC16 National: tone it down @emcgillivray "Don’t use UNC-Chapel Hill lingo and insider references…. For instance, spell out all acronyms and explain proprietary items such as the OneCard or C-TOPS."
  40. 40. #CMC16 International: tailor it to countries IKEA India IKEA US @emcgillivray
  41. 41. #CMC16 International: tailor it to countries Siemens US Siemens South Africa @emcgillivray
  42. 42. #CMC16 Interest affinity: psychographics @emcgillivray
  43. 43. #CMC16 Affinity: Spotify and Star Wars @emcgillivray
  44. 44. #CMC16 Affinity: Spotify and Star Wars @emcgillivray
  45. 45. #CMC16 How is your brand helping? @emcgillivray
  46. 46. #CMC16@emcgillivray
  47. 47. #CMC16 How-to: find adjectives @emcgillivray
  48. 48. #CMC16 How-to: find adjectives @emcgillivray
  49. 49. #CMC16 How-to: find adjectives @emcgillivray
  50. 50. #CMC16 Activity: card sorting @emcgillivray
  51. 51. #CMC16 3 current adjectives @emcgillivray step #1
  52. 52. #CMC16 2 aspirational adjectives @emcgillivray step #2
  53. 53. #CMC16 3 negative adjectives @emcgillivray step #3
  54. 54. #CMC16 Defining brand adjectives @emcgillivray Fun We're engaging, not snarky.
  55. 55. #CMC16 Creation How-To: Voice & Tone 4 @emcgillivray
  56. 56. #CMC16@emcgillivray bit.ly/brand-voice
  57. 57. #CMC16@emcgillivray A) Statement of purpose
  58. 58. #CMC16@emcgillivray B) Explain brand adjectives
  59. 59. #CMC16 Brand lexicon @emcgillivray Trademarks are not verbs. Correct: The image was enhanced using Adobe® Photoshop® software. Incorrect: The image was photoshopped.
  60. 60. #CMC16 Grammar: pick a guide @emcgillivray
  61. 61. #CMC16@emcgillivray C) List how the brand's communicated
  62. 62. #CMC16 Context is everything! @emcgillivray Broken reports 404 page: Oops! Roger MozBot got lost exploring and our system is temporarily down. We hope to find him soon, so check back in a couple of hours. Meanwhile, why don't you watch a puppy battle himself?
  63. 63. #CMC16 Context is everything! @emcgillivray
  64. 64. #CMC16@emcgillivray D) Address specific audience needs
  65. 65. #CMC16 Non-marketer: this is creepy @emcgillivray
  66. 66. #CMC16 CRO tool = intense personalization @emcgillivray
  67. 67. #CMC16@emcgillivray E) How-to: humanize your brand
  68. 68. #CMC16 My, Your, We @emcgillivray
  69. 69. #CMC16 My, Your, We @emcgillivray
  70. 70. #CMC16 My, Your, We @emcgillivray
  71. 71. #CMC16 Humanizing @emcgillivray
  72. 72. #CMC16 Humanizing @emcgillivray
  73. 73. #CMC16 Humanizing @emcgillivray
  74. 74. #CMC16@emcgillivray F) Good and bad examples
  75. 75. #CMC16 Overweighthaters.com @emcgillivray
  76. 76. #CMC16 Cheerios @emcgillivray
  77. 77. #CMC16@emcgillivray G) "When in doubt" disclaimer
  78. 78. #CMC16 Great brand guides @emcgillivray
  79. 79. #CMC16 Empowering Staff and Clients 5 @emcgillivray
  80. 80. #CMC16 Teach and empower @emcgillivray
  81. 81. #CMC16 Time and consistency @emcgillivray
  82. 82. #CMC16 Shortcut @emcgillivray
  83. 83. #CMC16 Words provide meaning and ritual @emcgillivray
  84. 84. #CMC16 Words provide meaning and ritual @emcgillivray
  85. 85. #CMC16 Words provide meaning and ritual @emcgillivray
  86. 86. #CMC16 Words provide meaning and ritual @emcgillivray
  87. 87. #CMC16 Internal: too big to fail @emcgillivray
  88. 88. #CMC16 Show Results (Channel Audit) 6 @emcgillivray
  89. 89. “ “ #CMC16 Plans are nothing; planning is everything. - Dwight D. Eisenhower @emcgillivray
  90. 90. #CMC16 Your audit coverage @emcgillivray Audience Messaging Topics (audience + messaging) Content Purpose Voice and tone Sources (who will create this) Overall category
  91. 91. #CMC16 Audit worksheet @emcgillivray bit.ly/cmc-audit
  92. 92. #CMC16 Case Study: Superhero Stuff @emcgillivray Audience: Star Wars fans
  93. 93. #CMC16 Case Study: Superhero Stuff @emcgillivray Audience: Star Wars fans Messaging: May the 4th discount
  94. 94. #CMC16 Case Study: Superhero Stuff @emcgillivray Audience: Star Wars fans Messaging: May the 4th discount Topics: Star Wars
  95. 95. #CMC16 Case Study: Superhero Stuff @emcgillivray Audience: Star Wars fans Messaging: May the 4th discount Topics: Star Wars Purpose: holiday sales
  96. 96. #CMC16 Case Study: Superhero Stuff @emcgillivray Audience: Star Wars fans Messaging: May the 4th discount Topics: Star Wars Purpose: holiday sales Voice and tone: fun, love of fandom, ritual
  97. 97. #CMC16 Case Study: Superhero Stuff @emcgillivray Audience: Star Wars fans Messaging: May the 4th discount Topics: Star Wars Purpose: holiday sales Voice and tone: fun, love of fandom, ritual Sources: email marketer
  98. 98. #CMC16 Case Study: Superhero Stuff @emcgillivray Audience: Star Wars fans Messaging: May the 4th discount Topics: Star Wars Purpose: holiday sales Voice and tone: fun, love of fandom, ritual Sources: email marketer Category: email
  99. 99. #CMC16 Case Study: Buffer @emcgillivray Audience: potentials
  100. 100. #CMC16 Case Study: Buffer @emcgillivray Audience: potentials Messaging: who’s Buffer and why work there
  101. 101. #CMC16 Case Study: Buffer @emcgillivray Audience: potentials Messaging: who’s Buffer and why work there Topics: company
  102. 102. #CMC16 Case Study: Buffer @emcgillivray Audience: potentials Messaging: who’s Buffer and why work there Topics: company Purpose: recruiting
  103. 103. #CMC16 Case Study: Buffer @emcgillivray Audience: potentials Messaging: who’s Buffer and why work there Topics: company Purpose: recruiting Voice and tone: welcoming, unique
  104. 104. #CMC16 Case Study: Buffer @emcgillivray Audience: potentials Messaging: who’s Buffer and why work there Topics: company Purpose: recruiting Voice and tone: welcoming, unique Sources: HR
  105. 105. #CMC16 Case Study: Buffer @emcgillivray Audience: potentials Messaging: who’s Buffer and why work there Topics: company Purpose: recruiting Voice and tone: welcoming, unique Sources: HR Category: landing page
  106. 106. #CMC16 Case Study: Stitch Fix @emcgillivray Audience: fashionistas
  107. 107. #CMC16 Case Study: Stitch Fix @emcgillivray Audience: fashionistas Messaging: spring trends
  108. 108. #CMC16 Case Study: Stitch Fix @emcgillivray Audience: fashionistas Messaging: spring trends Topics: on trend color recommendation
  109. 109. #CMC16 Case Study: Stitch Fix @emcgillivray Audience: fashionistas Messaging: spring trends Topics: on trend color recommendation Purpose: branding
  110. 110. #CMC16 Case Study: Stitch Fix @emcgillivray Audience: fashionistas Messaging: spring trends Topics: on trend color recommendation Purpose: branding Voice and tone: authoritative, seasonal
  111. 111. #CMC16 Case Study: Stitch Fix @emcgillivray Audience: fashionistas Messaging: spring trends Topics: on trend color recommendation Purpose: branding Voice and tone: authoritative, seasonal Sources: sm marketer
  112. 112. #CMC16 Case Study: Stitch Fix @emcgillivray Audience: fashionistas Messaging: spring trends Topics: on trend color recommendation Purpose: branding Voice and tone: authoritative, seasonal Sources: sm marketer Category: social media
  113. 113. #CMC16 Going beyond Guidelines (Your Own Voice) 7 @emcgillivray
  114. 114. #CMC16 Allow employees to lead @emcgillivray
  115. 115. #CMC16 Disruption @emcgillivray
  116. 116. #CMC16@emcgillivray How can you push your brand’s voice and tone?
  117. 117. #CMC16 THANK YOU! Erica McGillivray erica@moz.com @emcgillivray @emcgillivray

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