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How to build a brilliant brand voice

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How to build a brilliant brand voice

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If your voice guidelines are just six adjectives in the brand book you're not alone, but you’re missing a big opportunity.

Your voice has a huge role to play in conveying what you stand for and communicating with your audience. It isn’t just about brand, marketing, or the emotional side of things. It’s also about the rational: if you’re trying to create a great product or service, voice has an impact on your user experience too.

It’s time to give your voice more consideration and your writers better guidance. In this webinar you’ll learn about what makes a good voice, and how to create guidelines your colleagues will actually use. You’ll also hear a case study from Samaritans on how they created and rolled out a refreshed brand voice.

If your voice guidelines are just six adjectives in the brand book you're not alone, but you’re missing a big opportunity.

Your voice has a huge role to play in conveying what you stand for and communicating with your audience. It isn’t just about brand, marketing, or the emotional side of things. It’s also about the rational: if you’re trying to create a great product or service, voice has an impact on your user experience too.

It’s time to give your voice more consideration and your writers better guidance. In this webinar you’ll learn about what makes a good voice, and how to create guidelines your colleagues will actually use. You’ll also hear a case study from Samaritans on how they created and rolled out a refreshed brand voice.

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How to build a brilliant brand voice

  1. 1. GatherContent August 2019 How to build a brilliant brand voice La Pope
  2. 2. I’m Lauren Pope I’m a freelance content strategist. You can find me at @la_pope or lapope.com Hello!
  3. 3. Three adjectives in the brand book? La Pope
  4. 4. Human Dynamic Innovative La Pope
  5. 5. Human Dynamic Innovative La Pope
  6. 6. That’s a missed opportunity. La Pope
  7. 7. “ Which brands do you think have a brilliant voice? ? La Pope
  8. 8. What makes them brilliant? La Pope
  9. 9. What makes a brilliant brand voice? A brilliant brand voice needs to be: 1. Differentiated: distinct from anyone else, especially competitors/comparators 2. Authentic: feels natural and sounds like your brand 3. Appropriate: reflects your audience and how they want to be spoken to 4. Readable: anyone can read and understand it La Pope
  10. 10. Readability and creativity aren’t mutually exclusive. Image credit: DDB
  11. 11. How do you get there? La Pope
  12. 12. A case study
  13. 13. The facets of a brilliant brand voice 1. Personality: characteristics and qualities embodied 2. Tone: feelings or moods conveyed 3. Rhythm: pace and pattern 4. Vocabulary: words used La Pope
  14. 14. 1. Personality Personality draws on the values, mission or purpose, and translates them into matching characteristics. It’s the overall impression that people should take away when they read or hear your voice. La Pope
  15. 15. BrewDog: Passionate Independent Punk GOV.UK Open Neutral Fair 1. Personality GOV.uk: open, fair La Pope
  16. 16. How to find your personality
  17. 17. How we did it To draw out the Samaritans personality we ran a workshop with stakeholders from across the charity, including: ● a mass card sorting exercise ● discussion of the personality of the brand
  18. 18. ● A character description: ‘Think of that person you liked right away...’ ● A perfect acronym: ○ Confident ○ Approachable ○ Real ○ Empowering ● Explanation and examples to go with the adjectives What we came up with
  19. 19. What we came up with Confident From the way we speak, you can tell we know who we are and that we’re comfortable with it. That gives our voice a quiet confidence and strength. We have a lot of expertise, and we speak about those topics in a practical way that helps others. Example: Instagram’s changes are good progress, but we need to do more We welcome Instagram’s commitment to remove graphic self-harm content – it’s a great step forward. But it’s not enough. We need to do much more if we want to keep vulnerable people safe online.
  20. 20. 2. Tone There’s a spectrum of strength, flavour, and texture but it’s all still coffee. Tone is how you achieve a similar spectrum, while still preserving your overall brand voice. La Pope
  21. 21. 2. Tone La Pope
  22. 22. How to find your tones
  23. 23. In the same workshop we got our stakeholders to: ● work on empathy maps for different personas - from callers to politicians ● imagine a scenario involving that persona and write an email to them ● note their tone and how they achieved it How we did it
  24. 24. ● Four main tones that could cover all audiences: ○ Collaborating ○ Motivating ○ Supporting ○ Thanking ● Tips on what tone to use and when ● Examples showing how to achieve that tone What we came up with
  25. 25. What we came up with Collaborating Who is this tone for? Policy makers, politicians, researchers, press, major donors and corporate/strategic partners. When do we use it? When we need to make a connection and work together toward a common good. How does our voice shift? ● More expert - because we’re dealing with people who value our experience, and we need to show how valuable and innovative our work is. ● More bold - because we’re confident and at ease with our expertise we can be brave in what we say. ● More practical - we’ll make recommendations and suggestions, but it’s still rooted in empathy for both our callers and the people we’re connecting with.
  26. 26. What we came up with How you can work with us Everyone has moments in their life when they struggle to cope. We get a call for help every six seconds – and we want to be there for every single one, 24 hours a day. But we can’t do it alone. It’s only thanks to our local, regional and national partnerships that our services can reach the right people, in the right places, at the right time. Take our award-winning partnership with Network Rail, which has seen thousands of frontline train staff receive life-changing training and support. From transport operators to building societies, universities to high street stores, we’ve built mutually beneficial partnership programmes that are making a huge difference to people when they need us most. Get in touch to see what we can do together. Provide evidence Show expertise Don’t be modest Remember what matters
  27. 27. 3. Rhythm The pace and pattern of your voice. Your rhythm enhances your personality and your tone La Pope
  28. 28. Oatly: Offbeat Jarring Penhaligons: Lilting Melodic 3. Rhythm La Pope
  29. 29. Sentence pattern Oatly //////// / //// //// /////// // ///////////////////// Penhaligons ///////////// //// //////////////// ///// //////// ///// ///////// La Pope
  30. 30. 4. Vocabulary The words you use (or don’t use). La Pope
  31. 31. Hendricks: Eccentric Unusual Monzo: Simple Colloquial 4. Vocabulary La Pope
  32. 32. How do you make it stick? La Pope
  33. 33. How do you make it stick? ● Don’t let guidelines die in a PDF on a shared drive ● Find a way to make them spread that works for your organisation… ○ a printed book ○ a wiki ○ a Slackbot ○ stickers ○ Posters ● ...above all training and champions.
  34. 34. ● Creating the guidelines in a collaborative workshop gave everyone a sense of ownership and helped create champions ● We ran training sessions with lots of writing practice and feedback ● Voice training will be part of the induction for new staff How we did it
  35. 35. In conclusion ◉ If you’ve just got a list of three adjectives in the brand book, you’re missing a big opportunity. ◉ A great band voice should be authentic, differentiated and appropriate your audience but, above all, it should be readable. ◉ To create your voice, make sure you think about the personality, tone, rhythm and vocabulary. ◉ Personality is a constant but tone shifts for different audiences and situations ◉ Run training sessions and create champions La Pope
  36. 36. Any questions ? You can find me at ◉ lauren@lapope.com ◉ lapope.com ◉ medium.com/@la_pope Thanks!

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