— by Liz Papagni
Your brand voice is important. This is how your audience hears what you say and how you say it. Regardless of what you think you sound like, your buyer is the ultimate judge. Remember our American Idol contestant who was so sure he’d win it all, only to have the judges make snarky remarks and send him packing? That’s the last thing you want when your audience is listening.
Last time, we talked about your voice’s tone and clarity. Now, we’ll move forward to discuss focus and authenticity.
Upon first glance, clarity and focus may seem similar, but they’re very different. Clarity describes the message. Focus is directed to the audience. If you’re not fully aware of your buyer personas as you craft your brand voice, then you’ll sound like screeches and warbles to the people who hear you. Okay, so it may not be that bad, but your potential buyers won’t be interested in listening through the whole song.
Online retailer ModCloth has some of the most focused messaging I’ve seen. The audience is clear upon first visit to the website, with language and tone directly focused on young women with trendy, quirky style. Through images, engaging copy, and unique offers, the company appeals to their intended audience. Their focus on unique fashion tells women of all shapes, sizes, and styles that anything goes, and everyone is beautiful. They never muddle that message with abrasive or critical opinion pieces, or fashions for men or boys. That’s some pretty intense focus.
If you’ve ever heard an impressionist attempting to sound like Christina Aguilera, then you have some idea how painful an inauthentic brand voice can be. Sure, a talented few might manage to sound spot-on, but at the end of the day, they’re still no Christina.
Your audience will know if your voice isn’t authentic. They’ll hear the wobbles and flubs as you struggle to sound like something you’re not. Your best bet is to use your real brand voice, the one you find through deep searches of your brand identity, your target customers, your unique value, and your company’s mission. When your audience hears your true voice, they will respond.
Liz Papagni is the CEO of Marketing Initiative Worx (MIW), a strategic marketing and branding firm that helps companies drive their business by taking their marketing to the next level. We help businesses further define their brand value, difference, and target groups, and create and execute their distinct marketing road map for success.