Brand Voice: Giving Your Business a Personality

If you want to build a website that resonates with your shoppers on a personal level, you have to establish a brand voice. When we think about well-known brands, big names like Coca-Cola and Nike come to mind. Sometimes these companies communicate so clearly and consistently, we forget that they’re businesses and not individual people. When you see a red can of Coca-Cola, you’re overcome with feelings of nostalgia, and crave a cold can of soda on a hot summer day. When you walk into a store and see a Nike swoosh emblazoned on a pair of shoes, you know you’re getting high-quality footwear built for speed. The feelings that you equate with a brand is the direct result of its brand voice — its personality.

When you’re developing a brand, you’ll want to write content that connects with your followers and makes them feel like they’re talking to a friend. Sure, your shoppers need to know the specifications of your products and services, but they also need to learn more about who you are as a business owner and what you believe in. By developing a strong voice for your brand, your fans will receive the information they need in a way that aligns with their values, beliefs, and preferences.

Companies like TOMS and Apple have mastered the art of crafting brand voices. We’ll use these two companies as examples so that you can draw insights to help foster your own brand voice. Each brand has a finesse with words that conveys not only information about their products and services, but also common themes throughout their branding campaigns. Both companies connect with the values of their fans on personal levels.

TOMS: impact

TOMS is a popular apparel company that captures the heart and soul of its fan base. TOMS products are tied into a larger mission driven by the values of its company leaders: sustainability, giving back, and making a global difference. TOMS’ One for One campaign gives one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. One for One proves that buying a pair of shoes can make a difference in the lives of others. Similarly, TOMS’ eyewear and diaper-bag lines support restored sight and safe birth practices for babies and mothers in the same one-purchase-one-person-helped way.

By writing about its products in terms of values — sharing the impact of a purchase instead of details about the product itself — TOMS maintains a distinct, purposeful style that resonates with its shoppers who also value global impact and sustainability. Yes, TOMS is a business, but that can be easy to forget. Shoppers connect with the purposeful communication of the TOMS company values. You can buy a pair of shoes anywhere, but when it’s purchased through a company invested in social responsibility, sustainability, and impactful change, more customers are likely to experience brand loyalty if its values align with their own.

There is an added simplicity that comes with building a brand voice that is connected to a company’s values. With TOMS, the focus is not on products. TOMS’ content is geared towards its larger message and the impact that each purchase has on someone else. Its site features pop-up text that highlights the One for One program, which is emphasized across its social platforms, and in every piece of content it shares.

Apple: accessibility

Apple has a distinct brand voice that aligns with its business and values. The Apple website touts single lines of text with an introduction to each product, featuring clean, modern pages and graphics to match. Apple is witty, fun, intellectual, and upbeat — everything that you would expect to see in a text message sent by a friend. Like TOMS, Apple’s brand voice is directly connected to the values of its leadership and employees — accessibility, education, inclusion, and diversity — and the company invests in many programs and initiatives that support these values, like its continued support of World AIDS Day.

Apple complements its beliefs surrounding accessibility and inclusion with its streamlined style. There’s no better way to scare someone off than by bogging them down with incomprehensible technology jargon. Apple’s style (simple, fun, and connected) ties into the company’s belief that technology should be accessible to everyone and easily understood by all.

Finding your voice

As a small business owner, you can glean many insights from the voices of bigger brands. Here are some tips to help your brand develop a voice of its own:

Define your values

If you haven’t already, clarify your business’s values. A solid brainstorming session can help you determine what matters the most to you. You may already have some idea, or perhaps you’ve already completed an exercise like this. Turning your values into tangible words and phrases — and understanding exactly what they mean to you and your business — can help you develop a style that connects with your shoppers, and builds a foundation for a business that gives back.

Decide how to contribute

You may not be giving away a product or service for every sale you make (or investing in programs that support global initiatives), but there are smaller ways that you can contribute to the greater good. You can donate a portion of your proceeds to a cause close to your heart, dedicate some working hours to community outreach projects, or offer your business expertise to those who need guidance. When you’ve decided how to give back or get involved in meaningful work that resonates with the values of your shoppers, you can begin sharing your story on your website.

Share your story

You have an opportunity to let your shoppers know what separates your brand from the rest. When you pair quality content with your brand values, you provide a powerful, purposeful message that can resonate on many levels. Do you own a vegan restaurant? Consider supporting animal rescue initiatives. Perhaps you are a female business owner who provides loans through Kiva so that less-fortunate women across the globe can create socially responsible businesses of their own. Make that known. Connect it to your bottom line. Share how your brand is making a difference. You’ll notice that its voice will grow more dominant as your values and beliefs begin to project through your content and messaging.

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