How to Break Away from Conventional Brand Voice

by Muse Content Group

Think about your brand as a person. How would you describe her? Oh, him? James Earl Jones, you say? Great. Then why does your social media feed read like a Taylor Swift’s diary? It’s an interesting nuance, and one that doesn’t always have immediate measurable impact. When executed well, however, your brand voice will help you stand apart from a sea of amateurs, and improve brand recall over time.

Writing in a memorable, cohesive tone is a commitment. Just like your visual brand guidelines, it must shine through consistently, as if writing lines for the protagonist in a screenplay. Like, seriously. Totes McGotes.

Inconsistent tone can wreak havoc on any attempt to be authentic. Avoid this by defining your personality in your brand development process, and identifying a voice profile for qualified copywriters to execute. Here are some voice profiles that might suit your organization and the folks it’s trying to reach.

Sally Sunshine!!

We were very amused with this city pub’s critique of a local news anchor’s Twitter feed.

Who needs coffee when you've got Hollie Strano?

Who needs coffee when you’ve got Hollie Strano?

Having met this woman on her morning show set, we can assure you that her social media voice perfectly matches her shining personality. Brands, however, can afford tone it back a bit. Unless you’re a coffee brand. Then, by all means, keep it perky.

Sally Sunshine’s style characteristics:

  • Salutations
  • Emoticons
  • Good news!
  • Exclamation points
  • Trendy phrases (“So, this just happened…” etc.)

Sadly, (or happily!!) many, many brands fall into this category due to the plethora of 20-something female social media gurus running the show. This is perfect (or “perf,” as the case may be) if your target buyer is also a 20-something.

The Bullhorn.

Listen up, people. It’s time to learn something. It’s a good thing you follow the Bullhorn, because he’s going to tell you all about it. These brands really want to educate you because, after all, you aspire to be them (or, at least, buy their products). Just sit back and be thankful you gained some valuable insight today. Even if you forget all about it tomorrow.

Superior declarativeness.

Superior declarativeness.

The Bullhorn’s style characteristics:

  • Short, declarative statements
  • Strong action verbs
  • Borderline hubris
  • List-like tendencies

Our favorite Bullhorns:

The Snarky Little Brother.

Snark and wit are some of our favorite characteristics in a brand because they’re so rarely used by brands today. Passive aggressive posts are not welcome here. This guy is direct in his intentions, poking fun at most things, especially topics that are generally deemed serious. He keeps it light, if not a little biting, with hints of sarcasm fueling his fire.

Do you sense the snark?

Do you sense the snark?

The Snarky Little Brother’s style characteristics:

  • Short, snappy wit
  • Sarcastic overtones
  • Clever, curious questions
  • Sneaky delivery

Our favorite Snarkists:

The Sophisticate.

The sophisticate wears glasses and Prada. The sophisticate uses a lot of words to express herself because she knows you like words, and your attention span is above that of a half wit. Upscale brands often take on these characteristics with an educated, affluent audience who appreciate thoughtful charm.

Alliteration at its finest.

Alliteration at its finest.

The Sophisticate’s style characteristics:

  • A LOT of alliteration
  • Lyrical, rhythmic statements
  • Complex sentence structure
  • Quality vocabulary
  • Verbosity

Our favorite Sophisticates:

Does your voice sound like all the others? Let us help you build a brand of character. Contact Muse Content Group for a custom voice guidebook.

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