When someone you know well starts talking, you don’t have to look to see who it is. You know the sound of his voice, the language he uses, and how he puts inflection on words and sentences. This kind of intimate knowledge is what you want your customers to have with you. You’d like them to recognize and welcome your message even without your logo slathered on top. This comes by developing and maintaining a solid brand voice.
So how do you go about building your brand online?
1. Find Out Who Your Target Customer Is
In order to know how to effectively speak to your audience, you need to know who they are. Is your ideal customer an educated businesswoman? Perhaps he’s a rebellious yet intelligent high school student. Maybe he’s a blue-collar worker living paycheck to paycheck. Know who he is, and learn to speak his language.
Focus groups are one way, but the availability of all types of people social media makes this task a breeze. Get online and find out what your customer is talking about, what she wants, and how she likes to express herself. Then build a voice for that customer.
2. Identify What Makes You Different from Your Competitors
Image via Flickr by Rafael Anderson
Chances are, you aren’t the only company offering what you do. But, you’re not like any of the rest. What sets you apart? How are your employees or products or services better or different from the rest? Incorporate these differences in your voice. For example, Ben and Jerry’s tremendous success isn’t just from great ice cream. It comes from their ability to make their products sound different from Barber’s or Blue Bell.
Maybe you’re the little fish in the big sea. Or, play the irreverent one, the humanitarian one, the liberal one, or the snobbish one. Whomever you choose to be, make sure this identity is attractive to your target customer.
3. Find Out How to Communicate Your Difference to Customers
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Once you know your customer and identify what sets you apart in their minds, find a way to express this unique relationship. If your demographic is well-educated, give them lots of information. If they’re curious, lavish them with fun facts.
Approach a rebellious group with irreverent talk. Impress mothers with your warmth and caring, or make them laugh through the messes and tantrums with humor. Connect with them on the level of who they are and what you are in relation to them.
4. Get Inspiration from Similar Voices
Image via Flickr by Matt Wynn
As you develop your brand voice, there’s nothing wrong with peeking at what others do successfully. However, it’s a good idea to look outside your industry for inspiration. Otherwise, you’ll end up sounding just like one of your competitors.
Not only is this a turn-off (and confusing) to potential customers, it’s also a possible route to a lawsuit. If you’re a high-end clothing retailer, take a look at what luxury car companies are doing. Food manufacturers can glean great ideas from wine makers or even shoe sellers.
Once you develop your brand voice, stay true to it. From your website, your trade show exhibit booth, to your social media presence, maintaining your voice consistently is the only way to become that well-known, fully trusted friend customers recognize in an instance.