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Developing a Brand Voice

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Developing a Brand Voice
I think of the brand as an insertion of value, to give it substance and meaning. Martha Stewart

Your core brand values are the compass that points to the true North (vision) of your business success. Which means, they’re important.

The relationship between a brand and its values is where it all begins.  We are going to define brand values and what to do with them once you have them.

If you've found this eBook there is a good chance you are a savvy business owner and are aware of the importance of creating a brand around your business.

You may be privy to the process of branding and how much brainstorming and research it takes. Contrary to what many small business owners tend to think, branding includes a variety of elements and goes way deeper than a simple logo you display on your website and products.

On the whole, a brand consists of two main “external” aspects:

Developing a brand voice

Your visual identity—which includes your logo, colors, and typography.

Your brand tone—which includes your tagline, tone, and communication styles.

But for a brand to be complete and substantial there’s an important third “internal” aspect that every business owner needs to address before even thinking about designing a logo or coming up with a tagline to stick on every visible surface, and this is your brand values.

Your brand values will help you capture the three Ps of your brand: Proposition, Personality, and Purpose. Without values to guide you, your brand will seem like just any other business—rather than a distinct and recognizable brand—and your growth will suffer as a result.

When we say brand value, we usually think about a monetary sum. How much is your brand worth?

For example, a no-name pair of jeans could be worth $19 while a Levi’s branded pair of jeans could be worth $119. Clearly there’s a difference in value based on the brand's positioning in the market.

Your Mission

When thinking about your business brand values, start with what’s important to the organization - your mission - and then begin a list.

Your values are what bring your Mission Statement to life.  Without a mission statement, it will be hard to define your values.  Your Mission Statement describes the overarching purpose of your organization - the reason you exist.

If you don't have a Mission Statement, here are four questions to guide your brainstorm:

  • Who are you, as an organization?
  • Why do you exist?
  • What do you do?
  • Who do you serve?

Here are a few examples of Mission Statements- you will notice that they vary in length:

Life is Good: "To spread the power of optimism."

Patagonia: "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis."

Universal Health Services, Inc.: "To provide superior quality healthcare services that: PATIENTS recommend to family and friends, PHYSICIANS prefer for their patients, PURCHASERS select for their clients, EMPLOYEES are proud of, and INVESTORS seek for long-term returns."

True Values

Developing a brand voice

With your Mission Statement clarified, it's time to dive into your brand values.

Values stand at the very core of your brand. They’re the center from which everything radiates—including your brand’s look (design), tone (voice), and relationships (customer service).

Be wary of general messages like “nice” or “noble.”  Generic values like “timely,” “reliable,” or “trusted” won’t help you stand out from the crowd in a noteworthy way either. There’s no significant tone, genuine feeling, or emotion behind these words - they won’t get you chosen; they will only get your brand ignored.

Start wrapping your mind around your values by starting with ABSOLUTE NO'S - things, emotions, messages you don’t want your brand to represent.

We often experience negative emotions more intensely than positive ones, and we can often articulate far better why we don’t like something than why we like something else.

Think about a brand experience you had that left a strong negative impression. Maybe the customer service was terrible, the turnaround time or quality were below par. Perhaps the company was very typical both in terms of time and quality but left you feeling like you had a generic interaction with a robot.

Your brand needs personality that drives it towards its vision and mission. Personality and brand tone go hand in hand, and before we head into the second chapter, I want to rewind to Nike's vision in the 60's: Crush Adidas.

This provided a distinct tone for everyone in the organization to embrace - when designing, copywriting, implementing sales strategies - all of it. With that being said, let’s get into your brand tone.

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2. Brand Tone

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