How to create an insightful brand voice today that will supercharge your B2B brand The Content Reactor way

How to create an insightful brand voice today that will supercharge your B2B brand The Content Reactor way

“He will join us or die!”

“Do you feel lucky, punk?”

“Congratulations on your one cousin. I have seventy, each one better than the last!”

If I told you that Dwight, Darth Vader, and Clint Eastwood each said one of these quotes would you have trouble matching up the speaker to the quote. I doubt it, and I’m pretty sure that most people could get these right on the first try. Why is that?

In showbiz, it’s important to establish strong characters who are easily identifiable. This makes them more loveable, memorable, and relatable which ultimately increases profits for the networks. Can something from showbiz really help your B2B company?

Yes, it can. Creating a memorable brand is very similar to creating a strong TV character. You want people to easily recognize your brand, remember you even when they’re not in direct contact with one of your ads, and stay loyal because they love your brand. To do this effectively, you can create a brand voice to help your business stay in character.

In this article, we’ll talk about the ROI of creating a brand voice, how you can make one, and how to make sure your team gets the most out of it.

Increase leads by 97% with buyer persona research

Business owner conducting buyer persona research at the table

Messaging built on strong buyer persona research can have a profound effect on your ROI when done consistently and with the right voice. Study after study shows improvements in email marketing, web-traffic conversion rates, marketing-generated revenue, and site visit duration.

  • Skytap saw an increase of 97% in leads from online marketing.
  • NetProspex got a 171% increase in marketing-generated revenue.
  • HubSpot found that having buyer personas can increase a website’s effectiveness and ease of use by 2-5 times.

These examples clearly show the value of using a brand voice for your company. But, a brand voice can help in other ways too. It can help cut down on team confusion when creating sales and marketing materials, and ensure that communication between employees and customers is always building your brand. So, how can you get started?

Infuse your customers, employees, and leadership into your brand voice

To create a compelling brand voice, you need to get input from your customers, your company’s leadership, and your employees. This will help you create a voice that’s appealing to your customers and that your team believes in.

Customer data

You need to find out why your best customers are choosing you over the competition. Customer interviews are a great way to find out. What should you ask in these interviews? Start off by learning basic demographic information. The following points are the essence of what you want to learn in the customer interviews.

  • What were they looking for when they made their choice?
  • How did they look for solutions to their problem (blogs, friends, competitors, etc.)?
  • How did you solve the issues they were facing?
  • Is there something about your brand personality that stood out to them? Are there any specific qualities they were looking for in your company?
  • What do they like most about your offering?

It’s usually better to ask these questions subtly as you tend to get more honest answers than asking them directly. Below is an image you can save showing the types of questions we would ask when performing buyer persona interviews.

Sample questions you can use in a buyer persona interview

Depending on how long you’ve been in business and the size of your customer base, you may have other sources of customer data available to you. For example, you can also leverage analytics data and customer surveys. The more data you have will give you a better pulse on how your customers actually feel.

Get company leadership on the same page

To truly find your company’s voice you need to identify the core of your business. This includes things like company values, mission, roadmap, target market, and your competitors. We know it can be challenging, but you need to get leadership to commit to a day when your team can discuss and decide on all of these elements.

We like to use a method called a brand sprint to get this part done. This is a method developed by Jake Knapp from Google Ventures. Jake describes it this way: “The point of these exercises, it turns out, is to make the abstract idea of ‘our brand’ into something concrete.”

During this meeting, you’ll get all the elements you need from your team to create your brand voice. We like this method because we can get the right people in the room, have time constraints that limit the amount of distraction, and get the buy-in we need to move forward.

Input from employees

Your employees typically interact with customers more than your leadership. While it’s probably not possible to implement all of their feedback, you should still listen. This is especially true of input from your sales and customer service teams who have frequent interaction with customers. Look for trends among the input and weigh them accordingly. When you find recurring themes, it may be a sign that you need to incorporate them into your brand voice.

The four main components of your brand voice

1. Brand story

Woman typing out her brand story

Every great character has a brand story, and your brand should have one too. Now we’re not talking about your company history, but rather a story that clearly shows the purpose of what you do.

The brand story should describe who you are, the problem you solve, why you do it, and how customers benefit in a few concise paragraphs. This main messaging is instrumental in helping you persuade potential customers.

2. Buyer Personas

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal client. The buyer persona should include demographics, information on how they shop, goals, roadblocks, and other helpful data. Whenever anyone on your team communicates with a customer, writes for your website, or creates sales and marketing materials they can write to your buyer personas.

Doing so will ensure that everything your team creates is always done with the customer in mind.

3. Brand avatar

The brand avatar represents your company. Creating this helps to humanize your company. Since it personifies your company, you’re able to use this resource to imagine how your company communicates, and the qualities that communication should embody.

4. Content Strategy + Guidelines

Finally, we get to the strategy that all this customer research makes possible. Because we have done the work of talking to customers, digging into analytics, and talking to our team, we now have the data we need to make a powerful strategy.

This strategy should include a content calendar that’s based on customer insights and SEO research. Together these help you target the keywords your customers are interested in and are attainable within your current website authority.

Within your content strategy, you should include guidelines for posting on social media. This will ensure that employees use your brand avatar when talking on the company’s social channels. This can have a profound effect on your success when marketing on social. But we’re not the only ones who think so.

“With all of the noise on social today, creating a unique brand voice is a crucial aspect of differentiating your brand. Think about how your brand voice on social helps further the connection you want to build with your community. Here at Sprout, we really focus on a social voice that embodies our values. For example, “Care Deeply” is one of our core values, and we demonstrate that by truly listening to each customer who reaches out, welcoming feedback and trying to foster a genuine connection with the people we encounter on social. “Seek Simplicity” is something we practice by responding on social in a way that’s both thoughtful and concise, reducing the number of interactions it takes to solve an issue and making the interactions we have more impactful.

On a practical level, every brand needs to articulate and document what its voice entails. This means developing guidelines and training your team on things like word choice, editing style, do’s and don’ts, and so on. From that foundation, anyone representing your brand on social can feel confident in developing creative content that’s always on-brand and furthering that voice in every social engagement.”

Rachael Samuels
Manager, Social Media – Sprout Social

Once you have the main parts of the brand voice created, you need to use it.

Using the brand voice

Just like any other marketing tool, your brand voice is useless if not implemented correctly. While your brand voice can help many different aspects of your business, there are three areas you should focus on to take advantage of your brand voice.

  • Web and marketing content. This includes your content marketing, web copy, branding, social media, and ads.
  • Client communication. Train your sales and marketing teams on how to use the brand voice in every interaction with your clients. This will ensure that every communication with your clients is consistent and brand building.
  • Client treatment. Your sales and marketing efforts are only as good as your service. If you don’t actively try to delight your customers, you’ll lose them.

These are the areas where it’s most important to use your brand voice. But, how can you help your team make the best use of this new tool? Here are four steps that will help.

1. Have them read it. Before training, they should read the entire brand voice. This will help them get a complete understanding of what the overall voice of your company will sound like.

2. Identify what parts of their job they will need to use the brand voice for. For example, the social media expert will need to refer to the social guidelines frequently, while employees who write for your blog will need to understand your buyer personas and their pain points.

3. Designate an expert on your team they can turn to for support. Someone on your team should be available to help answer questions about the company’s voice. This person should also be in charge of reviewing new material and ensuring it’s in line with the updated voice.

4. Check-in and identify problems with implementation. Your brand voice expert should check-in with the members of your team who contribute significantly to your company’s voice. Find out if they are having difficulties implementing, and what you can do to smooth out the process.

These steps will ensure that your team gets the training it needs and that everyone is on the same page. From there your voice will only get louder and more distinct.

A brand voice gives your communication the superpower of being super relevant.

Business superheroes facing storm.

47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.

–   (Demand Gen Report, 2016)

Practical topics are more likely to be shared and motivate web visitors to return. Creating a brand voice gives you an insiders look into what your customers want to see, and you can focus your content strategy on super relevant information. This will accelerate the results you get from your content marketing efforts and make you feel like you have a marketing superpower.

A brand voice will also help you treat customers like human beings. This isn’t only good for business; it’s the right thing to do. When you engage your audience, you’ll start turning one-time visitors into repeat customers and brand evangelists.

Are you tired of content marketing efforts that fail to build your brand? We can help you create a brand voice and give your brand superpowers. Send me an email, and we can chat over coffee (in-person or virtually).

8.5 Ways to improve your company’s brand voice today

8.5 Ways to improve your company’s brand voice today

Creating a brand voice is a must for any company that relies on written communication. But, the actual brand voice creation process can be very time-consuming. These 8.5 tips will help you to jump-start your brand’s voice and content today.

1. Use words wisely and consistently to reinforce your brand voice

As you develop a consistent brand, you begin to take ownership of your own niche in the market. When you choose a position and then consistently reinforce your position, it becomes more difficult for competitors to come in and take that advantage away. The ability to manage your market position trains customer expectations, setting a foundation for continued success.

BrandExtract

Some brands confuse consumers with inconsistent terms. For example, a software company might call a single piece of software a “tool,” “suite,” “dashboard,” or “solution.” This approach could make the user think that software X comes in 5 different versions. Similarly, user-interfaces, help text, and marketing campaigns will suffer big time if clear, consistent terms aren’t used.

What’s the solution? How can you stop the madness? The absolute easiest way is creating a glossary and sending it to all your content producers.

I like to make my glossaries in Google Sheets. You might divide it up like so:

 How to use a glossary as part of your brand voice

Having a glossary will allow content producers to confirm that they’re using the right term, capitalization, and spacing. It can also provide them with helpful alternatives when they’re trying not to be repetitive.

The first step in creating your glossary is taking an inventory of the terms used throughout your content. To do this, make a copy of our glossary template and start reading through your website, social media, sales content, blog posts, customer service info, and help documents. As you read, fill in the term column with terms that you see frequently or that need to be used consistently.

Once you’ve inventoried the terms, start eliminating anything repetitive or that doesn’t match your brand’s voice. If possible, copy these into a doc and list them as a term to avoid using.

Next, take your lean group of terms and start defining them and filling in the other columns. This step could give you surprising insights into how your brand has been communicating. You might even see that major changes need to be made to product names. But, don’t worry, this is all part of the process of optimizing your brand’s content.

 Using a glossary ensures that you have a consistent brand voice.

2. Share client stories

Everyone loves a good story. They even prefer a bad story to a list of dry facts. Why are stories so powerful?

The book Made to Stick, dives deep into the power of stories. It includes the example of photocopy repairman sitting around on their lunch break and telling stories. During one story, a repairman goes into great detail on the work he put into resolving a false error code. The reason he shares this story instead of saying, “watch out for this false error code”, is that the story aids in memory and comprehension.

You can leverage this same power in your content. Telling the story of a client who was dealing with a frustrating situation gives your customers someone to connect with. They could even be in that same situation. Explaining how your product or service solved that paint point will help them to imagine how they could benefit from it too. Finally, bring the story to a memorable conclusion; this will help customers to remember the entire buyer’s journey and make your ideas stick.

Try to use this outline when creating a client story:

  1. Share the client’s situation and make sure to keep it relatable.
  2. Now, bring up the pain point. What problem are they facing and what negative impact is it having?
  3. Enter your product/solution. Explain how the client solved their problem by using it.
  4. The happy ending. What benefits are they enjoying?
  5. Call-to-action. Encourage readers who are facing a similar issue to contact you, learn more about your products, or buy.

 Client stories are an excellent way to highlight the value of your products.

3. Share your story

If people are interested in others’ stories than you better believe that they’re interested in your company’s story. Think of a job interview, the interviewer asks you a bunch of questions to learn your story and see if they want to be in business with you. Your customers want the exact same thing.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, customers prefer working with companies that share their ideals. In fact, there’s an app called Shape that’s designed to help investors find companies that align with their own morals. The market wants this information about your company too, so give it to them.

Here are a few places where you can include your story:

  • Your About page
  • A Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) page
  • Bios on social media accounts
  • As part of a newsletter or email series
  • In online videos or commercials
  • As part of your sales documentation

Besides these key spots, pepper your story into other pieces of content. For example, when announcing a new product say something like “we remember building our first [your product] in mom’s garage. Our goal was to help people like you to [benefit]. The [new product] was built in line with that same vision.” Doing this shows that your company has a history of caring for its customers and that it knows where it came from. This makes your company and its products more appealing to consumers.

 Customers align themselves with brands that share their values.

4. There’s an email template for that

In 2009, Apple launched the genius marketing campaign lead by the catchphrase “there’s an app for that.” Yes, no matter what challenge or difficulty you were facing Apple had a solution to help you out.

Something similar happens in the business world. Emails are the bread and butter of business communication, but writing effective emails is hard! And with so many people writing emails for a business, with varying styles and writing abilities, your brand’s unique voice will break down pretty quickly. But, creating email templates is a handy way to solve this problem.

How should you go about this? First, get someone with solid writing skills and an understanding of your brand’s voice. Have that person go around to people who regularly send emails, this will mainly be sales and customer service. Find out what types of emails they typically send and which formats give them the best results. Then create a series of templates based on common emails, employee suggestions, and your brand’s voice.

Once you have a set of emails make sure to clearly mark your variables, so that they’re always filled in correctly. An easy way to do this is to put variables inside of square brackets and highlight them in an obnoxious color, like so “[Client name].” This will prevent any embarrassing mishaps.

Also, think of guidelines to give employees for their follow-up emails. Having an initial template is great, but you need something in place for emails further down the line. Take steps in advance.

Finally, make it easy for employees to use the templates by integrating them into your email service (for example, in Gmail you can set up canned responses, which serve as email templates). Also, explain that you’re not trying to micromanage their emails, you’re simply making sure that the company is always accurately represented and following these templates and guidelines will help them to do a better job.

 Email templates can help you maintain a strong brand voice.

5. Where’s your content taking you?

You might be familiar with the Chinese proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That whole journey is made up of millions of individual steps. Each piece of content that you create is a step in that journey, but where are all those steps taking you?

Content strategy is the process of taking strategic business goals and using content to achieve them. For example, you might want to raise awareness, get more email list subscribers, or increase your sales.These smaller goals all contribute to your company’s mission. They’re like a road map.

The problem is that a lot of companies produce content inconsistently and without direction. They take a step to the right, a step to the left, a step back, and a step forward. In their minds, they’re really moving, but they’re staying in the same place. Don’t make that mistake.

Even though content strategy is a full-time job, small brands with limited resources can still use and benefit from it. Here’s a simple way to define your content strategy:

  1. Research: Get to know your audience. Answer questions like: what kind of content do they want? what’s holding them back from buying from my company? what other needs do they have that my company could also take care of? how do they consume content? Once you’ve answered these questions, turn the data into buyer personas (characters who represent your ideal clients).
  2. More research: Now that you know who your audience is, you need to find out what they’re searching for online. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to find terms that your target market searches for. Also, considering using a Google Form to survey your existing customers to see what topics they care about. Turn all these keywords and topics into a list.
  3. Set goals: Based on your research, what goals could your company achieve within the next year? If possible, create a few SMART (specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, time-based) goals and align the content you create with them.
  4. Create content: Based on your list, choose a main topic or series of topics to cover. Spread these out onto a content calendar, so that you move in the same direction consistently. Then trickle out the content.
  5. Promote your content: Some think that creating content is the hard part, but promoting it is the real challenge. Set up a promotion checklist in advance. For example, every time you create a new blog post your promotion checklist might be: 3 tweets, 1 email to your list, post to Facebook groups, republish on LinkedIn, syndicate on sites with a similar audience. Having a checklist ensures that each post gets the promotion that it deserves.
  6. Analyze: Every few months look at the analytical data to see if you’ve reached your SMART goals. Have you increased web traffic? Do you have more sales? Do your clients have a better impression of your company? If you see that your content efforts haven’t moved the needle, then revise your strategy and try again.

Content strategy can be complicated, but if you follow these basics steps you’re sure to gain a deeper understanding of your audience and have content that moves your business forward.

 A content calendar can help you use your brand voice more consistently.

6. Tractor beam them with benefits

If you’ve already heard this a million times, then let me say it to you one more time. People buy benefits. They don’t buy a blanket with 300 gram wool; they buy a warm blanket. The benefit matters more than a specification ever could, because a benefit relates to emotion and not logic.

Unfortunately, brands continually forget the first lesson in marketing. They focus on why their products are better instead of the benefits. This leads to the cardinal sin of content…being boring. You don’t want your brand to be boring! So, what can you do?

Let’s compare two pieces of copy from two made up car companies. Which one do you like more?

Example 1: Feel like the king of the road while saving fuel and protecting the environment. With a clean design that eliminates waste, the X2 is the culmination of what a car should be. Get yours today.

Example 2: The X3 uses a high-efficiency fuel system to increase torque while reducing consumption. This advanced efficiency is also reflected in the X3’s low emissions and reduced risk of breakdown due to carbon build up. The X3 can be purchased from your nearest dealer.

Which car company are you more inclined to buy from? The X3 has features that you didn’t even know you wanted, but the content is a bit dry. The X3 may be logically better in every way, but it has zero emotional impact. However, the X2 appeals to emotion while sharing a few key facts. This style appeals to a broader audience and brings emotions into play, allowing it to blow the X3 out of the water.

If this is something your company struggles with, then ask yourself these questions:

  • Get into your customer’s head and imagine what they’ll do with your product or service. What impact will it have on their life?
  • In real-world terms, how is your company providing a better solution than the competition?
  • What problems can your customer avoid by using your solutions?
  • How will using your solution impact the lives of those around your customer (for example, their family or co-workers)?

The answers to these are the benefits that you need to inject into your copy to make it appealing on an emotional level.

 Show don't tell. Sharing the benefits of your product is an excellent way to strengthen your brand voice.

7. Destroy your second face

Has this ever happened to you? You’re buying a new product and the salesperson is great. They understand you and get you excited about the product. Their great attitude makes you really trust the company. In the following months, you enjoy interesting emails and blog posts from the company. But, then the product  breaks and you need to contact customer service. You get grilled about what happened to the product, they’re rude to you, and the company doesn’t fulfill its warranty. Trust broken.

This is an everyday case of two-faced company syndrome. Somewhere between sales and support there’s a disconnect. This leads to clients who feel deceived and will bad mouth your company every chance they get.

There’s only one way to combat this: destroy the second face. You need to be the same company through and through to maintain loyal customers and improve your brand voice.

To achieve this you need global guidelines that apply to how your company communicates and behaves toward the customer. Here are a few ways that you can make your company’s communication more consistent:

  • Be up front about restrictions, exceptions, and any other “negative” things the customer may encounter further down the line. This eliminates any surprises that could hurt your relationship with them.
  • Create guidelines for Customer Service to use. As I mentioned earlier, email templates can help with this, but you also need to give guidelines to make sure that Customer Service doesn’t break your company’s image.
  • Give the customer an outlet for their suggestions, concerns, and complaints, and show that you listen. Just feeling heard can have a huge impact on how customers view your company.
  • When the customer runs into an issue, offer a gift or a free bonus. Inject the negative situation with a touch of positivity, so that it doesn’t damage how they view your company.

Implementing these suggestions may require doing a little bit of restructuring, but they can go a long way toward building a more loyal customer base.

 A brand voice will let your company communicate the same way throughout every interaction with your customers.

8. Collaboration fuels imagination

“Stop, collaborate, and listen.” Even though the command to “collaborate” makes absolutely no sense in the opening line of ice, ice baby, it can be valuable to us. For years, musicians have understood the power of collaborating with others. The results are exciting, interesting, and expose each musician’s music to new listeners.

As a brand, you should take a page from their playlist and collaborate with businesses or industry experts. This gives you credibility and can help you expand your audience with minimal effort.

Here are a few ways that you can collaborate:

  • Is there an industry expert with a new book out? They’d probably be eager to share their ideas with your company’s audience. Have them do a few posts on your blog based on their book. This will give your audience interesting new content while giving the author a platform to promote their book on.
  • Does your company have any key partnerships? Exchange articles or social media posts with your partner. This will strengthen your partnership and help your customers to better understand how you collaborate with others.
  • Have your company create its own unique content to syndicate. Share it with industry publications to establish your expertise or publications/websites your customers read to use as a lead tool.

Collaborating gives tired content a jolt of creativity and excitement. This can be just what your brand needs to holds its audience’s attention.

 Industry experts can give your content a fresh perspective and unique insights.

8.5 Use the best and cut the rest

Case in point, this guide started out as 23 points. Don’t bore people or lower your brand’s perceived quality by pushing out sub-par content. 5 great pieces of content will always do better than 100 mediocre ones.

Bonus point: Create a brand voice

Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Yes, the simplest way to improve your brand’s voice is by creating a brand voice. In fact, your brand voice guidelines can help you to apply all the above points and more.

How will a brand voice benefit you?

  • A brand voice makes your content stand out.
  • A brand voice shows that you care about your audience’s needs.
  • A brand voice cures two-faced company syndrome.
  • A brand voice gives your brand a consistent personality.
  • A brand voice simplifies your long-term content strategy.

Don’t get stuck in stale, outdated marketing approaches. Join the next generation of marketers. Create a brand voice today!

PS

Do you want an expert to create your brand voice? We literally wrote the book on it. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

How much should I charge to create a brand voice?

How much should I charge to create a brand voice?

With brand voices gaining popularity, content strategists, copywriters, and marketing consultants are encouraging their clients to create a unique voice. But, this can be hard for a client to do. So, why not earn more and give your clients long-term value?

If you have a good understanding of writing, communications, or marketing, then creating a brand voice can be dead simple. This gives your client practical guidelines that they can use themselves and simplifies their content creation process. The big question though is: how much should you charge to create a brand voice?

That answer isn’t so simple. There’s a lot of variables and since brand voices are fairly new, there aren’t very many resources online either. Fortunately, our designer friends can provide a little bit of guidance.

Taking a page from brand identities

The goal of a brand identity is similar to the goal of a brand voice, they both make a brand unique and consistent. The difference is the medium, brand identities are focused on visuals and brand voices are focused on words, tone, and style.

There are loads of similarities between the two processes. For example, both require intense research into the client, their target market, and their competitors, and both require extensive testing, revisions, and guidelines.

Because of these similarities, it’s safe to use brand identity pricing as a starting point for brand voice creation. Ianvadas.com provides a nice pricing structure based on organizaton size that you can base your brand voice creation pricing on. He lays out the pricing like so:

“Solopreneur (100k – 500k annual revenue) $5,500 – $15,500

Small Business (500k – 1M annual revenue) $15,500 – $35,000

Medium Sized Business (1M – 250M annual revenue) $35,000 – $75,000

Enterprise (250M+ annual revenue) $75,000 – $250,000”

This gives us an idea of what different organizations are willing to pay for branding. Now, let’s make some educated guesses.

Brand Identity vs. Brand Voice

Time to make the adjustments. First, we need to figure out the differences between design work and writing. Design work requires specialized tools, knowledge that few have, talent, and an understanding of best practices. Writing isn’t viewed as a specialized skill, doesn’t require special tools, and many people feel capable of doing it themselves. Because of this, some may perceive a brand voice to be less costly than a brand identity. This is our big hurdle.

At this point, we need to remind the client that this is a specialized service. We need them to understand the impact it can have as well. Visuals are extremely valuable to a business, but they’re limited in what they can communicate. A brand voice allows businesses to communicate any idea in a way that’s unique and appealing.

Both are important to success, and neither one really trespassed on the other’s territory. We need the client to understand this fully for them to understand the logic behind our pricing.

Finally, the client should be aware of the work that goes into creating a brand voice. It’s not as simple as creating a document. Just look at this basic schema for creating a brand voice:

  • Research
    • Determine your client’s core values
    • What are their strategic goals?
    • How does your client differ from the competition?
    • Who is their target market?
    • Who does that target market look up to?
  • Verify
    • Interview SMEs, clients, and content producers
    • Send out surveys to the client’s email list
    • Test various styles to see which one can be consistently applied
  • Drafting
    • Create the first draft of brand voice guidelines
    • Draft a style guide and glossary as needed
    • Request feedback from various content producers
    • Implement feedback and start the whole process again until you have a final draft
  • Implementation
    • Help your client to implement the new guidelines everywhere
    • Train their employees to use the guidelines
    • Ensure that there are review processes in place
  • Track
    • Is the content meeting the strategic goals?
    • What improvements and tweaks can be made to the brand voice?
    • Are the guidelines being implemented?
  • Update
    • Revise all brand voice documents and retrain the employees as needed

Yes, creating a brand voice is no small task and you need to make sure that your client knows it too. This process may shrink or grow depending on the client, but it gives us a general idea of what’s involved.

Pricing brand voice services

When it comes to brand voices, charging by the project is better than charging by the hour. Having a project cost is more transparent since your client knows exactly what they’ll pay. It can also benefit you, since the more quickly you complete the project, the more you’ll earn per hour.

Based on everything we’ve discussed, what should you be charging to create a brand voice for your clients? Here are some rough guidelines that you can start from:

  • Solopreneur: $3,000-$5,000
  • Small business: $5,000-15,000
  • Mid-size business: $20,000-35,000
  • Large business: $40,000-80,000
  • Multi-national corporations: $100,000+

These number could go up if you’re highly specialized, run a large team, or have the guts to charge what you want. Or, they might go down if your clients don’t recognize the value of a brand voice, you’re just starting out, or if you’re a one-man show. It’s best to test and adjust frequently until you nail down the right number.

Bump up your income now

Creating a brand voice is the best thing you can do for yourself and your clients. It allows for long-term strategy, increased customer loyalty, simpler content production, and a better experience for everyone involved.

If you’d like to learn how to create brand voices quickly and easily, then check out our course. It’ll give you all the skills you need to increase your income and stay on the cutting-edge of marketing.

Ready to get paid?

What Brian Johnson of AC/DC Can Teach You About Going Over the Top

What Brian Johnson of AC/DC Can Teach You About Going Over the Top

AC/DC is the essence of rock and roll. But, it looked like their career would be cut short by the death of their lead singer Bon Scott. Instead of giving up and moving on, they persevered and sought out a new singer.

Imagine how competitive auditioning for AC/DC would be. They were already a famous act and surely had thousands of singers wanting to take over the mic. How could anyone stand out in that crowd?

Enter Brian Johnson

This singer from an early 70s glam rock band was top of mind as AC/DC chose a new singer. He had a good reputation and had been highly praised by the late Bon Scott. Why? Johnson’s performance style was over the top and made him stand out. Here’s the story straight from Wikipedia:

AC/DC lead guitarist and co-founder Angus Young recalled: “I remember Bon playing me Little Richard, and then telling me the story of when he saw Brian singing [with Geordie].” He says about that night: “There’s this guy up there screaming at the top of his lungs and then the next thing you know he hits the deck. He’s on the floor, rolling around and screaming. I thought it was great, and then to top it off – you couldn’t get a better encore – they came in and wheeled the guy off!'” Johnson was diagnosed with appendicitis later that night, which was the cause of his writhing around on stage.[2] The band agreed immediately that Johnson’s performing style fit AC/DC’s music.

This guy was an insane performer. Even though some of this insanity was the result of appendicitis, his story shows that standing out is the key to success.

How Can You Stand Out?

We can’t all be as lucky as Brian Johnson and get appendicitis at just the right moment. But, you can stand out by implementing these simple ideas:

  • Look at the standard way of doing what you’re working on. What do people expect you to do? Instead of doing it that way, find your own path or solution. For example, instead of making cold calls and offering people a free consultation, call and say, “can you help me by letting me guest post on your blog?” This shift from the norm will throw them off and make you stand out.
  • Forget about making people happy and do what you want to do. If musicians tried to make everyone happy all the time, then there would never be new tunes. Focusing on your vision and being passionate about it will help you do things that only you could think of.
  • Never make big promises and always exceed expectations. When you go above and beyond, you make other people feel good. Whether you’re dealing with a friend, family member, or client, they’ll be impressed by your added effort. By keeping your promises small and consistently over-delivering, you’ll stand out more than those that promise big things and barely fulfill them.

Standing Out Will Get You There

Being part of the crowd makes it tough to get anywhere. If you have 15 options, and 14 are exactly the same and 1 is better, then you’ll go with the one that stands out. Similarly, when you stand out from the crowd it’s easier to convince others of your value and be the chosen one.

Brian Johnson got to front one of the coolest rock bands of all time just because he got appendicitis at the right time…and he’s an amazing singer. What will you achieve if you stand out from the crowd? Just try and see.

How consistent terminology builds a better brand voice

How consistent terminology builds a better brand voice

Some brands confuse consumers with inconsistent terms. For example, a software company might call a single piece of software a “tool,” “suite,” “dashboard,” or “solution.” This approach could make the user think that software X comes in 5 different versions. Similarly, user-interfaces, help text, and marketing campaigns will suffer big time if clear, consistent terms aren’t used.

What’s the solution? How can you stop the madness? The absolute easiest way is creating a glossary and sending it to all your content producers.

I like to make my glossaries in Google Sheets. You might divide it up like so:

Having a glossary will allow content producers to confirm that they’re using the right term, capitalization, and spacing. It can also provide them with helpful alternatives when they’re trying not to be repetitive.

Inventory your content

The first step in creating your glossary is taking an inventory of the terms used throughout your content. To do this, make a copy of our glossary template and start reading through your website, social media, sales content, blog posts, customer service info, and help documents. As you read, fill in the term column with terms that you see frequently or that need to be used consistently.

Trim the fat

Once you’ve inventoried the terms, start eliminating anything repetitive or that doesn’t match your brand’s voice. If possible, copy these into a Doc and list them as a term to avoid using.

Define those suckers

Next, take your lean group of terms and start defining them and filling in the other columns. This step could give you surprising insights into how your brand has been communicating. You might even see that major changes need to be made to product names. But, don’t worry, this is all part of the process of optimizing your brand’s content.

A word may seem like a small thing, but using the right word in the right place can have a powerful effect. This is just one of our eight and a half tips to create a brand voice before creating your brand voice. Want the rest? Just fill out this form:

What is a brand voice?

What is a brand voice?

I have a voice, James Bond has a voice, Stevie Wonder has a voice, and you my friend have a mighty fine set of pipes. We’ve all got our own unique tone and style. But, if your brand doesn’t have a voice, then how will it stand out? Answer: it won’t.

So, what is a brand voice? Simply put, it’s the consistent style that your brand uses to communicate with words. This voice gives every piece of content that your brand creates an injection of its personality. It also makes the content compelling, appealing, and exciting. The content itself will get people to start reading, but your brand voice is what will get them to keep reading and make them hungry for more.

Some people think that a brand voice is just part of your brand identity. It’s just like any other element, like a logo or letterhead. But, that’s not the case. A brand identity is updated and adjusted every few years to keep it fresh. It’s a commodity in this sense. But, a brand voice comes from a much deeper, more powerful place. Where is that place?

MailChimp understands the power of a brand voice

MailChimp can help you do anything email related. They have great products. So great, that I’m even a customer. But, another great thing that they have is an amazing brand. They take branding so seriously, that they’ve even made custom reaction gifs (see for yourself here: http://blog.mailchimp.com/mailchimp-is-on-giphy/). Like this one:

via GIPHY

We can also see their brand voice in every piece of content they create. Take their old 404 page as an example:

MailChimp is clever and appealing because it has a brand voice. They go so far in making everything they do unique, that you can’t help but be entertained by their brand voice. They’re truly a great example of how a brand voice can work in conjunction with a brand identity.

So, a brand voice is part of my brand identity?

Not really. A brand voice is separate from a brand identity. Many times your brand voice will even influence or dictate your brand identity. This is because brand voices come from a very genuine place, whereas brand identities are more easily influenced by customers and competitors.

A lot of small and mid-sized companies don’t have a unique brand voice because they think their brand identity is more important. This means they focus on visual designs because they think it’s the most valuable use of money, or because they don’t understand why they should have a brand voice. Don’t fall into that trap.

In recent years, large companies have shifted their focus from solely worrying about the visuals and have started creating a unique voice. This unique voice isn’t something that just touches their major advertisements, it reaches its hands into every way the company communicates with consumers. They recognize that to be easily identified, they need to communicate in a way that’s special to them in everything they do.

Why do I need a brand voice?

Why does this matter to you though? Your company has worked out OK so far. Will a brand voice really make that big of a difference?

It’s true that many businesses do just fine focusing on brand identity or creating great products. But, if there’s a way to strengthen your brand identity or better highlight your products, why wouldn’t you do it?

A brand voice is a supplement to what you’re already doing right. It’s a performance enhancer that’s 100% legal and proven to benefit businesses. It takes everything you’re already doing, website, email, ads, etc., and pushes them a step further. In this way, your content will be working with your brand identity instead of detracting from it.

What will my brand voice look like?

Traditionally, companies keep their brand voice pretty simple. They come up with a few top qualities, slap together some topics and examples, and then let their content producers run wild. This is a good start. But, it’s not enough for us at Brand Voice Marketer. After all, our goal is to be the leader in brand voices.

To us, a brand voice is the unique style that your company uses when it communicates with words, whether these are written or spoken. We like to compare this to an author’s writing style. You can identify Dr. Seuss by his whimsical rhymes nearly immediately. His style is unique and associated with him.

Similarly, brands need to develop their own voice. This will be based on three main factors:

  1. Your brand’s core values.
  2. Your brand’s products and services.
  3. Your brand’s target market.

By taking these into consideration, your brand will communicate in a way that’s appealing and compelling. It will connect with your market on an emotional level, adding more heft to everything you have to say. It can also build fierce loyalty in consumers, making your brand even more sustainable.

Think of a good friend. They understand you, are good listeners, provide you with just the advice you need, and make you laugh. You won’t abandon that friend. You’ll stick closer to them because you feel a real connection. Having a brand voice will help customers to view your company as a friend. They won’t abandon your brand for another.

How can I create a brand voice?

Here at Brand Voice Marketer, we specialize in helping other marketers to create a brand voice for their company. The absolute best way to learn this process is by signing up for our course. This will give you a series of valuable video lessons, exercises, and feedback from real experts. Our mid-tier option also gives you access to a community that will support you as you create and implement a brand voice for yourself or a client.

If you want some quick help to get started creating a brand voice, then check out our article Reverse Engineering Your Brand Voice. This will give you a simple project for starting to create your brand voice.

That’s it for this post. Stay tuned for more big ideas from this little site. Happy brand voice marketing!

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