If your company were a person, what would it sound like? This may strike you as an odd question, but it’s one you need to start asking yourself if you’re serious about marketing your building products online.
As consumers evolve and rely more and more on the Web to inform their purchasing decisions, their expectations are changing as well. They want to high-quality products and great prices, yes, but they also want to trust the people they’re buying from.
One of the ways to build this trust is to establish a brand voice.
Your brand voice is basically your company’s personality. It comes from the type of language that you use, the tone of your content, even the kind of imagery you use on your website. It affects how customers see you and even how they perceive the quality of your products.
As you flesh out your digital marketing strategy and start creating content, you have to decide how you want to be perceived and by whom. This should inform every sentence on your website, every blog post you publish, and every piece of marketing collateral you send off into the world.
At the end of the day, people respond to people. If you strive to look and sound authentic, like a company made up of human beings and not robots, you’re going to have a much easier time getting your prospects to trust you.
Not only that, it’s also a way to separate yourself from your competitors. Building materials tend to be highly commoditized, so being different often plays a large role in being successful.
Some Questions To Ask Yourself
If you’re lucky, the question of what your brand sounds like will be a no-brainer because you already have a spokesperson whose personality drives everything.
But for those of us who don’t have a quirky mascot or particularly charismatic executive who’s willing to step into the spotlight, the company essentially has to become the “person,” and we have to come up with their personality from the ground up.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help this process along:
“Who am I talking to?”
Is your ideal customer a contractor or a homeowner? How about an architect? Can you get away with using more technical language, or should you avoid jargon and speak more plainly? Your primary buyer personas should dictate the language of your marketing content to avoid confusing or alienating them.
You should also think about demographics. The age of your audience may influence how formal or informal you want to present your brand. For example, you can usually get away with being more candid and funny when your customers skew younger, if that’s your thing.
The same goes for location—do you want to be viewed as a hometown small business hero one can grab a beer with, or do you have more international, corporate aspirations?
“What is my company’s culture?”
While you may not have a single spokesperson, your company is still made up of people. Your brand voice should reflect them and what it’s like to be a part of your world.
What is day-to-day life like for you and your colleagues? What is the atmosphere in the office or when you’re meeting with customers out in the world? Let that shine through all of your marketing collateral—and give folks a peek behind the curtain! This can help humanize your brand.
If your team is young, scrappy, and hungry, don’t be afraid to make that known—that’s a particularly attractive trait when it comes to standing apart from the competition these days. Or if you’re all seasoned professionals with many, many years of experience under your belts, let people know that you’re a company to be trusted because you’ve seen and done it all.
How To Keep Your Brand Voice Consistent
The tricky part about company branding is getting everyone on the same page. “Herding cats” is how a lot of my clients described their branding efforts before signing up with us.
This is usually true for smaller or younger companies whose employees don’t have a very firm grasp on the marketing basics. They’re often inclined to go rogue with their own ideas of what should go up on the company website or social media, which can confuse the hell out of people who get a different customer experience every time they encounter the brand.
One way to curtail the chaos is to sit down with the entire team (that means both sales, marketing, customer service, and everyone in between) and lay down some ground rules for content that will be seen by the public. This could mean a simple list of do’s and don’ts that everyone has to adhere to. For example, do try to keep it lighthearted and conversational, but don’t use excessive profanity or make vulgar jokes.
Or if you want to get very serious about it, you can create a style guide or brand book that thoroughly outlines the rules for content creation, from the specific tone everything should be written in to what type of vocabulary should (or should not) be used.
Once everyone is on the same page, it’s not a bad idea to establish a content gatekeeper that will be in charge of making sure every piece of content fits the brand voice.
If you’re a marketing manager or director, that person could be you. Hell, sometimes the owner of a company will opt to play this role so they can have total control of their brand. Whoever it may be, having one person handle it will ensure consistency and expansion over time.
Remember That Brands Evolve Over Time
The brand voice that you’ve hopefully started fleshing out while reading this post is not necessarily the one your company will have one year, five years, even ten years from now.
That’s not to say that whatever you come up with now isn’t good. It’s just that like actual people, brands grow and mature over time. This can be the result of refinement, changes in staff, expansion, or simply in response to the way the world changes around us.
Your marketing efforts should never plateau—you should always be striving to improve. As such, you’ll need to pay attention to how people react to the brand voice you develop over time and pivot accordingly.
What has been working? What hasn’t? If you notice a tepid response to the way you’re trying to connect with your audience, make slight adjustments and monitor the effect they have on the reception of your brand.
It’s also very likely that as your company grows and more people become involved, the brand voice may change or be influenced by newcomers. Check in regularly with your team and have open discussions about the direction you want to take things. If you’re the gatekeeper (as mentioned before), make sure that you inform new team members of the branding rules you established, but also be open to suggestions that only someone with fresh eyes can contribute.
Remember, how consumers perceive your brand has a direct effect on how they perceive your products. A sloppy, inconsistent representation of your company (especially online) will only confuse prospective customers and paint you as an unreliable vendor.
By establishing your brand voice, you’re not only providing a more cohesive image of your company for people to remember—you’re making your own life easier by creating a blueprint that takes a lot of guesswork out of your content creation. It can serve as a guiding light for your entire team, and it can help set you apart from the other guys who haven’t caught up with the ever-changing expectations of the modern consumer.