Finding your brand voice across channels
Finding your brand voice across channels

By on in Strategy

Finding your brand voice across channels

You’ve been on the internet before; you know there are dozens of ways for brands to communicate. Newsletters, websites, social media—a brand could easily have 10 touchpoints with one customer.

As a denizen of the internet, you’ve also seen those brands that copy-paste content across platforms. Sure, it’s technically communicating on multiple channels, but are you taking that to your boss as your multichannel strategy?

Allow me to answer that quasi-rhetorical question: No. Even though the brand is the same across channels, the messaging should not be identical. Instead, marketers should define a unique voice for each channel.

Yes, you heard that right. Each channel needs its very own voice and tone. And yes, it does take more work than the good old copy-paste. But it’s so worth the extra effort.


Why you need distinct brand voices

Did you see that meme that made the rounds a while back? Dubbed the Dolly Parton Challenge (because, of course, in between writing iconic songs and funding the Moderna vaccine, the Queen of Country also started a viral meme), the meme asked you to share four separate photos of yourself, one for each of the following channels: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Tinder.

It’s the same person in all four photos, but the way they present themselves is entirely different. In linguistics, they call this code-switching. You know how you speak to your grandmother on the phone differently than the way you speak with your BFF? That’s code-switching, too.

We code-switch for any number of reasons, but at the end of the day, it allows us to connect better with a given audience. If you’re telling a story about your birthday party, you might tell your grandmother, “everyone had a great time,” while you might tell your friend, “that sh*t was lit.”

The underlying message is the same, but the words used to communicate it are designed to resonate with the specific audience.

The same principle applies across marketing channels. Your audience on LinkedIn will not be the same as your email newsletter readers. Your Instagram presence is driven by visual content while your blog relies on words. You adjust your voice, tone, and presentation accordingly to capitalize on the strengths of the channel and the characteristics of each subset of your audience.


Scope the competition

Liberal arts grads, rejoice! Competitive analysis is a time to dust off those comp lit, social psych, and art history skills.

The process begins by identifying your competition. These could be direct competitors in your industry, but they also may be brands selling to a related audience or advertising a similar lifestyle.

Take a look at how these competitors present themselves online. What are they saying on social? How is their website laid out? What’s the focus of their email newsletter? Soak up as much content as you can.

Analyzing their presence is really about understanding the journalistic questions behind their facades (the who, what, when, where, why, and how). When you answer each of those questions for each content channel, you begin to create an image of the existing marketing landscape. Then, it’s your time to fill your special place in it.


Find your niche

You are unique, so you want your brand’s marketing presence to be singular as well. Once you’ve assessed the market, you can identify the gaps in it. That’s where you want to be.

This part of the process is a bit of a balancing act. You want to find a niche to fill, but you mustn’t lose yourself in the process. Defining voice and tone, plus broad messaging pillars, is how you find your place.

This exercise takes time. Because you’re merging your own identity with the parameters of existing marketing channels, plus looking to fill a niche not occupied by your competitors, there are disparate forces to manage.

Don’t slap together your brand voice and messaging pillar in 30 minutes. Your brand voice document might only be a few high-level paragraphs, but it’s doing a lot of heavy lifting. Take your time. Check in with your team, and get feedback from the individuals who interact directly with your customers. Make sure everything rings true and that your messaging shines through beneath the unique voice and tone.

A successful brand voice isn’t crafted in a day. The process takes research, focus, and careful consideration. But the rewards are so worth it. Understanding your unique value and designing a voice to match it helps you connect quickly with the right audience. As your authenticity shines through, the strength of your brand only grows.

If you’re struggling to find the right voice for your brand, reach out and say hi! Or hello. Or wassup? Don’t stress about the greeting, we’ll help you sort your tone. Say hello!