I’m smashing a bottle of fizz against the BearFaced Content boat today with my first ever post. Hop aboard, we’re going to talk all about your brand voice (with a little help from Parks and Recreation). I can practically hear your eyes rolling at this suggestion, but I promise you it’s worth it.

All businesses have a brand, whether they know it or not. As a one man band it’s crucial to develop this side of your business early on, so that you have a way of identifying yourselves to potential clients, making you super duper memorable.

Branding is not just logos and colours – it is every time you ever interact with a client. What you say and how you say it matters.

This is your brand voice, and it’s important to develop it.

You’re on this journey. Choose an appropriate vehicle.

 

When it’s just you working in your business, you are your brand. Once people get the impression that your brand has a personality, they can start to gel with it. So what kind of personality does your brand have? How can you get that personality across? Let me start by going off on a bit of a tangent.
My other job is wedding photography, and last month I helped another photographer out. Before the ceremony the vicar told me we must stick to a tiny 2 foot square patch at the back of the church. He even had an assistant keeping an eye on us! If we breached his rules we would be removed.

But after the first hymn he started talking to the crowd in a friendlier voice about how much he loved cheesecake. This segued not-so-smoothly into the different types of love, that cheesecake lovin’ is different to what goes on between husbands and wives. The funny delivery of this fairly standard wedding service patter suited the crowd down to the ground. It was totally different in tone from my earlier interaction with him, and for good reason.

It was a persona.

However you feel about God, and love, and marriage, this guy’s little riff on cheesecake had one objective – to break the ice. And it succeeded! His speech had been carefully considered, he spoke with a local dialect, and he met the couple on their level.

 

Developing a Brand Voice

This bit’s going to take a bit of work and experimentation. Stay with me! I know you have a million things going on right now, but it’s worth the effort. There are a few considerations you should make when you’re setting out developing your brand voice:

 

 

Look at what you create, and then think about your ideal client.

What makes your business different from others? How do you communicate this? What kind of values does your business have? Does your business provide a solution to a problem?

Think about this example: “I produce high quality keepsake print boxes for every newborn I photograph” versus “Keep your memories safe in a beautiful handmade keepsake box”. Which one makes you want it more?

 

Talk directly to them in a way that makes sense.

Does your ideal client respond more to a formal or informal style? Can you be conversational with them at all, or would they react more positively to something slicker? (Tip: don’t use jargon. Ever. It makes you look silly.)

Your ideal client should feel like you understand them, and your tone should be appropriate for the service you’re providing. There’s so much scope to be creative and show some personality, no matter what service or product you’re selling.

Show your humanity.

Try to pick a few keywords to define how you can set the tone of your brand. For instance, when I was thinking about starting BearFaced, I knew who I was targetting. I knew I could be irreverent, funny and informal, because I want to work with people who work alone. They value that human element. There are lots of ways of showing your humanity, but they’re the ones I find easiest.

My example: Helpful, lighthearted, and friendly.

 

Be consistent.

Some personality traits are hard to fake. You don’t have to be quirky or alternative at all if that’s a trait you can’t figure out, so stick with something you can be consistent with.

There are lots of ways to create a successful brand, and developing a consistent brand voice is just one part of it. I think it’s worth the work though.

In the words of the inimitable Ron Swanson: