Why finding your brand voice should be a top priority

Theo

If you receive a lot of texts or emails, you won’t need to be told that each of your friends, colleagues or family members, has a distinctive voice.

That voice explains their personalities. It’s no different from a spoken voice in that way. And, in a sense, it’s these personalities that we build relationships with. When people are funny, or kind, or intelligent, it’s their words that convey those characteristics.

If you want people to interact with your brand in the same engaged way they interact with an old friend – or, really, in any consistent way at all – you need to make sure it has a voice too.

This might seem like common sense, but ask yourself: if your last blog post or email had gone out without your logo or other visual identifiers, would anyone know it was from you? If the answer to that is no, then you have a problem.

It’s vital that your customers learn to interact with your brand as an individual entity, a personality – and that means giving it a voice. But what should that voice be?

At Kiss, we work hard to make sure that every company we work with has their own distinctive, engaging, brand. Voice is a big part of that.

To determine a brand’s voice, we focus on what a company does, how they do it, and why. These are crucial elements in any branding exercise, but they have specific uses in determining brand voice.

Broadly speaking, you talk about what a company does in a tone of voice that conveys why they do it. You save the how for individual, targeted, pieces of copy.

Once you have established the why behind your brand, you have to decide how that’s best conveyed. That’s simple, but it’s not easy: you have to establish brand values, like ‘innovative’ ‘friendly’ or ‘direct’. You can pick as many as you like, but we generally try to keep it to three – resist the urge to list of positive words, and focus instead on what is important to your brand, and what it honestly is.

From here, we explore how these values can be reflected in copy: if your brand is innovative, for example, that might be expressed through punchy sentences; it might involve surprising readers with unexpected answers to common questions; it might have a preference for modern language, over traditional.

We then brainstorm vocabulary: if your brand value is innovative, words like original, new, and disrupted, might be applicable (depending on the industry you’re in, and the other brand values that go along with it).

Once this is all done, we review your brand voice against logo, design, and everything else. We make sure that everything’s consistent, and then we put pen to paper and produce some example copy to pick apart with you and perfect.

The end result of going through a process like this is well worth the effort. It means ending up with a brand that people can actually talk to, and get to know. If you need help pulling your voice together, we’re always willing to help – just get in touch via the contact form on this website.

 

 

CONTACT.

Need help finding your brand voice? Then get in touch with KISS.





Kiss launch new website and brand!

By Theo.

If you want your workplace to look and function better than it ever has before, you probably want to speak to Streamline Office Services. But who do they contact when they want a website that looks and functions better than ever before? Look no further: Kiss Design!

Streamline Office Services is a brand with a strong local heritage. It was founded in 1971 to bring a modern and efficient approach to office workflows in the Midlands. And that doesn’t just mean your standard small-to-medium size corporate offices (although they’ve dealt with plenty of those) – it means pretty much any professional environment: home offices, big commercial premises, hospitals, schools, – you name it, and the company has probably done it.

Streamline was a special one for us at Kiss – our Managing Director, Emma George, has a history with the brand. Streamline’s owner, founder, director, and all-round office expert Mark Steel is Emma’s uncle. And all those years ago, before she set out on her quest to simplify marketing, he gave her a job! So it’s fair to say that, in a way, working on the Streamline brief was a little like coming home for her.

“It was great to be able to make a difference to a company that I’m so fond of,” Emma said “I really enjoyed my time at Streamline, and I think that experience helped give me a great perspective to work from. Because I know the brand, and the people, intimately, I had a solid idea of what would work for them. I think the results speak for themselves: the new website is sleek, straightforward, it looks great, and the customer journey is as clear as it could possibly be.”

To create Streamline’s new website, we started right at the beginning: What is the brand about? What does it do? And why? And how does it carry it all out? Basically: what makes Streamline special?

We re-wrote all of the copy, built and designed an updated website with a fresher feel to showcase Streamline’s general ethos (the clue’s in the name), and put the customer journey first. This last point was crucial, because the web design had to act as justification for the product: if you’re a company that’s all about designing office spaces and optimizing workflows, you need your website to be equally well-designed and easy to use. It’s a credibility issue.

Mark Steel shares Emma’s positive response to the new site, saying: “I’ve been really impressed by Kiss. Streamline is all about quality, and that’s what they’ve delivered.”

www.streamlineuk.com

What’s a brand, and why do you need one?

By Emma.

A lot of people think of logos when they hear the word brand. And that’s fair enough – a good logo is a critical piece of brand identity. But a brand goes far beyond a logo – it’s the emotional response your customers have when they think of you; the summation of who you want to be, what you are, and how people interact with you; in short – it’s a vision of everything that your company aspires to be.

This might sound like psycho-babble, but think of some of the great brands: Apple, with its “think different” tagline and beautiful, minimalist, design; Coke, the soft drink that owns Christmas; Disney, the world’s pre-eminent entertainment company. These businesses don’t just have personality – they have artfully designed themselves so that they can leverage public perception in their favour.

Today, branding is more important than ever before. Your customers are behaving in new ways thanks to the internet: they’re checking out you and your competitors’ websites against one another, and deciding who to go with. In almost every case, customers will have made a decision about you and your company without ever talking to you or visiting your physical premises. How do they make that decision? By evaluating your brand. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that your branding, online presence, and marketing materials are every bit as strong as your actual business: in many cases, it will be all people look at to decide whether they want to become your customer or not.

Take the companies we discussed above: many people in the I.T. world have gone on record as saying that there’s nothing special about Apple products. In blind taste tests, Coke is regularly beaten by its biggest rival, Pepsi. And Disney – well, I love what they’re doing today as much as everyone else. But lets remember that the stories that this legendary storyteller is currently focusing on (Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar) are ones that they’ve bought – so much for creativity.

So if the difference between these companies and their competitors isn’t in the product itself, where is it? It’s in the brand – it’s in the story that each of them is telling not to their customers, but with them.

This last point is central to the idea of a good brand: it’s not something that gets “made” and then exists in some vacuum – your brand will change with you, it will pick up connotations as customers evaluate their experience of your business alongside the story you are telling about it. It will evolve organically. A brand is not an icon that sits on a webpage – it’s an idea in your and your customers’ heads.

This is why you have to get it right. Many people can tell a good story. But can they find the right story? And, once they’ve found it, can they tell it in the best way, a way that you can live alongside authentically? If your branding lacks authenticity, your customers will figure it out.

No one can do this effectively alone, and that’s why people like Kiss Design exist. Our main job is to become an expert in you and your business, and then tell your and your customers story as well as it can possibly be told. Some businesses might have stories that are more obvious than others – but we’ve yet to find a company that doesn’t have the seeds of a great brand at its core.