5 Simple Steps to Define Your Brand Voice from Scratch

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“Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.” That's how powerful having a brand voice can be. But the truth is that building a brand voice is easier said than done. It's difficult and most businesses fail at it. What are 5 steps to take to ensure you define your brand voice successfully even if you've never done it?

Your business brand voice is the most important statement from your business. While there’s no single brand voice that every business must use, your brand voice should show what your business stands for.

Consider these sequence of events: you attract a customer through your brand voice, the customer loves your service and becomes loyal. They also tell others about your brand and you gain more customers. Consequently, your brand becomes bigger and better. And this cycle continues until your customers can easily identify your brand voice.

If you want to reach your business targets online and offline, you need to build your brand voice. It makes your business unique and helps you to market it better.

When people see your social media updates, or emails, or even your page on search engine results, they're more likely to engage with your brand if they already recognize it.

In fact, former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt said: “Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.”

Think of it for a moment: if you search for a term on Google, you'll probably click a result from a brand you know even if their page is in the 7th position. If you want to buy a product, you'll probably pick a brand you know among various listings.

That's how powerful having a brand voice can be.

But the truth is that building a brand voice is easier said than done. It's difficult and most businesses fail at it.

What are 5 steps to take to ensure you define your brand voice successfully even if you've never done it?

1. Establish basic details about your brand

Before you can begin the process of defining your brand voice, you need to have basic details in place. Even though these are not long pages of documents, these are the details people see when they interact with your business. Some of these details are:

Vision statement: This explains briefly what future your business wants to create.

Mission statement: These are the activities and results that will help you create the future. See electric car manufacturer, Tesla's mission statement:

Values: What are the most important things your business stands for?

Purpose: This explains why your company exists.

Logo: This is the image that represents your brand everywhere. You probably know the brand this logo represents:

Motto: This is a short sentence that shows your belief as a business.

When you’re through with this, you can move to the next step.

2. Define your ideal audience

It’s an impossible task to make everyone love your brand. What you should be more focused on is to get your ideal audience to love your brand voice.

But who represents your ideal audience?

You can capture your ideal audience through detailed personas. This will show all the details about people who interact with your brand and those who become your loyal customers.

The New York Times and BuzzFeed are two popular news brands online. But they cater to different audiences. Check out a column on the New York Times:

This is a page on BuzzFeed:

Both websites are popular but The New York Times is more formal while BuzzFeed is more informal. They target different audiences.

3. Analyze your competitors

If you’re defining your brand voice, you can learn one or two things from your competitors. Do they have a clear brand voice?

First of all, you have to look at your industry and see your competitors that are performing well. One common denominator you’ll find is that most successful companies have a clearly-defined brand voice.

In some cases, you have competitors with poor brand voices. You need to know what they’re doing poorly so that you can avoid them. Some important details to find are:

  • Their brand details
  • How they interact with their customers
  • How they market their products
  • The parts of their business they share to the world

4. Watch the brands you admire

Most people have brands they admire. There could be many reasons for this. This could be because of the quality of their product or excellent customer care or other reasons. Your company also have these brands.

They may even be in a different market compared to your business. Regardless of this, there are lessons to learn from them about building a brand voice. Two examples of popular brands are Apple and Nike.

There are other less popular brands you may resonate with. Look at what makes them tick and see how you can implement that in your business.

For instance, the Zappos brand is known for great customer service and the company go to extreme length to keep their brand values. Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO said:

“So we generally try to stay away from policies, we just ask our reps to do whatever they feel is the right thing to do for the customer and the company.”

5. Define what you never want your brand to look like

We’ve been talking about what you have to do to create your brand voice. But what are the values you never want to stand for?

During the course of running your business, there will be many instances where you can veer off-course from your brand voice. However, you need to create a boundary of where you never want to be as a business.

You need to state this clearly when defining your brand voice. This could be poor customer service or making low-quality products. Whatever you agree with your business partners you must keep to it.

Take the 3-hour brand sprint challenge

The 3-hour brand sprint challenge was created by Jake Knapp from Google Ventures. The aim of this challenge is to create a simple and clear brand voice for your business in 3 hours. To complete this challenge, you have to go through these exercises:

  • 20-year Roadmap which shows what you think your company will be doing 20 years from now.
  • What, How, Why which explains why your company exists and what you do.
  • Top 3 Values which explains your most important values.
  • Top 3 Audiences which shows your most important targets as a brand.
  • Personality Sliders to define the style and attitude of your brand.
  • Competitive Landscape to see how your brand compares to other brands.

To carry out this challenge, you need key officers of your business like:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who must be present.
  • Co-founder
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Head of marketing
  • Head of product or design

Among these officers, one of them will be the decider as you go through the process. You can follow the link above to get more details about the 3-hour brand sprint challenge.


Defining your brand voice will affect how your business functions. It also helps you connect better with your audience and turn them to your brand evangelists.

Define your brand voice today and take your business to the next level.

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