What your company says and how it says it are extremely important as you engage with prospects. If you’re not “speaking” to them in a way that’s actually representative of your company and who it is, you run the risk of confusing and disappointing them.
What is Brand Voice & Why It’s Important
Your company’s brand voice is an expression of your company’s personality. Brand voice can be conveyed through words, tone of voice, and even images.
Brand voice shouldn’t be confused with brand identity, though there is some crossover between the two. Brand voice is how you articulate your brand identity.
A brand voice ensures your company is communicating consistently with everyone and that there are no surprises as prospects become familiar with it.
For healthcare tech marketers, creating an appropriate and engaging brand voice guides prospects to have the right perception of your company.
5 Steps to Building Your Brand’s Voice
1. Determine Company Values
Your company’s values are a big part of what’s behind its personality. How can you communicate effectively about your company without a firm grasp of the attributes it holds most important? Is your company innovative? Passionate? Scrappy? Fun? Socially conscious?
Prospects care about what your company does and what it’s about. They’re interested in doing business with companies they can feel good about.
In developing a brand voice, figure out what your company is about. Profit, though important to any business, shouldn’t be your first answer.
Creating marketing content through the lens of your company values will play a big role in creating authentic messaging that resonates with your ideal customer.
Pro Tip: Mission statements are a great place to turn to learn about your company’s values.
Every few years it’s a good idea to revisit your mission statement and make sure it’s still relevant. Remember: times change, customers’ values and expectations evolve, and even your company’s goals change over time.
2. Define Your Ideal Customer
Modern marketing best practices center around reaching your company’s ideal customer, and not just a broad target market.
That’s where having a thorough buyer persona comes in handy. A buyer persona is a semi-fictitious profile of exactly who your ideal customer is. It takes a deep dive into their attributes and what makes them tick to give a complete understanding of them as a person.
With a buyer persona in hand, you can determine how you speak to your prospect -- word choice and tone. You’re not going to talk to an upper-level hospital executive the same way you would to a nurse in a pediatrician’s office.
Resource: Don’t have a buyer persona? Download our free Ultimate Buyer Persona Guide for Healthcare Technology.
3. Conduct a Content Audit
In moving forward to define your brand voice, take a look at what it has been.
Chances are your company has a small library of marketing materials. Each piece communicated a message. Get familiar with how you’ve said things in the past:
- What tone did you use?
- Are there specific words that keep popping up?
- To the best of your knowledge, were there words or phrases that you deliberately stayed away from?
- Were there images used that captured the essence of your company’s personality?
You can extend this review to posts on your company’s social media channels. Consider:
- Which posts that garnered attention -- positive or negative.
- What made your posts unique?
- How did you format posts?
- Which social media platforms did you find success on?
Taking stock of what your brand’s voice was -- or currently is -- is a springboard for developing or refining what it will be. Perhaps there are some elements that can be carried over or completely scuttled?
4. See What Your Competition is Saying ... Then Don’t Say That
Your company is unique. Your brand voice should be, too. The content you produce should not sound like the proverbial “other guy.”
Sounding like your competition only tells prospects that your company is really no different.
Similar to a content audit for your company, spend some time with your competition’s marketing materials:
- Are there messages that resonate?
- Were there any epic messaging fails you can learn from?
- Are there words/phrases used consistently that you can tactfully respond to or avoid using?
5. Create a Style Book
Pulling all your research together from the previous steps, healthcare tech marketers can create a style guide -- a master document that details exactly how your brand says things and the personality it portrays. Your style guide should:
- Provide a description of your brand voice/company personality
- Single out key words/phrases to use
- Note words/phrases not to use
- Offer formatting guidelines (Think “and” vs. “&”)
- Show examples of using brand voice
Style guides can also contain direction for visual elements that your company uses, such as colors, fonts, primary and secondary logo usage, and more.
Pro Tip: Your new style guide should not just be something reserved for your company’s sales and marketing departments. There’s value in making it available to all employees -- it ensures brand voice consistency at all levels.
Brand Voice: A Work in Progress
Developing a brand voice should never be viewed as a one-time undertaking.
Just like company mission statements, brand voice should be evaluated regularly. What works now in how you’re articulating messages to prospects might not later on.
Your company and its customers will change over time. Staying on top of how and what your company says to prospects should evolve, too.
Start developing your brand voice today by creating your persona!