While a brand will always be as effective as the product or service portfolio it represents, smart marketing decisions can still help elevate your business. Whether you’re a graphic designer, an art director or someone looking for branding advice, developing your business’ brand voice is of utmost importance.
According to Small Biz Genius, presenting a brand consistently across all platforms will increase its profit margin by up to 23%. Additionally, 89% of customers remain loyal to brands that share their values, making the creation of your brand’s voice and personality highly recommended.
With that, let’s take a look at some of the most successful examples of brand voice design on the market today.
What is a Brand Voice?
Let’s talk about brand voice for a second in order to get a better understanding of the following brands.
Brand voice goes beyond graphic design, web content or PR – it represents the entirety of your brand’s values and communication style. It covers everything from the way you write blog posts and social media updates, to the way your taglines and calls to action are written.
Samantha Nicole, Head of UX at Alltopreviews.com spoke on the topic recently: “A well-designed brand voice can often make or break a business. Make sure to treat the topic of brand voice carefully and define different aspects with careful consideration. From wording standardization to copywriting rules to follow, each element will serve to form a clear image of what your brand stands for.”
Crafting a unique and appealing brand voice for your business is essential in 2020, where customer UX expectations have evolved to demand certain personalization. Some of the noteworthy points to keep in mind when brand voice is concerned:
- Brand voice differentiates your business from others in the same industry better than any form of marketing
- Brand voice is omnipresent, whether you actively communicate with a customer or post an update on your website
- Brand voice is uniform, meaning that it should be equally used across different platforms and channels
- Brand voice determines how loyal your customers are and how appealing your brand will be to new leads
As a famous American coffee company and coffeehouse chain, Starbucks has found its way to millions of satisfied customers and fans across the globe. While the quality of their products cannot be overstated, the secret to their success lies in a well-measured tone of voice and brand personality design.
Starbucks aims to draw a fine line between functional and expressive in their brand voice, offering both informative and personalized written content to its users. Different types of writing are used in digital and printed media, as well as in the events where special promotions or loyalty programs are advertised. This makes Starbucks highly appealing from the casual consumer’s standpoint, as well as a die-hard fan, given its laid-back approach to brand voice design.
What can we learn from Starbucks?
It’s not about how corporate or professional you are – it’s about how well you know your audience and how you want to be perceived.
By now, we’ve all heard of Uber, a ride-hailing company based around peer-to-peer ride-sharing which quickly took the world by storm. However, while their logistical success speaks for itself, the true key to Uber’s success lies in its intuitive marketing and brand personality.
Uber has made it its mission to remain clear, direct and consistent across all platforms in order to make its value proposition understandable and approachable. Given the nature of its services, Uber has created an inviting, friendly and trustworthy brand voice which invites drivers and passengers alike. This has resulted in personalized copywriting across their web, social and smartphone app presence, as well as the plethora of calls to action contained within.
What can we learn from Uber?
The more trust your products or services demand from the users, the more important it is to have a friendly brand voice.
As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of refreshing beverages, Coca-Cola needs no introduction. From humble beginnings, this company has managed to create a simple yet highly intuitive brand voice based around emotional triggers and the concept of happiness.
What makes Coca-Cola a global leader in its industry is its reliance on family values, positive energy, inclusivity and the simple emotion called “happiness”. This eases the task of graphic designers and video producers since the baseline for each marketing campaign is strictly set on “happiness” at all times. As a result, the company’s products can now be found and easily enjoyed world-wide, regardless of beliefs, religion, and lifestyle or professional background.
What can we learn from Coca-Cola?
Choosing to focus your brand voice on an international, inclusive design element such as an emotion will always work in terms of attracting different demographics.
As a multinational computer technology company situated in California, Apple has focused its mission statement around accessibility and user-friendly design choices. Its brand voice is unique in its simplicity and approachability yet it is not dumbed down in any way – which is why it works.
Given its focus on minimalistic design, every word chosen by Apple’s marketing team has to make an impact and complement the marketed device perfectly. In its own way, this effectively raises the exclusivity and quality factor of the device in question, allowing the company to raise its price point. This has created a unique brand voice design for Apple which invites the user to invest in a lifestyle decision and use its products daily.
What can we learn from Apple?
The feeling of exclusivity creates a buyer’s urge, which leads to higher demand, easier access to new markets and increased revenue for the brand.
With its charismatic and influential CEO Jeff Bezos at the helm, Amazon has garnered global dominance in the eCommerce industry bar none. And while no one can dispute its shipping and delivery efficiency, Amazon is also very successful in terms of ongoing marketing and brand voice efforts.
Given the nature of eCommerce and the inherent trust it requires from buyers and sellers, Amazon has focused its brand voice toward just that. Its mission is one of mutual understanding and trust between the parties which use its platform, inviting both salespeople and global customers to its website. In doing so, Amazon has cemented its position on the market and will continue to dominate the online sphere for a long time to come.
What can we learn from Amazon?
Addressing your leads as equals and building a trusting relationship with them will increase your chances of retaining loyal followers, brand advocates and future leads.
What we can learn from Harley-Davidson, a well-known motorcycle manufacturer based in Wisconsin, is that sometimes, in-your-face brand voice design works wonders. Harley-Davidson provides a very specific assortment of products to its users, and as such, its brand voice is designed to reflect that.
The elements contained within its brand personality revolve around freedom, masculinity, proactivity, bravery and other terms associated with riding a motorcycle. Instead of pushing a sales pitch to its audience, Harley-Davidson simply showcases how “cool”, “independent” and “badass” a person can be while riding their motorcycles. Nailing such an approach can be challenging without veering into derogatory or over-the-top, which is why checking out essay writing services reviews, can be highly useful if you want to repeat the Harley-Davidson’s formula.
What can we learn from Harley-Davidson?
Adjust your brand voice to your target audience – don’t be afraid to use informal wording and phrases, let them freely identify with your brand personality.
- Old Spice
As an American brand of male grooming products, Old Spice is best-known for its “Old Spice guy” commercials which transformed the brand’s personality overnight. While its target audience is clearly centered on the male population, Old Spice has decided to use humor, charm and a personalized brand voice.
Some might call Old Spice’s approach absurd and over-the-top; however, their sales charts clearly indicate that the brand voice works – so what’s the big deal? While Old Spice may be of the same quality as other products in its category, what clearly elevates its brand is the emphasis on entertainment. The company has created a highly memorable marketing approach based around lighthearted masculinity and an inviting set of video commercials, adding to its brand voice.
What can we learn from Old Spice?
Taking your brand and product portfolio too seriously might be the wrong approach sometimes – try a lighthearted brand voice tactic instead to gauge audience interests.
As a personal care brand with a strong focus on women’s empowerment and individuality, Dove has a lot resting on its shoulders. In order to encourage its audience to “be themselves”, Dove has adopted a positivistic and soft approach to brand voice design to attract its users.
To match the effects of its products, Dove’s personality and copywriting approach is friendly, encouraging and most-importantly, all-inclusive. Dove’s brand voice is centered on affirmation, belonging, softness and positivity, as well as the feeling of self-confidence within its user base. This has given Dove the ability to rise to the top of the self-care and cosmetics industry by playing its cards right globally.
What can we learn from Dove?
The inspiration for your brand voice and choice of lingo can easily come from the product/service and its distinct characteristics – audit your portfolio in detail.
In the age of digital streaming, Spotify has become synonymous with instant access to music, podcasts and other forms of audio media. Given its subject matter, Spotify has crafted a brand voice that speaks to the audience which typically spends time listening to music.
This initiative has resulted in an upbeat brand personality which invites the viewer to join in on the fun and explore its music library. Also helpful is the fact that Spotify is a digital streaming platform, meaning that commitment to its services is a button-press away from new subscribers. Paired with its minimalistic, green-white corporate logo, Spotify manages to use its brand voice to grow a global audience of audio content aficionados quite effectively.
What can we learn from Spotify?
Playing up the benefits of using your product/service such as becoming more energetic or changing the mood is sometimes more valuable than listing concrete features.
Lastly, as a subsidiary of Wrigley Company, Skittles has made a mark on the candy manufacturing industry with its unique approach to brand personality. With a brand slogan that states “taste the rainbow”, Skittles has successfully managed to merge value proposition and memorable design choices into one.
Skittles takes full advantage of the fact that its main product is a rainbow-colored mix of different flavored candies packed into an easy-to-carry bag. The product is designed with convenience, enjoyment, sharing and positivity in mind – values which can be found in the brand voice design in equal measure. Skittles is not shy of pushing its brand voice both to younger and older audiences, ensuring that its name is identified with rainbow-colored candy.
What can we learn from Spotify?
Brands like “Kleenex” and “Skittles” remind us that brand names can become standard terminology for the aforementioned item category – an achievement that leads to global recognition.
Brand Voice – Yay or Nay?
So, the question we can ask at the end of the day is – do you need a brand voice to succeed on the market? If you’re seeking global success, recognition and organic growth, the answer is a unanimous “yes”.
As an elemental part of your brand strategy, brand voice can help differentiate your company in the eyes of potential leads. If you are unsure, you can use a brand voice exercise to determine the best approach to crafting your brand personality and tone of voice.
Take your time and ensure that you are satisfied with the direction for your brand before you go public with a defined voice and personality. Once you go public, the right audience will flock around it and advocate for its legitimacy, quality and appeal to their social circles and beyond.