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Does your brand have its own voice?

Your business’s visual identity—which usually includes a logo, color palette and fonts, as well as a pattern and maybe a set of icons—gives your brand a unique personality and separates it from competitors. A strong, cohesive visual identity helps customers know what to expect when they sign up for your service online or visit your storefront. Your brand voice does the same.

While a visual identity gives customers a sense of your business’s personality, how your brand sounds is also an important part of connecting with your audience. At Parkway, we call this messaging and it’s what shapes a brand’s voice.

Just like people, a brand’s personality is made up of character traits. The traits we use to describe a brand are shaped by its values, audience, industry and company culture. In a simplified example, direct-to-consumer healthcare companies like Hims and Hers likely want their voices to portray expertise, reassurance and accessibility. A brand’s voice should be consistent but can adapt to different platforms, changing tone without losing what makes it distinct.

Then, these characteristics are reinforced with deliberate writing.

Word choice. Words with similar definitions don’t always convey the same feelings. Parkway is a reliable partner to our clients; we’d never call ourselves “steadfast” even though a thesaurus lists reliable and steadfast as synonyms.

Grammar. Yes, there are grammar rules, but what those rules are often depends on what industry you’re in and what (if any) style guide that industry follows. Parkway uses the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook because that’s what public relations and journalism follow. The American Bar Association recommends following The Chicago Manual of Style, so lawyers often use it as a starting point. However, rules are made to be broken and strategically opting out of accepted grammar norms can reinforce your messaging.

Together, these elements create a unique voice that helps potential customers understand your brand’s perspective and what makes it different from your competitors.

Once your business has an established brand voice, we highly recommend writing down the specifics of how your business “speaks.” Documented guidelines are useful because consistency builds relationships with customers. When multiple writers are responsible for portraying your brand across channels (social media, thought leadership, testimonials, packaging, etc.) guidelines including your brand’s defining characteristics and how it demonstrates them are essential. Here, it’s helpful to include what your brand is as well as what it isn’t and work that captures your company’s personality really well.

Taylor Flynn Jones / Digital Marketing Manager
Parkway Digital’s digital marketing manager, blends research and analytics experience with strong writing skills to create content for search engines and users alike. She is passionate about optimizing both our work and our processes, which help her as she oversees our content team and digital advertising campaigns.