When you think about a brand, you often think about the aesthetic: the logo, the colors, the imagery they use. But a brand's voice—the personality behind the product or services—is what brings brands from recognizable to loved.
I'm a business coach and brand strategist at vsantos.co, and here I'll share the story of how one of my clients established their brand voice and used it to create a clear message and better communicate how their services would impact their customers. Consider this a guide to help you craft how your brand will "walk and talk."
Start with the why behind your business
The reason for taking the leap into business ownership is often personal.
Warrior Life Code, a lifestyle and wellness brand, had been slowly growing but not seeing deep engagement with their user base—they weren't scaling and were barely breaking even. Why? Because they were unknowingly engaging in a catch-all approach. They wanted to be everything to everyone.
This isn't sustainable: you need to find your target audience. But before you think about your audience (that's your next step), think about why you started your business to begin with. What problem were you solving, and who were you solving it for? We encouraged Warrior Life Code to think back to that moment, and they got to work. They grabbed a piece of paper and physically wrote down why they started their business. From there, we worked on articulating the business purpose, vision, mission, and values—all based on why they entered this space to begin with.
You can do this exercise on your own by asking a few simple questions:
Purpose: Why do you exist?
Vision: What future do you want to help create?
Mission: What are you here to do?
Values: What principles guide your behavior?
With the invigoration of knowing why they started, Warrior Life Code moved on to the next step: figuring out who they are here to serve.
Think about your ideal customer
If you don't know who your customer is, you won't know where to find them or how to speak to them. Knowing your customer helps you understand their pain points and goals to be sure that your product or service meets their needs. Small businesses thrive when they're clear on who they are catering to.
Think about the brands you consistently engage with and purchase from. What made you a loyal customer? It's likely one of two things:
What they sell is exactly what you're looking for.
Something about their messaging connects with you.
Both of those things exist only because the company isn't trying to be everything to everyone. They're speaking to you.
Warrior Life Code began to imagine their ideal customer by combing through the data and purchase behavior of their existing customer base. Through this research, they landed on three key personas—that's the three types of customers who would benefit the most from their services. Each of these segments was at a different stage of their wellness and fitness journey, but they all had common themes: they needed coaching to help them meet their weight-loss journey, they were interested in plant-based nutrition but needed some guidance, and they craved community.
Once they better understood their customers, they were able to redesign their programs to match the needs of each persona, and they were also able to redesign their messaging. They reworked their content and their creative assets across all of their marketing channels to be sure they were speaking to the people who'd benefit from their services the most.
Give your brand a personality
When communicating with your customers, lean in to your brand's personality. If you've done your persona research, your brand's personality and the language that resonates with your customers will match.
The Warrior Life Code personas care about their physical and mental well-being. Their brand personality is upbeat, supportive, and encouraging—with some flair, because their audience is generally younger (25-44). This personality guides how they communicate sales, how often they email their audience, which events to celebrate, what times to engage with them, and how they speak to them across all of their digital channels. It even seeps into the language they use and personality they emit in their workout videos.
Here's a strategy I suggest to my clients: Do any of your customer personas remind you of someone in your life? If so, how would you get them to buy? What words do they use? What tone? Bringing your personas to life in this way can really help you articulate your brand voice.
Test and apply
Once you've identified your brand personality—how you'll walk and talk—put it to the test.
Integrate it into all of your channels and business materials (and even into your product or service) and see how people react to it. As your business grows, your audience will evolve. Revisit your brand personality based on the engagement you see, and course-correct if needed.
But if you've landed on a brand voice that your audience has come to love and recognize, don't fix what isn't broken. In fact, I suggest you print and frame your brand mission, vision, purpose, and values. Yes, frame it! It will help you remember who you're here to serve, why you want to serve them, and how to authentically speak to them.