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Branding Principles 101: Brand Voice

If your brand had a spokesperson, who would it be?

Greta Thunberg? LeBron James? Elon Musk? Rick from Rick and Morty? Elmo? Donald Trump?

Brand Voice describes the tone of your messaging, and should always be consistent. It's a natural part of your brand personality - how do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand?

Is your brand: playful, stern, cautionary, inspiring, sophisticated, technological?

Here are some popular brands that have mastered brand voice:

Their customers reliably associate them with a particular emotion, which is intertwined with their brand look and feel, brand promise, and brand story. Everything that they do in their marketing carries a consistent tone that reinforces the main feeling they want to elicit in their customers and followers.

A great starting point when considering your brand voice is to consider my initial question - think of a hypothetical brand spokesperson. They could be a real life celebrity or a popular cartoon character. Some brands take it one step further and create their own brand mascot characters to represent them so they can be absoloutely precise with how they choose to represent themselves.

CASE STUDY: My Instagram Fail

Recently for fun I’ve been doing a series of Instagram posts using my brand mascot to replicate famous memes. I took down the last one where he was depicted as Pepe the Frog (a popular meme used by far-right trolls) because it doesn’t match my brand values or brand voice, or the personality of the character in general.

I didn’t want to invite any alt-right politically-minded people into my audience, and most importantly, not scare off my existing audience, leaving them to wonder if me, my brand, or my character have values that are out of sync with their expectations and their perception of my character who is a fun, positive, playful, artistic guy who loves pop culture.

The rest are consistent with my branding of the character because they show a consistent brand voice - creative, humorous and capable of any style

Feel free to check out Floob and his friends at

Brand Voice Questionnaire

When considering how to define your brand voice, try to answer these questions:

  1. When people interact with our brand, how do we want them to feel?

  2. What adjectives would we use to describe our brand?

  3. What does our competition sound like/how can we differentiate?

  4. What is another brand with a voice we love?

  5. How do we want to talk about ourselves?

  6. Who do we NOT want to be/what do we want to avoid?

If you’re feeling tired or creatively stuck, try Portent’s brand voice generator, an interactive tool to help you hone in on your voice. Simply answer a series of questions and they’ll guide you to your “voice,” and even offer up examples of copy that captures that type of voice.

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