Whitney Danhauer

Spin Sucks Question: Tips for Creating a Brand Voice

By: Whitney Danhauer | April 5, 2019 | 
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brand voiceWhoever handles the MoonPie Twitter account is, in my opinion, a genius.

They have one of the most distinctive brand voices around, all because of their hilariously weird Twitter account.

Not exactly what you’d expect from a century old brand that sells a Southern dessert specialty.

But it took until 2017 for the brand to take off with a personality of its own.

In August 2017, Hostess tweeted out a picture declaring its Hostess Golden Cupcake the “official cupcake of the eclipse”.

Instead of ignoring the tweet or responding with some sort of rant, the brand simply retweeted with the reply, “Lol ok”.

No punctuation. No debate. Just a very sarcastic—and to the point—remark.

Their one tweet flew past the Hostess post, garnering over half a million likes.

The reason? Its personality drew people to the brand.

When we follow a company on social media, we want to know there’s a personality behind it.

But, how do you capture brand voice?

It’s a tough job.

MoonPie’s approach probably wouldn’t work for everyone.

But that doesn’t mean your brand has to be dull and boring.

Every brand should cultivate a unique personality to engage with customers and prospects on social.

Otherwise we’re back to being like robots.

And nobody likes robots. (Besides the Jetsons. They had a robot maid and I, for one, would take one of those in a heartbeat.)

But because I’m always up for tips on creativity, I turned to our Spin Sucks Community for this week’s #SpinSucksQuestion:

What tips or ideas would you give to new communications professionals about developing a unique brand voice for their organization?

As always, your answers didn’t disappoint.

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

Melissa Wallace thinks consistency is the key to brand voice:

CONSISTENCY! The voice does not work unless everyone is using it properly. Develop one that works for every team, and create a guideline/book as a reference.

Matt Batt had similar thoughts:

It’s so obvious, but you need to be authentic (in good and bad times) when it comes to your brand voice. Another big piece of sustaining “brand voice” is consistency. Too many times, we hear a different tone and personality on social profiles. While it’s hard to balance with multiple owners, there needs to be a brand guide to help keep all owners in sync.

Company Values

Imogen Hitchcock believes a brand voice should align with company values:

Whatever the brand voice, it needs to be in sync with the company’s values and purpose. While people want to hear from organizations, they also want that interaction to be genuine.

Dave Johnson agreed:

Make sure it (brand voice) is aligned with your promise. Brands are built by establishing a clear promise to benefit customers and then communicating that promise in a compelling, memorable way.

Is Your Brand a Hero, Creator, or Outlaw?

Chris Bolton believes it’s all about the brand persona:

Create a persona for your brand so you can imagine who is talking when you create copy.

Tersia Landsberg was thinking along the same lines:

Following the brand persona—create a brand “dictionary” (i.e., a list of adjectives your brand uses). Creating template scenarios is also a fun activity. What would you say in a crisis? For an exciting announcement? For a boring, but necessary update to stakeholders or employees? 

Our own Martin Waxman, likes to start with brand archetypes:

If you know the type of character your brand is, that helps you develop your brand personality and voice. Consider your company story, and the part your brand plays. Are they the hero that swoops in to save the day? A jokester that lightens tension with comedy? An outlaw that sets its own rules? Or a wise, all knowing sage? Some brands use more than one archetype to develop their personality. 

The Importance of Authenticity

When it comes to creating a unique brand voice, Shane Carpenter is a big believer in authenticity:

Authenticity is key, so a brand voice should be an extension of a company’s culture and its values. Companies who use the terms culture and values as window dressing, or who sometimes act contrary to this, will have a hard time time with brand voice. Companies who live their culture and values will find this process much easier.

Creating a Brand Voice

No matter how you create your company’s brand voice, just make sure you do, that it flows from your culture, and stick with it.

There’s nothing more important in terms of your identity in the regional/national/global marketplace.

How did your organization create their brand voice?

Feel free to answer in the comments!

About Whitney Danhauer


Whitney is living in Central Kentucky with her husband, Michael and her daughter, Evie Rose. She's an avid reader, an even more avid movie watcher, and loves nothing more than a well-placed pop culture reference. By day she writes about all things communications for Spin Sucks, by night she writes about whatever she wants. Her first novel, Good Riddance, was released in October of 2015.