When you think of your brand’s online voice, what comes to mind? Perhaps it is embodied by the people running your social media accounts, or by the marketing professionals that craft content for your website. In any case, your online brand goes far beyond the logo – and it needs to be nurtured with a robust content marketing strategy.
Digital strategist Luvvie Ajayi used her NMX session to stress the importance of identifying and optimizing brand voice and reputation. Businesses that don’t tend to their online identities risk appearing isolated and disconnected from their audiences.
The process for building or repairing an organization’s online identity begins with an analysis of the current situation: How are people talking about your brand now?
Your logo is not your brand – nor is your website or slogan by themselves. Placing equity in these things alone makes little difference – because your brand is all of these things (and much more.). It’s the whole idea that people have about your personal or professional identity. Ajayi made specific mention of the indirect foundation for branding: Your brand is how others see you, not how you see yourself. Everyone has a brand, and instantly recognizable brands are the most influential.
Consistency helps build your brand
How do you build a strong brand? Consistency. Leave some room for random thoughts or messages, but the bulk of your strategy should be consistent and cohesive. Audiences won’t connect with you if your messaging is scattered. You want to be the voice in that space/niche that people think about. Ajayi built her voice over time, and people now think of her when they think of red velvet or red pumps (both related to her non-profit organization).
Stand out with strong voices
Strong connections are built with strong voices. Your voice is how you stand out – and you can’t fake it. It should be different from everyone else, and authentic to you. Don’t try to copy someone else’s style – it becomes blatantly obvious. Make sure to consider the tone and intentions of your online messaging – sarcasm is far more difficult to identify on Twitter than in person. Ayaji called this the concept of “speaking in 2D” – flat conversations that are unambiguous for the audience.
Ask your followers for ideas
As you build your brand and define your voice, ask your followers for three words that best describe you. Make it a tweet, using the hashtag #3words. If you don’t like what you hear, change the conversation accordingly. Your audience is defining your brand identify for you, so listen to them!
Color matters in branding
Color can make a large impression on your audience, so make sure the colors you use mesh well with your messaging. Looking to present a warm, inviting persona? Use red, orange, or yellow. Want to appear definitive and direct? Try black, dark blue, or brown.
It’s about instant recognition — figure out a signature color, and people will start tying that color to you and your brand. You can train people over time to make the right connection.
Utilize pervasive branding to add another element
URL shorteners offer another opportunity to promote your branding. Ayaji purchased the “luvvie” domain, and TopRank uses the “tprk.us” shortener. Create a united, consistent front across all platforms and resources.
While your audience is the primary driver for brand identity and voice, you can help direct them toward a positive conclusion with these tips. If your brand messaging is conscious, cohesive and consistent, your audience will respond productively.
How have you seen these things make a difference in your brand’s voice?