The other day I took my dog, Hunny, to a dog pawty. She was having a great time… until she wasn’t. Despite her being several yards away from me and surrounded by other dogs, I could distinguish her barks from all the other dogs.
As you already know, dogs and people have individual personalities and therefore communicate in ways that are unique to them. This is how it should be for your brand.
Table of Contents
What is Brand Voice?
Your brand voice is the keystone of the communication between you and your target audience, encapsulating the unique personality and tone that your pet care business uses to interact with your customers. Because each interaction reflects on your brand, these interactions need to remain consistent and recognizable across all platforms your brand uses.
The consistency of your brand voice helps establish a connection with and trust among your audience. Imagine if your friend who is usually casual and cheerful suddenly visited you and spoke intensely like a lawyer in a courtroom. You would feel unsettled, right? Because you have a connection to your friend’s voice. Their word choices – how they tell stories – are unique to them. This is why, when establishing your brand voice, you should try to communicate in a way that’s relatable, engaging, and, most importantly, memorable.
The way your business interacts – from the lingo it uses, and how it connects with your customers – should be unique to YOU. Just like we all have our quirks and charm, your brand should also have its own voice that sets it apart from your competitors.
Why is Brand Voice Important for My Business Anyway?
Having an established brand voice isn’t about sounding “cool” or augmenting your aesthetic. Your brand voice helps your clientele connect and recognize you within the crowd of businesses vying for their attention.
While your brand voice helps your business shine, it is also one of the key components to keeping your customers engaged, happy, and dare I say loyal, to your pet business.
Businesses that use a consistent brand voice build trust and create a strong emotional bond with their customers. When people feel like they’re chatting with an old friend, they’re more likely to stick around and be loyal to you and your business brand.
Let’s break it down with an example. Meet Pam’s Puppy Playhouse. This dog boarding and daycare business knows that boarding a dog is more than just a dog sitting in a kennel all day; They strive to give their guests their very own vacation with enrichment activities, supervised play, and gourmet treats. So, Pam’s Puppy Playhouse adopts a warm and friendly voice, like the front desk attendant who always remembers your name and is so excited to tell you how your dog did during the day when you go to pick him up.
Now, how do brands maintain their voices? It’s all about consistency! In the case of Pam’s Puppy Playhouse, from their website to social media posts, even in the packaging of their gourmet treats, they keep their tone consistent and recognizable. Imagine if you visited their website and were greeted with formal jargon or corporate speak – not so inviting, right?
But hold on to your leash, there’s more to it! Every brand has a target audience – the cool cats and curious kittens they want to attract. Your brand voice should sound different than one of a lawyer. Understanding your audience helps fine-tune your brand’s voice and hit all the right chords.
Finding Your Brand Voice
Now that we’ve talked about the what and the why of brand voices, it’s time to talk about the how. There are 3 crucial steps to identifying and developing your brand voice, to help you authentically stand out from the competition.
1. Understand Who Your Company Is
Identifying your brand voice should be rooted in who your company is and what you stand for. A great place to start when structuring your voice is reviewing your company’s mission statement, goals, and values.
Your mission statement is at the heart of your business. It is the “Why” behind what you do. You want your customers to feel this core essence without you expressly saying it every 3 sentences. When shaping your brand voice, take great care to align your voice with your essence. A misalignment between your brand’s messaging and its mission, goals, and values can lead to confusion and dissonance among consumers.
When a brand voice aligns with a company’s mission, goals, and values, it becomes a powerful tool for differentiation. Consumers are more likely to remember and choose a brand that communicates a compelling story and resonates with their own values.
2. Identify Words and Phrases
A helpful place to start when trying to put your brand voice into words is by listing out words that describe your business, how you want to be perceived by others, and words that encompass your brand’s energy.
For example, when Pam’s Puppy Playhouse did this exercise, Pam’s main business goal was to foster relationships between puppies and people. Some of the words that could best describe her business are:
Warm, Friendly, Inviting, Educational, Personable, Trustworthy
Another great way to put your brand into words is by doing a brand voice chart. A brand voice chart, commonly known as a brand dos and don’ts chart, is a visual representation of brand practices that outlines the guidelines and recommendations for creating, using, and maintaining a consistent brand identity.
For example, if Pam’s Puppy Playhouse were to create a brand voice chart, it might look something like this:
|Personable||We greet each customer like they’re an old friend.||Do call dogs by their name||Ask intimate questions||“Hi, Neo, welcome to Pam’s Playhouse! How are you and Kip today?”|
|Inviting||We believe in helping our customers feel at ease so we try to communicate clearly and naturally.||Speak confidently and without nerves|
|“Adding the luxury shampoo can help Kip with his itchy skin. Is this something you would be interested in today?|
|Educational||We share helpful information to elevate our client’s experience in and out of our facility|
Help owners understand how certain techniques are used to benefit the dog
Show helpful techniques
Talk down to owners or act like you know more than them
Talk down to others
|We love using positive reinforcement because it helps establish a healthy pattern between your pup and the desired action|
A brand voice chart is typically divided into sections that show how a brand’s voice is applied and how it isn’t. This allows the information to be quickly understood for easy implementation.
In the example above, you will notice the Do column includes how the voice characteristic is applied in an encouraged manner. The information in this section should be applicable across all platforms and interactions with customers.
In contrast, the Don’t section of the chart outlines what the brand voice shouldn’t be. These are ways that the brand voice could be misinterpreted or misrepresented which could dilute or distort the brand’s image and inconsistent messaging.
3. Consider your Audience
People love the feeling of connection, which is why you should consider your target audience when determining your brand voice. Consider what your audience values, what their expectations are, and what will resonate with them most.
Your audience is unique to your business. They will have different preferences and nuances than your competitors. Because of this, your brand voice should be distinctly aligned with your audience’s needs. However, this does not mean your brand voice should be a reflection of your audience. Instead, think of your it as a magnet. Your brand voice should attract your audience, not be a copy of your audience.
A great example of a brand that has done this is Wendy’s. Wendy’s made waves circa 2017 when they introduced their sassy brand voice. Long gone were the days of carefully crafted customer service messages. Now they were replaced by hot takes, scathing roasts, and trolling competitors.
With their revamped brand voice, Wendy’s was able to place itself at the forefront of their customer’s minds. While Wendy’s main audience may not list trolling others online as a hobby, they are attracted to the witty roasts and superficial feuds that Wendy’s persona creates online.
By creating a persona that entertained and caught their audience’s attention, Wendy’s brought more eyes onto their brand and created a persona that truly resonates with their audience. Rather than having to shift its brand persona as its audience evolves, it created a strong foundation that doesn’t rely on who its audience is, rather it focuses on positioning itself as an entity that people want to interact with regardless of the audience demographics.
Just as I could discern my dog Hunny’s individual bark among a chorus of others, your pet brand should possess a distinctive voice that resonates uniquely with your audience. Your brand voice is the essence of your communication, reflecting your pet care business’s personality and values.
Consistency in your brand voice establishes a strong connection and trust with your customers, much like the comfort of conversing with an old friend. By maintaining a consistent and relatable tone across all platforms, you reinforce your brand’s identity and create a lasting impact on your audience. Your brand voice serves as a beacon, guiding customers to recognize and engage with your business amidst the sea of competitors.
Remember, just as understanding your dog’s unique characteristics and behaviors enhances your bond, discovering and nurturing your brand’s voice is key to fostering a meaningful connection with your clientele. Through careful alignment with your mission, values, and target audience, your brand voice becomes a powerful tool that not only differentiates you in the marketplace but also solidifies your position in the hearts and minds of your customers.
So, embark on this journey of discovery, craft your brand’s distinct voice, and watch as it becomes the lasting echo that defines and distinguishes your pet care business.