It is Time to Speak Out
Your company’s voice, spoken right, communicates your brand loud and clear. Discovering and conveying that true voice is an ongoing process that flexes as your company flexes. It is the foundation for the building of a strong brand that resonates with your audience. And it is the cornerstone of all successful marketing campaigns.
For most organizations, content does not receive the concentrated effort it deserves because it generally falls somewhere between the cracks of marketing and design. After the draft is written internally, it is many times sent to outsiders to edit to gain a measure of objectivity. The reason? These drafts often reflect the internal struggles many companies face when striving to articulate their own stories and find their voice in the market.
Your Voice is an Amazing Asset
An authentic company voice is a carefully integrated blend of content, brand and tone. Prospects and customers hear that “voice” and construct their sense of your organization’s identity around what they hear. The ability for them to hear what you want them to hear is critical to the health of any organization’s brand as a well-defined voice creates an intangible, but reverberating, echo of who you are and what you do. The key is for what you say to be credible. The worst thing you could do is try to sound like something you are not. More importantly, if your company does not define your own unique corporate voice, your competitors and customers will define it for you. Your potential asset then becomes a liability.
Is the Medium the Message?
Today content marketing has caught on as never before. It’s popularity has opened up a tremendous opportunity for you to get your message out. However, with this opportunity comes a much greater responsibility to get your message right – and to tailor that message for each medium in which it is presented. The voice used on your website, print materials, outbound marketing campaigns and social media should all have an underlying, consistent theme – but the tone for each may vary per medium (more formal on thought leadership vehicles like whitepapers , more informal on some social media platforms, like Twitter).
Voice is an adjective that describes your organization
“Tone” is the particular personality trait that intrinsically defines your organization.Your tone can make you stand out from competitors, communicate efficiently and effectively with your audience and broadcast your brand’s personality. To help you discover your tone, think about who your customer is, what you want to communicate to them and how you want to communicate with them (channels). And ask them who they think you are.
Practice Makes Perfect
Attached is a simple exercise to get you started in defining your organization’s voice by uncovering the words that your constituents feel best describe your company. It will take a participant less than 5 minutes to complete. Distribute it to a number of people throughout your company and to a few customers, prospects and vendors to capture each group’s perception of your organization.
Once you have gathered all the descriptive words review them carefully and record where there is correlation and disconnection. Drop out the duplicates, but track how many times they showed up. Then focus on the remaining words and select 3 to 5 that you think would best represent your organization to its stakeholders.
What emerges from this exercise can not only help your organization massage or reshape its overall content, but could also serve as the foundation of your most authentic, powerful voice. This may be a values and vision- driven exercise. Your values and vision drive what you do and why you do it. Your voice will reinforce the story you tell about your company and its products in a way that truly connects with both your external and internal audience. After all, they will have helped define it.
At Steelsmith Group, we are experts at guiding companies through to the creation of their unique voice and clear points of view. We can help you tap into your imagination, and your stakeholders to let the ideas flow. Then we assist you in arranging these ideas in a logical written sequence designed to strengthen and underscore your brand.