By Mark Welsh
No offense to most brand voices but you wouldn’t want to sit next to them at a dinner party.
Bland, monotonous, and frequently drunk, this cacophony of droning dullards suffers from what Doctors call “Generic Voice Syndrome.” Talk about a squandered opportunity to forge a valuable connection with their audiences. They should be flogged and banned from dinner parties for life.
Brand voice is a powerful communicator of a company’s personality. Done right it slices through the clutter to win hearts and minds. Done wrong it sends everyone rushing for earplugs. Prefer the winning of hearts and minds strategy? Clear your throat and take my advice on how to...
TEACH YOUR BRAND VOICE TO SING
in 5 tuneful steps
Note: All examples are culled from recent Mark Welsh Creative projects and collaborations.
1. WORK ON YOUR PERSONALITY
Despite abundant evidence to the contrary you can’t have a voice without a personality.
Brands are like people, memorable or forgettable depending on their personality. Define your key attributes and use these to shape a personality and voice that people like and remember.
TuneCore is the world’s premium music distribution company. For the global brand guide Mark distilled the brand personality into 5 attributes
2. READ YOUR AUDIENCE
Look to your own audience for brand voice inspiration, not at your competitors.
Get to the heart and mind of the matter. Learn what drives and inspires your audience, listen to how they talk, and craft a distinctive voice that actually connects with their dreams and beliefs.
Mark Welsh Creative developed a voice for TuneCore that mirrors the brand personality (above) and taps into the emotional mindset of independent musicians.
3. BE COHERENT
A confident brand voice migrates from platform-to-platform with nary a hiccup or belch.
Keep your voice consistent across all facets of your communications, from website and manifesto to social media, print, video, and even business cards.
In collaboration with Design Army, Mark gave the fashion optical company, Georgetown Optician a witty and irreverent voice with strong calls to action. From the award-winning video campaign to the company's Instagram, website, and print campaigns, the brand combines bold, provocative language and great design to catch the eye and hold it.
4. WATCH YOUR TONE
Tone is what makes people like us, or not.
Decide what your brand tone is and isn’t – witty vs. funny, earnest vs. ironic, warm vs. cool - and cement it in your brand guide.
Net Generation is the USTA’s new youth tennis platform. As part of an initiative to grow tennis at the grass roots level, MWC developed a welcoming, empowering, inclusive, and heroic brand tone that speaks to a broad audience of schools, P.E. providers, and coaches nationwide.
5. SPEAK UP!
Small company or behemoth brand, use bold, provocative language to catch and hold the eye.
Cafiero Select is a NYC homeware store and design firm with an ironic, irreverent voice. The company’s marketing comprises social media and e-mail. As guest editor Mark developed a topical and controversial newsletter that offers tips on surviving Apocalyptic times with “Armageddon chic” décor.
Mark Welsh is an experienced writer/brand builder who specializes in identity and voice. He has devised distinct brand voices for Jonathan Adler, Bloomingdale’s, Sephora, POPSUGAR, west elm, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and many more.