Last week, we began our series on creating a brand voice for your salon or spa. In Part 1, we uncovered why it's important to pinpoint your salon's or spa's brand voice to help ensure you're marketing your company effectively. After all is said and done, there is still one question that remains when it comes to establishing a consistent and aspirational tone... how do I find my brand voice?
A quick Google search on this question will bring up a plethora of advice on how to find your brand voice. Unfortunately, a lot of the advice is… well, a bit wishy washy. That’s why we want to share with you the most straightforward and effective way to finding your brand voice – developing user personas.
What are user personas?
User personas are profiles companies develop of their target customers through extensive customer research. Although the people featured in user personas are indeed hypothetical, when user personas are made effectively, they function as an accurate representation of your real customers.
So, what is the relationship between developing user personas and developing your company’s brand voice? The short answer is that if you know who your target customers are – and what their needs, wants, and concerns are – you can better reflect these considerations in your brand voice.
Your goal, therefore, shouldn’t be to find any old brand voice. Your goal should be to create a unique brand voice your particular customers embrace.
Finding a brand voice, after all, isn’t just a cut-and-dry process of arbitrarily deciding that a certain voice “suits” your company. Your brand voice needs to authentically connect with your customers and keep them engaged.
Why? Take a look at the following stats about branding and engagement:
- 59% of people take into account a brand’s “authenticity of content” when deciding whether to follow a brand or not.
- 45% of people said that they will unfollow brands on social media because they engage in too much self-promotion.
- Only 1 in 3 consumers believe their favorite brand understands them.
These statistics tell us three major things about brand voice:
- Authenticity matters: In order for people to trust your brand voice, you need to be authentic in your communications, and find a voice that your customers identify with and believe genuinely represents them.
- Not understanding brand voice has consequences: You can’t expect people to feel engaged when all you do is talk about your brand – your brand voice should show that your customers are at the heart of your company.
- You can use brand voice to set your brand apart: If consumers have so little belief that they favorite brands understand them, developing a brand voice that prioritizes understanding customers’ needs will make you stand out among your competitors.
This is precisely why developing user personas is the most effective way to find an authentic and thoughtful brand voice that uniquely taps into the consciousness of your customer base.
How do I create user personas?
The very foundation by which user personas are created is based on real-life data about your customer base. As Joyce Chou’s guide to creating user personas highlights, in order for your user personas to be authentic, you need to gather data about your customers through such means as surveys, interviews, focus groups, and analysis of web analytics.
Researching your customer base will allow you to pinpoint “patterns and trends among your customers,” so that you can develop comprehensive and detailed user personas relevant to your business. Once you have created your user personas, you can ground your brand voice in the insights revealed by them.
For example, if social consciousness is a common trait you identify in your user personas, consider infusing this into your brand voice by occasionally posting about social issues relevant to your brand. Conversely, if your user personas tend to be more conservative and strait-laced, that tells you that it’s probably best to stay clear of mentioning any social issues.
Just a quick word of advice – whatever brand voice you decide on, make sure it remains consistent throughout all channels of communication. Lack of consistency is a problem many companies face with their brand voice, as it causes them to become “disjointed, unreliable and divided so much that it confuses customers, clients, employees, and even the executive team.”
So, what should you do when you find your brand voice veering off course? Simply refer back to your user personas, which will give you a refresher about who your ideal customers are, and how you can connect with them through your brand voice.
While the development of your brand voice is dependent on a number of considerations, user personas can assist you in finding the right brand voice for your company – and, of course, your customers.
As you have learned, developing an authentic brand voice for your company does matter. A strong brand voice will have a significant impact on your customer engagement levels and branding as a whole, so it is essential for your company to take the time to develop one that skillfully connects your brand with your customers.
The most effective way to find your brand voice is to develop user personas, as by their very nature, user personas reflect real, research-based insights about your customers.
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