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GatherContent
August 2019
How to build
a brilliant
brand voice
La Pope
I’m Lauren Pope
I’m a freelance content strategist.
You can ?nd me at @la_pope or lapope.com
Hello!
Three adjectives
in the brand
book?
La Pope
Human
Dynamic
Innovative
La Pope
Human
Dynamic
Innovative
La Pope
That’s a missed
opportunity.
La Pope
“
Which brands do you think
have a brilliant voice?
?
La Pope
What makes
them brilliant?
La Pope
What makes a brilliant brand voice?
A brilliant brand voice needs to be:
1. Differentiated: distinct from
anyone else, especially
competitors/comparators
2. Authentic: feels natural and
sounds like your brand
3. Appropriate: re?ects your
audience and how they want
to be spoken to
4. Readable: anyone can read
and understand it
La Pope
Readability and
creativity aren’t
mutually exclusive.
Image credit: DDB
How do you get
there?
La Pope
A case study
The facets of a brilliant brand voice
1. Personality: characteristics
and qualities embodied
2. Tone: feelings or moods
conveyed
3. Rhythm: pace and pattern
4. Vocabulary: words used
La Pope
1. Personality
Personality draws on the values,
mission or purpose, and translates
them into matching characteristics.
It’s the overall impression that
people should take away when they
read or hear your voice.
La Pope
BrewDog:
Passionate
Independent
Punk
GOV.UK
Open
Neutral
Fair
1. Personality
GOV.uk: open, fair
La Pope
How to ?nd your
personality
How we did it
To draw out the
Samaritans personality
we ran a workshop with
stakeholders from across
the charity, including:
● a mass card sorting
exercise
● discussion of the
personality of the
brand
● A character description: ‘Think of that person you
liked right away...’
● A perfect acronym:
○ Con?dent
○ Approachable
○ Real
○ Empowering
● Explanation and examples to go with the adjectives
What we came up with
What we came up with
Con?dent
From the way we speak, you can
tell we know who we are and
that we’re comfortable with it.
That gives our voice a quiet
con?dence and strength. We
have a lot of expertise, and we
speak about those topics in a
practical way that helps others.
Example: Instagram’s changes
are good progress, but we need
to do more
We welcome Instagram’s
commitment to remove graphic
self-harm content – it’s a great
step forward. But it’s not
enough. We need to do much
more if we want to keep
vulnerable people safe online.
2. Tone
There’s a spectrum of strength,
?avour, and texture but it’s all still
coffee.
Tone is how you achieve a similar
spectrum, while still preserving your
overall brand voice.
La Pope
2. Tone
La Pope
How to ?nd your
tones
In the same workshop we got our stakeholders to:
● work on empathy maps for different personas
- from callers to politicians
● imagine a scenario involving that persona and
write an email to them
● note their tone and how they achieved it
How we did it
● Four main tones that could cover all audiences:
○ Collaborating
○ Motivating
○ Supporting
○ Thanking
● Tips on what tone to use and when
● Examples showing how to achieve that tone
What we came up with
What we came up with
Collaborating
Who is this tone for? Policy makers, politicians, researchers, press, major
donors and corporate/strategic partners.
When do we use it? When we need to make a connection and work together
toward a common good.
How does our voice shift?
● More expert - because we’re dealing with people who value our experience, and
we need to show how valuable and innovative our work is.
● More bold - because we’re con?dent and at ease with our expertise we can be
brave in what we say.
● More practical - we’ll make recommendations and suggestions, but it’s still rooted
in empathy for both our callers and the people we’re connecting with.
What we came up with
How you can work with us
Everyone has moments in their life when they struggle to cope. We get a call for
help every six seconds – and we want to be there for every single one, 24 hours
a day. But we can’t do it alone.
It’s only thanks to our local, regional and national partnerships that our services
can reach the right people, in the right places, at the right time.
Take our award-winning partnership with Network Rail, which has seen
thousands of frontline train staff receive life-changing training and support.
From transport operators to building societies, universities to high street stores,
we’ve built mutually bene?cial partnership programmes that are making a huge
difference to people when they need us most.
Get in touch to see what we can do together.
Provide
evidence
Show expertise
Don’t be
modest
Remember
what matters
3. Rhythm
The pace and pattern of your voice.
Your rhythm enhances your
personality and your tone
La Pope
Oatly:
Offbeat
Jarring
Penhaligons:
Lilting
Melodic
3. Rhythm
La Pope
Sentence pattern
Oatly
////////
/
////
////
///////
//
/////////////////////
Penhaligons
/////////////
////
////////////////
/////
////////
/////
/////////
La Pope
4. Vocabulary
The words you use (or don’t use).
La Pope
Hendricks:
Eccentric
Unusual
Monzo:
Simple
Colloquial
4. Vocabulary
La Pope
How do you
make it stick?
La Pope
How do you make it stick?
● Don’t let guidelines die in a PDF on a shared drive
● Find a way to make them spread that works for
your organisation…
○ a printed book
○ a wiki
○ a Slackbot
○ stickers
○ Posters
● ...above all training and champions.
● Creating the guidelines in a collaborative
workshop gave everyone a sense of ownership
and helped create champions
● We ran training sessions with lots of writing
practice and feedback
● Voice training will be part of the induction for
new staff
How we did it
In conclusion
? If you’ve just got a list of three adjectives in the brand
book, you’re missing a big opportunity.
? A great band voice should be authentic, differentiated
and appropriate your audience but, above all, it should
be readable.
? To create your voice, make sure you think about the
personality, tone, rhythm and vocabulary.
? Personality is a constant but tone shifts for different
audiences and situations
? Run training sessions and create champions
La Pope
Any questions ?
You can ?nd me at
? lauren@lapope.com
? lapope.com
? medium.com/@la_pope
Thanks!

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How to build a brilliant brand voice

  • 1. GatherContent August 2019 How to build a brilliant brand voice La Pope
  • 2. I’m Lauren Pope I’m a freelance content strategist. You can ?nd me at @la_pope or lapope.com Hello!
  • 3. Three adjectives in the brand book? La Pope
  • 7. “ Which brands do you think have a brilliant voice? ? La Pope
  • 9. What makes a brilliant brand voice? A brilliant brand voice needs to be: 1. Differentiated: distinct from anyone else, especially competitors/comparators 2. Authentic: feels natural and sounds like your brand 3. Appropriate: re?ects your audience and how they want to be spoken to 4. Readable: anyone can read and understand it La Pope
  • 10. Readability and creativity aren’t mutually exclusive. Image credit: DDB
  • 11. How do you get there? La Pope
  • 13. The facets of a brilliant brand voice 1. Personality: characteristics and qualities embodied 2. Tone: feelings or moods conveyed 3. Rhythm: pace and pattern 4. Vocabulary: words used La Pope
  • 14. 1. Personality Personality draws on the values, mission or purpose, and translates them into matching characteristics. It’s the overall impression that people should take away when they read or hear your voice. La Pope
  • 16. How to ?nd your personality
  • 17. How we did it To draw out the Samaritans personality we ran a workshop with stakeholders from across the charity, including: ● a mass card sorting exercise ● discussion of the personality of the brand
  • 18. ● A character description: ‘Think of that person you liked right away...’ ● A perfect acronym: ○ Con?dent ○ Approachable ○ Real ○ Empowering ● Explanation and examples to go with the adjectives What we came up with
  • 19. What we came up with Con?dent From the way we speak, you can tell we know who we are and that we’re comfortable with it. That gives our voice a quiet con?dence and strength. We have a lot of expertise, and we speak about those topics in a practical way that helps others. Example: Instagram’s changes are good progress, but we need to do more We welcome Instagram’s commitment to remove graphic self-harm content – it’s a great step forward. But it’s not enough. We need to do much more if we want to keep vulnerable people safe online.
  • 20. 2. Tone There’s a spectrum of strength, ?avour, and texture but it’s all still coffee. Tone is how you achieve a similar spectrum, while still preserving your overall brand voice. La Pope
  • 22. How to ?nd your tones
  • 23. In the same workshop we got our stakeholders to: ● work on empathy maps for different personas - from callers to politicians ● imagine a scenario involving that persona and write an email to them ● note their tone and how they achieved it How we did it
  • 24. ● Four main tones that could cover all audiences: ○ Collaborating ○ Motivating ○ Supporting ○ Thanking ● Tips on what tone to use and when ● Examples showing how to achieve that tone What we came up with
  • 25. What we came up with Collaborating Who is this tone for? Policy makers, politicians, researchers, press, major donors and corporate/strategic partners. When do we use it? When we need to make a connection and work together toward a common good. How does our voice shift? ● More expert - because we’re dealing with people who value our experience, and we need to show how valuable and innovative our work is. ● More bold - because we’re con?dent and at ease with our expertise we can be brave in what we say. ● More practical - we’ll make recommendations and suggestions, but it’s still rooted in empathy for both our callers and the people we’re connecting with.
  • 26. What we came up with How you can work with us Everyone has moments in their life when they struggle to cope. We get a call for help every six seconds – and we want to be there for every single one, 24 hours a day. But we can’t do it alone. It’s only thanks to our local, regional and national partnerships that our services can reach the right people, in the right places, at the right time. Take our award-winning partnership with Network Rail, which has seen thousands of frontline train staff receive life-changing training and support. From transport operators to building societies, universities to high street stores, we’ve built mutually bene?cial partnership programmes that are making a huge difference to people when they need us most. Get in touch to see what we can do together. Provide evidence Show expertise Don’t be modest Remember what matters
  • 27. 3. Rhythm The pace and pattern of your voice. Your rhythm enhances your personality and your tone La Pope
  • 30. 4. Vocabulary The words you use (or don’t use). La Pope
  • 32. How do you make it stick? La Pope
  • 33. How do you make it stick? ● Don’t let guidelines die in a PDF on a shared drive ● Find a way to make them spread that works for your organisation… ○ a printed book ○ a wiki ○ a Slackbot ○ stickers ○ Posters ● ...above all training and champions.
  • 34. ● Creating the guidelines in a collaborative workshop gave everyone a sense of ownership and helped create champions ● We ran training sessions with lots of writing practice and feedback ● Voice training will be part of the induction for new staff How we did it
  • 35. In conclusion ? If you’ve just got a list of three adjectives in the brand book, you’re missing a big opportunity. ? A great band voice should be authentic, differentiated and appropriate your audience but, above all, it should be readable. ? To create your voice, make sure you think about the personality, tone, rhythm and vocabulary. ? Personality is a constant but tone shifts for different audiences and situations ? Run training sessions and create champions La Pope
  • 36. Any questions ? You can ?nd me at ? lauren@lapope.com ? lapope.com ? medium.com/@la_pope Thanks!
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