Embracing Creativity: How Do You Stay Creative?

Embracing Creativity: How Do You Stay Creative?

As a full-service digital marketing agency in Greenville, creativity is our fuel. Each team member brings a unique set of innovative skills to the table, and we celebrate that every day! But, on National Creativity Day, we cheer for the creative personalities in the world just a little bit louder! Learn how we acknowledge, motivate, and inspire all things creative at HighClick Media!

How do you stay creative?

Michelle: My curiosity definitely keeps my creative juices flowing. New experiences, ideas, and connections are the best way for me to see the world from another angle.

Margot: I break the routine, get out in nature, get around other creative people- like the HighClick team- and keep my vision board in front of me!

Richard: I stay creative by constantly finding new things that inspire me or draw my curiosity to understand them better. YouTube and Instagram are my favorite tools to discover new material.

Alana: I get most of my inspiration from my daughter. Kids are super honest and have no filter! Also, social media, web surfing, community exploring, and magazines.

Leah: I stay creative by looking at the inspiration all around me. I always try to keep an open mind so this way when inspiration knocks, I answer!

Kendall: I actively look for inspiration! I use Instagram as a source a lot, but inspiration can really come from anywhere.

What is your earliest memory of being creative?

Margot: Painting clay pieces with my mom!

Richard: As a kid, I can remember on many different family trips, my Dad and I would to go off on side adventures to find something cool to paint, draw, or photograph.

Alana: During my childhood, I used to do a lot of role-playing in the house when it came to my desired career, and I was involved in several artsy things from grade school all the way through high school.

Leah: My earliest memory of being creative is when I was in elementary school. My uncle does construction and when I was younger, I went to one of his job sites and made a makeshift lemonade stand. It was summer and there were a lot of workers outside… Let’s just say little Leah knew how to reach (or choose) a target audience.

Kendall: I remember making my parents presents for Mother’s and Father’s Day when I was pretty young. I made my dad an apron out of bath towels and made my mom a lion out of a hair dryer and more bath towels.

Michelle: My grandma took care of me during the day, and for years we would meet her friends for breakfast daily. While they would sit and chat, I would get grandma’s pen and draw pictures on napkins.

How do you stay creative outside of the office?

Richard: Over the last few years I have developed a passion for music production. My favorite part is visually being able to see the individual layers of a song and understanding all that goes into creating a finished one. I think people often overlook that music is so much more than just clicking play on Spotify.

Alana: Outside of the office, I like decorating with DIY projects whether it’s simple artwork or re-vamping furniture. I also enjoy making little gifts for friends.

Leah: My latest obsession is to refurbish older furniture and home décor and turn it into something modern and beautiful!

Kendall: Lettering and calligraphy are probably my favorite thing to create just for fun.

Michelle: I write, paint, and make music!

Margot: Making fun memories! I like doing things with my family and friends to create an awesome experience that they’ll remember.

What, in your personal life, has influenced you to choose a creative career?

Alana: Generally, people influenced me with my career choice. I enjoy working with people and doing everything in my power to make them happy. It’s part of the whole “making the world a better place” kind of mindset.

Leah: I wanted a career where I could constantly push myself to think outside the box. I don’t like having a cookie cutter lifestyle, and it’s exciting to push the envelope!

Kendall: My senior year in high school I decided to do an art show as my senior project and things just took off from there. I was also always really competitive about coloring better than my older sister.

Michelle: I gravitated towards a creative career because I can’t stand to be bored. When I’m able to create, I never get bored!

Margot: Having been raised with a mom and grandmother who are  EXTREMELY creative encouraged my creativity and imagination growing up so that I can be creative and use that in everything I do.

Richard: My Dad is probably my biggest influence on why I am in a creative career. He definitely sparked the creative side of me at an early age and has helped fuel it ever since.

What is your favorite color? Does this color describe you as a person?

Leah: Hot Pink! Hot pink is meant to radiate warmth, joy, and love for life! Who doesn’t love it?!

Kendall: Definitely green! The color psychology of green doesn’t really match me as a person so much, but it’s still my favorite.

Michelle: Blue and green are my favorite colors! They’re relaxed and easygoing. These colors describe me sometimes, but depending on the moment I could be passionate red, energetic yellow- who knows?

Margot: Purple, and absolutely!  It’s bold, bright, creative, magical and FUN!

Richard: Blue is my favorite color. I would say it describes me because I’m a relaxed person.

Alana: My favorite color is green. Green represents life and makes me feel good as a person.

If you could interview a creative person (past or present), who would that person be and why?

Kendall: Currently, Lauren Hom. I really like her work and she has a very impressive freelance career in lettering. I recently considered signing up for her Passion Project course.

Michelle: Frida Kahlo! She was fearless and honest and bold!

Margot: Walt Disney. He grew up poor, had a spirit of adventure, took big risks, dreamed big, and succeeded despite the failures along his journey. He has created a legacy and improved so many lives along the way. I would love to pick his brain!

Richard: I would like to interview, either Kevin Parker of Tame Impala or the guys in Odesza, because I love their music and would enjoy learning from them both.

Alana: There are several people I love and wish I could interview: Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Beyonce, Anderson Paak, SYD, Shangela, Karl Lagerfeld, and Marc Jacobs.

I want to interview them because I’d like to pick their brains on what drives their creativity and learn what influenced them. I’d also like to know all the objections they’ve overcome and how they’ve managed to remain motivated and disciplined.

Leah: Ellen! She has been knocked down so many times in her personal life and professional career but has still found a way to radiate positivity! Ellen touches the hearts of many and I aspire to be like her every day.

How do you deal with creative blocks?

Michelle: I take a break, and work on something else! It usually gives me a fresh perspective.

Margot: I go for a drive until I no longer know where I am and need to pull out my GPS to get back home.

Richard: I deal with creative blocks by getting outdoors, traveling, and hanging out with friends. I feel like taking your mind off of what your doing helps and also experiencing new things that could spark your creativity is a great way as well.

Alana: I put everything on hold and sing and dance around the house to kinda work off the negative energy.

Leah: I turn up the jams! I sing until I am no longer in my own head. I have found that if I stop overthinking, it is SO much easier to keep those creative juices flowing!

Kendall: Depending on what kind of block I’m dealing with, either research or take a break.

If you could offer one piece of advice for someone who wants to unleash their inner creative genius, what would it be?

Margot: Just go for it, mess up, move forward, and enjoy the journey!

Richard: I guess I would say, don’t be afraid to express whatever creativity you have inside you. If you are interested in trying something new, don’t let other people’s opinions sway you from giving it a go.

Alana: Beware of your outside influences, and ensure that you take advice from those who truly have your best interest at heart by giving you honest feedback regardless if you like what they have to say or not. Stay in touch with your inner child and shine. Last but not least, surround yourself with loving, positive, and supportive people.

Leah: Write every little idea down, no matter how random it is. You never know where a strike of inspiration can lead you!

Kendall: Everything you make is not going to be your best thing. And that is 100% okay.

Michelle: Don’t be afraid of new experiences or making decisions on a whim!

Related Posts

Why Shop Local?

Why Shop Local? It’s become something of a fad for folks to hop on social media and encourage their friends and neighbors to “Shop Local.”

Read More »

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

8 Generation Lead Tips for Small Businesses

8 Lead Generation Tips for Small Businesses

Small businesses have to overcome numerous hurdles before making a name for themselves and ensuring an ever-increasing revenue stream. Naturally, some of the biggest obstacles are generating leads and inspiring loyalty.

At first glance, it seems simple enough – find a market gap and have your business fill it. Customers will flock to you without much effort on your part. In practice, it’s not nearly as effortless.

If you don’t want to be in the 70% of businesses that fail within a decade, you need to ensure that your lead generation tactics are flawless.

Let’s take a look at a few tips and tricks that will help set you up for success:

Start with an Impeccable Website

Most members of your target audience will have one thing in common – when they need products or services (that happen to be in your offer), they’ll first look them up online.

Over 97% of users search online to find local businesses and make purchases. So, only having a website will immediately up the ante on your lead generation.

Still, it’s not enough to simply have a website. You need to make it a great one if you’re going to generate and convert your leads.

Create a clean design that makes it easy for your website visitors to scan your pages and find the information they need. Be clear about who you are, what your business does, how it can help your audiences, and how interested prospects can contact you.

It’s also always a good idea to take a look at what your competitors are doing with their websites and gather some inspiration from that.

Perfect Your Landing Pages

With your website done, it’s time to start developing landing pages. One of the worst mistakes you can make in this regard is to use your homepage as the go-to landing page for all your ad campaigns.

Your homepage is already the most frequently visited page on your website, so there’s no reason to keep directing your audiences to it during your campaigns. Instead, create dedicated landing pages focused on converting visitors.

You’ll need to make your landing pages enticing, relevant to your ad content, concise, and direct. Present your offer, highlight your brand’s value, and include a clear call to action.

The better your landing page, the higher your conversions will be. Do some A/B testing to find out which landing pages perform the best, find out what your audiences want, and keep tweaking your pages until you get the desired results.

Improve Your SEO 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the biggest prerequisites for successful lead generation. By enhancing your SEO, you will:

There are a number of factors that impact your SEO ranking, including:

  • Page loading speed
  • Internal and external links
  • Quality of your content
  • Security
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Keyword usage

If you want to rank on search engines and attract audiences, you’ll need to develop a comprehensive SEO approach. You can’t just improve your page speed, neglect all the other aspects of SEO, and expect to rank first.

SEO is a slow and steady approach, so take your time perfecting it.

Provide Relevant Content 

One thing that will help you improve SEO and boost lead generation is content. In the online environment, content is king.

Content marketing allows you to improve keyword usage, take your external and internal linking to a new level, engage audiences, enhance your visibility, and display your expertise.

 Whether you’re creating blog posts, e-books, video guides, infographics, Facebook Stories, or any type of content in between, your focus should be on quality. Keyword stuffing and improper backlinking are a no-go. Here’s what you should do instead:

  • Provide valuable information that will help your audiences
  • Offer solutions to your target customers’ most common problems
  • Provide relevant insights
  • Entertain your audiences

Before long, you’ll notice just how helpful content marketing can be for your lead generation.

Make Use of Social Media

We can’t talk about lead generation for small businesses without mentioning social media. It’s a gold mine for attracting customers and inspiring loyalty.

Whether you like it or not, you need to have a social media presence as a small business owner – it doesn’t matter if you’re running a small antique shop, a dropshipping business, or a family-owned pizzeria.

However, before you join all the most popular networks and get in over your head, analyze your target audience. See which platforms most of them use and examine how they interact with other businesses on them.

Then, only join those platforms that you can easily manage. After all, you’ll need to stay active on these platforms by regularly posting fresh content and responding to comments and messages. If you’re on more than a couple of platforms, you’ll likely find it difficult to keep track of them and use them to your advantage.

Take Advantage of Lead Generation Quiz Makers

A reliable lead generation quiz maker is ideal for engaging your audiences. It makes quiz creation a breeze, allowing you to know your target customers better and offering you a chance to stand out from the crowd.

You can create any type of quiz you want:

  • A fun personality quiz that grabs the viewers’ attention
  • An assessment quiz that tells you how much your audience knows about you and your products
  • A market research quiz, which allows you to assess your target audience’s most common pain points 

Share your quizzes on social media to reach a wider audience, add them to your lead generation emails, and embed them on your website to convert visitors.

With a lead generation quiz maker, it will take you no more than a few minutes to create engaging quizzes that boost your visibility and help you attract customers. You can also integrate it with email marketing tools or customer relationship management tools to nurture leads efficiently.

Monitor Your Online Reputation

To generate leads as a small business owner, you need to keep a very close eye on your online reputation.

You could have the perfect brand persona, excellent products and services, top-notch support, and a bulletproof content marketing strategy – and yet your reputation could still suffer. You need to be careful to pay attention to what people are saying about you and your brand.

Your customers and even competitors will talk about your brand on forums, social media groups, review sites, personal accounts, and more. Keep a close eye on all brand mentions.

If someone is harming your reputation online, you’ll need to be ready to clear things up, highlight your brand value, and present your business in the best possible light.

Respectfully respond to negative reviews, engage in discussions on public forums, offer solutions to public complaints, and ensure that your online reputation is excellent.

Spread the Word About Your Business Through Different Channels

Even with the best strategies at your disposal, it can sometimes be challenging to significantly increase lead generation on your own. Sometimes, you’ll need a little bit of help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it!

Spread the word about your business through different channels. For instance, you could try guest blogging, wherein you create content for other websites in your niche. Doing so will help you expand your reach, showcase your expertise, and attract a wider clientele.

Alternatively, you can reach out to influencers who make sense for your industry and who can connect you with their followers. Influencers inspire trust among their followers, enjoy an excellent reputation, and can easily impact their fans’ purchasing decisions.

Final Thoughts

Lead generation for small businesses can seem like an insurmountable challenge. But it’s easier than you may think when you have a few tricks up your sleeve and know what you’re doing.

So remember, if you want to boost your lead generation and conversion, you’ll need to: 

  • Create a great website 
  • Perfect your landing pages
  • Work on your SEO
  • Create relevant, engaging content 
  • Make use of social media 
  • Use a reliable lead generation quiz maker 
  • Monitor your online reputation
  • Spread the word through channels, such as guest blogging and influencer marketing

Follow these tips to ensure the success of your small business and start generating leads like a pro. Your business could also benefit from some creative experimentation on your part to complement the ideas discussed above.

If you need further help developing a lead generation strategy for your business, reach out to the small business experts at HighClick Media. We’ll take the time to get to know your business, identify its particular needs, and come up with solutions that will help your business grow. Reach out to us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here.

**********

Guest blogger Angela White is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing. Specifically, she writes in the areas of product research and marketing using quizzes and surveys. She is a researcher at a brand that’s known for creating delightfully smart tools called ProProfs Quiz Maker.

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

Brand Persona: What, Why, & How?

Brand Persona: What, Why, & How?

Brand persona is a term that’s gained recognition in the digital marketing world over the last several years. Maybe you’ve heard of it, but if you haven’t, fear not! I’m going to explain what brand personas are, why they’re valuable, and how to establish yours in order to elevate your brand.

What is a Brand Persona?

Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like! A brand persona is the embodiment of a company’s brand in the form of a persona. It’s the attitude, the voice, the qualities which highlight the personality you want your brand to be associated with. If your brand was a walking, talking, living, breathing human, what would it look like? How would your brand carry itself? How would it speak, and what would it say?

Look. I know what you’re probably thinking.

Is this crazy lady really saying I should develop a character based on my brand?

The answer is yes! I know it sounds silly, but developing a brand persona is a necessary component of your overall brand strategy.

With that being said, it’s important to note that your brand persona doesn’t have to be a literal person- though sometimes that works! (Shout out to Flo from Progressive!)

 

Brand personas can simply be an idea.

Why does my brand need a persona?

Let’s start with a statistic. 90% of US marketing leaders say brand persona is key to retaining customers.

You see, today’s consumer has a unique purpose when making a purchase. Sure, they want high-quality, budget-friendly items. That’s nothing new. But, now more than ever, they also want an emotional connection, a sense of belonging, an array of options, and a full-blown experience.

A dedicated brand persona will allow your brand to shine in an increasingly emotional and visual world.

How do I create a brand persona?

Know Your Brand

  • Review your brand materials. Look over everything from your website to promotional items, and take note of what’s working and what’s not.
  • Do some research. Visit your favorite social media platforms to see what’s trending in relation to your brand.
  • Make lists. List descriptive words that you want to be associated with your brand.

Know Your Customer

  • Examine your customer demographics, and attempt to understand who they are.
  • Define your customers’ pain points and expectations.
  • Analyze your customer engagement.

Brand Persona Tips

Aaron Walter, the author of Designing for Emotion, provides excellent advice on creating a successful brand persona. His provides a list of elements that are helpful to consider as you define your brand persona.

  • Create a personality image. How would you visualize your persona? Is it a person, an animal, or another object?
  • Describe your brand’s voice, and provide examples of copy. Would your brand’s voice be cheerful, sarcastic, encouraging, something else?
  • Describe how your persona engages with others. Is your brand a buddy or more of an authority figure?
  • Create a style guide that includes fonts, colors, and images that match your desired brand persona.

5 Brand Personas to Use for Inspiration

When it comes to brand personas, one size does not fit all. However, if you’re new to this, look to these personas for inspiration.

  • The Nurturer: Empathetic and kind, this brand is full of compassion and care.
  • The Intellect: This persona is a leader and influencer who helps users make decisions based on the facts.
  • The Cheerleader: Spirited and optimistic, this brand’s excitement is infectious!
  • The Athlete: This confident and competitive brand is a little rough around the edges.
  • The Class Act: This elite brand radiates elegance and style.

Conclusion

You want to establish lasting connections between your brand and your customers, so if you haven’t already, the time to intentionally develop a brand persona is now. Without one, personality will still come out of what you do, but it might not convey the vibes you want.

A solid brand persona can take your business to the next level. Your customers want to know what you’re about, so they can be about it, too. The most important thing to keep in mind when developing your persona is that it embodies what you want customers to think about when they interact with your company.

If you’re not sure where to start or need a little extra guidance, reach out to us! We’ll work with you to create an authentic brand persona that will resonate with your customers for years to come.

Related Posts

Why Shop Local?

Why Shop Local? It’s become something of a fad for folks to hop on social media and encourage their friends and neighbors to “Shop Local.”

Read More »

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

7 Reasons Why Businesses Rebrand

7 Reasons Why Businesses Rebrand

If you’ve been in business for any significant length of time, you might have encountered the desire or necessity to rebrand your organization. Maybe you’re tired of looking at that same old logo, customers keep getting you confused with another company, or the business simply isn’t receiving the attention you know it deserves.

Rebranding isn’t a bad thing to consider – not by a long shot. Even the biggest and the best companies do it from time to time. Rebranding can help revive a failing company and sustain a successful one. When an organization rebrands, it is given the incredible opportunity to restore or revitalize its presence and image in the collective minds of its customers.

work work work busy busy busy

But rebranding isn’t a consideration that should be taken lightly. There’s no doubt that it’s a considerable undertaking, a labor-intensive process that merits months of rigorous planning and forethought.

Notwithstanding, successfully executing a rebranding strategy can benefit your organization in untold ways. Simply put, rebranding can jump-start your business and bring about substantial growth.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the most common reasons why businesses decide to rebrand. In so doing, we will come to understand what key considerations businesses should make prior to implementing a rebranding strategy. Let’s dive in!

 

What is Rebranding, Anyway?

Before we go any further, let’s clarify what rebranding actually entails. When a business rebrands itself, it is essentially creating a new and distinctive brand identity by making changes to its name, logo, style (e.g., fonts, colors, and imagery), slogan, mission statement, website, and/or company culture. The end goal of rebranding is to transform the organization’s corporate image in the eyes of its customers, prospects, competitors, employees, investors, and the general public.

7 Reasons Why Businesses Rebrand

There are any number of valid, legitimate reasons why a business might choose to rebrand. Here are seven of the most prominent among them:

I wanna consider a merger. Alan Alda

Mergers & Acquisitions

When two or more companies merge – or one acquires the other – there are countless critical decisions that have to be made. In the case of a merger, both companies typically have equal involvement in the new, combined organization. This means that neither brand will be swallowed up by the other – they’ll form a completely new brand.

If the companies choose to operate the brands separately, a rebrand is usually not necessary. However, if they want to consolidate the two (or more) brands, the companies must then decide whether to conduct business under one of the existing brand identities or carve out a new, combined identity in order to establish trust, foster new brand recognition, and avoid confusion.

In this scenario, the newly integrated enterprise must appraise both previous brands’ value to determine which branding options to take. If both brands are widely recognized, it may make more sense to hang on to both existing brand identities. If neither brand has made an especially big impact on the industry, rebranding might be the best way to make a fresh start.

Well, bad publicity is exactly what they're gonna get.

Correcting a Negative Perception of the Brand

You see it all the time. A well-known brand experiences a public relations identity crisis – whether due to negative publicity, poor reviews, a bad product, or the like – that tarnishes the brand’s reputation, diminishes its market share, and threatens its future success. As a result, the brand is weighed down by negative perceptions which can linger for years to come. Despite its best efforts (and regardless of whether it was initially at fault), the brand has struggled to overcome the disaster. What can be done?

By substantially changing its existing brand identity or creating a whole new identity, a business stands a decent chance of altering the current perception of its brand. Rebranding affords the organization a fresh opportunity to jettison former associations, forge ahead with new ones, and help lay the foundations for new opinions to form.

A word of warning here: People can be rather cynical when they see yet another company undergoing a rebrand in the wake of a PR crisis. Some think it’s simply a matter of “putting a fresh coat of paint over the same rotten interior.” So proceed with caution, and make sure your intentions are pure.

The Brand Looks & Feels Dated

When an entrepreneur first embarks on a business venture, it’s not uncommon to be a tad haphazard when it comes to branding. A logo and other brand elements are thrown together hurriedly and without a lot of advance planning. But as the company grows, its branding must evolve with it. A logo design that might have seemed fitting initially may now appear outdated in light of newer logos and design trends.

Whether it’s your overall design scheme, a company name that doesn’t easily roll off the tongue, or a color combo that looks like it belongs in the previous century, modernizing your brand identity is an essential step toward stimulating growth.

All companies – regardless of how profitable they are – have to remain on the cutting edge in order to stay on top of their game. Making sure that your brand image is ever ahead of the curve demonstrates to customers that your business is following trends within the industry and signals your intentions to not only keep up with competitors but to surpass them. As one marketer so eloquently put it: “If your company looks like it belongs in the past, it might soon end up there.”

Who exactly are you? Well, that's the question.

Your Company’s Mission, Vision, & Values Are No Longer Reflected

Your business’s mission, vision, and values (MVV) should impact every decision you make, including your branding, marketing, advertising, and customer support. If you are shifting gears with your MVV, expanding to offer new products or services, or have set new goals for your business, you may need to adapt your branding to reflect those changes.

After a thorough self-analysis of the brand, you’ll be better able to establish whether these changes are momentous enough to warrant revamping or refreshing your brand identity to parallel your new positioning.

He's shamelessly catering to his demographic.

Tap Into a New Demographic or Target Audience

As your business grows, you may want to expand your target audience in order to reach a totally different demographic. In doing so, it may become necessary to modify your branding to reflect the new consumer base.

Refreshing the look and feel of your brand is an effective way to catch the eye of prospective customers. If you concentrate on newer facets of your business and market them appropriately, people are sure to take notice.

At the same time, you don’t want to alienate your existing customers. Subsequently, as you develop your rebranding strategy, you should look to adopt a new brand identity that aligns with new and old customers alike.

How many of your competitors are doing that? Zero!

Set Yourself Apart from Competitors

Even the most successful businesses rebrand, particularly when it becomes obvious that brand recognition has begun to wane or when their target audience starts to show preference to its competitors.

Rebranding can help establish your business as an industry leader with a personality that appeals to your audience. When your audience regards your brand and your competitors as interchangeable, that’s a clear indication that a rebrand may be needed. Differentiating your brand signals to potential clients that your services are unique, your approach is different, and you’re the expert.

I've been ahead of you every step of the way.

Keep Up with the Market

If your business is part of a volatile, fast-moving market, your products and services may be ever-evolving as well – and your brand image has to keep pace. 

Stale, stagnating brands – or those that are unable to stay on the cutting edge – may get left in the lurch.

By implementing a solid rebranding strategy, you can reposition your company as a trendsetter in the new landscape.

Okay, what now?

Final Thoughts

Whether your business just needs a makeover or an entirely new brand identity to coincide with its evolution, rebranding provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen and support your brand’s identity and values – both internally with your employees and externally with your customer base.

A number of determinants factor into the enduring success of a rebrand. If customers were passionate about your original brand image, there may be some resistance toward the changes. Be mindful not to alter your brand so much that it’s no longer identifiable.

Before you begin the rebranding process, you should make certain that you and your team are fully dedicated to the cause you’re about to undertake.

Are we ready, people?

Rebranding isn’t something that can be accomplished in a day, a week, or even a month. In most cases, a comprehensive rebranding project calls for at least three to six months worth of work. Nonetheless, the results are well worth the time, energy, and resources expended. If coordinated well and executed properly, rebranding can help your company become more successful in the long run.

Want to know more about how HighClick Media can help your business succeed with a solid branding or rebranding strategy? Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or visit our website to learn more!

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

How To Develop & Maintain a Consistent Brand Voice

How To Develop & Maintain a Consistent Brand Voice

When you think about branding, probably the first thing that comes to mind is a logo. A close second would likely be a specific color scheme that you closely identify with the brand. But any properly developed brand must also have a distinct style of writing and speaking. This is commonly referred to as its brand voice.

Having a strong, cohesive brand voice is one of the most important components in building a successful business. Research has shown that consumers prefer brands with unique personalities. When asked which factors help a brand stand out in the crowded social media space, 40% of consumers surveyed cited memorable content, 33% noted a distinct brand personality, and 32% stated that compelling storytelling was key. And what do memorable content, distinct personality, and compelling storytelling have in common? You guessed it: brand voice.

Every time you send an email, answer a customer support call, or speak to someone face-to-face, you’re exercising your brand voice – whether you realize it or not. With each of these interactions, people are building up an impression in their minds about your brand. If this impression is to be a true reflection of your brand to followers, readers, listeners, prospects, and customers, you must be intentional about how you use your brand voice.

Identifying your brand voice isn’t easy. It demands a great deal of introspection as well as an intimate understanding of who you are as a brand. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into what brand voice is, why it’s important, and learn how to develop and refine your own brand voice.

Brand Voice vs. Brand Tone: What’s the Difference?

You may have heard of brand voice before, but what about brand tone? Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, but there are a few distinct differences.

Brand voice is how you express the personality of your brand through your chosen communication channels and to your target audience. It helps potential customers recognize and relate to your brand, get a feel for your mission and core values, and ensure that your message cuts through the noise.

Your brand voice encompasses everything from the words and language you use to the image your marketing assets evoke. Simply put, it’s the overall impression you wish to leave on your audience at every point of interaction in the customer’s journey.

Brand tone is the emotional inflection you apply to your brand voice. Your tone may need to be adjusted depending on who you’re talking to, what you’re talking about, and the platform you’re using to communicate your message.

While a different tone may be called for in specific situations, your tone should always feel consistent with your brand voice. If your tone is off in some way, your audience may end up feeling insulted or angry. Whereas if your tone strikes the right chord, the audience may be convinced to stay and listen.

WHY IS BRAND VOICE IMPORTANT?

 

A Strong Brand Voice Creates a Favorable First Impression

According to Forbes, it only takes 7 seconds for your target audience to form an initial opinion about your brand. Whether this first impression is positive or negative relies heavily on your brand voice.

A consistent voice lets consumers absorb your brand quickly and easily, allowing you to capture their attention and keep them interested in your content as well as your company. 

If you can craft a brand voice that effectively communicates what your company stands for and “who” it is, you’ll have a much easier time converting web visitors into loyal customers.

A Consistent Brand Voice Enhances Brand Recognition

Time for a bit of self-analysis. If your company logo didn’t appear alongside your content, could your audience easily identify the content as coming from you? Would someone viewing your content on different channels be able to recognize that it all originated from the same brand? If the answer to either of those questions is “no,” you probably have some work to do when it comes to brand voice.

Frequent or dramatic shifts in brand voice may cause confusion about your brand identity. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up with a random assortment of voices and tones in the content you produce, which doesn’t provide potential customers with a consistent picture of who your brand is.

Maintaining a consistent voice across all your media channels delivers a cohesive feel to your brand. Brands with strong voices will “sound” the same on social media, in email communications, and blog posts – even if three different individuals or teams create content for these channels. Ultimately, potential customers should be able to subconsciously associate certain words, phrases, ideas, or emotions with your brand.

A Cohesive Brand Voice Helps Build Trust with Your Audience

People prefer to support brands that they trust. In fact, a recent survey found that more than 80% of consumers want to feel like they can trust a brand before they’ll consider buying from them.

A well-crafted brand voice offers a unique opportunity to humanize your brand and demonstrate to your customers that you’re sincere and trustworthy in each interaction you have with them. If consistently applied, your brand voice can help establish enduring relationships with your existing followers as well as attracting new prospects. 

Think of your brand’s voice as a character. Stay “in character” and your audience will come to view your brand as a friend or a trusted expert. “Break character” and you’ll confuse your audience and risk breaking their trust. By being transparent, personal, helpful, and knowing your products and services better than anybody else, you can not only build trust with your customers but maintain it for the long haul as well.

A Compelling Brand Voice Helps Increase Brand Loyalty

Consumers are becoming increasingly selective about which brands they prefer to regularly support and align themselves with. When people solidly connect to the way your brand communicates online, a relationship begins to form in their minds. In the event that these consumers need to purchase a product or service that you offer, they are much more likely to become your customers and remain loyal to your brand if they perceive this emotional connection.

When your brand voice changes constantly, you may be forfeiting the opportunity to demonstrate to consumers that they can trust your brand to understand their “pain points” and dependably deliver solutions. A consistent brand voice assures consumers that the brand is carrying out the company’s mission and fulfilling its promises to the customer.

A Powerful Brand Voice Positions Your Business As an Authority in the Field

Whether you sell a product, offer a service, or both, you have specific expertise that could be valuable both to customers as well as to other businesses. By communicating consistently in the brand voice you’ve created, you can help position yourself as an easily identified and authoritative source for your area of expertise.

One of the primary reasons that customers side with certain brands is not necessarily the quality of the products, but rather the quality of the content they produce. By providing useful tips on various topics related to your niche or products, you’re not only demonstrating your expertise but also increasing awareness for your brand.

When your business is regarded as an authority in the field, people will come to you to solve their problems. And that means business!

Distinctive Brand Voice Helps You Stand Out From The Crowd

A Distinctive Brand Voice Helps You Stand Out from the Crowd

In the digital age, brands are faced with growing competition for consumer attention, interaction, and loyalty. You can only stand out so much on the strength of your visual content, logo, or product features.

The most enduring companies have a strong personality and a clear sense of purpose. The distinct voice they’ve created is used to consistently convey their message everywhere the brand has a presence.

A unique brand voice can help attract new prospects before they even become aware of your products or services. If you can quickly and effectively prove to consumers that your brand is different than – and superior to – every other brand out there.

A Credible Brand Voice Helps Boost Sales

This is where the rubber meets the road. As we’ve seen thus far, a consistent brand voice can help you better relate to your customers, establish your company as a reliable solution provider, achieve your company’s mission by following through on promises, and build your audience’s trust in you. 

All of this ultimately adds up to more closed deals and higher revenue. In fact, research has proven that brands that invest in developing and exercising a cohesive brand voice will see their revenue increase by an average of 23%! Simply put, when consumers feel like your brand voice connects well with them, they’re much more likely to buy from your business.

Dwight Schrute in The Office ~

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR OWN BRAND VOICE

Companies that have developed a strong brand voice haven’t approached the process lightly or haphazardly. They’ve taken active steps to define what and how they want to communicate their message and documented it in detail, so that every point of contact with their customers is positive, on-brand, and consistent.

This is extremely important, since the manner in which you deliver your message to customers and prospects truly matters. In fact, it’s one of the key factors that can make or break a deal.

Finding your brand voice can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be a big ordeal. Your brand voice already exists – it’s up to you to recognize it, articulate it, and share it with the world. But how do you unearth your voice – and where do you start?

DEFINE YOUR BRAND

To really home in on and refine your brand voice, you need to come to a deep, intimate understanding of who your brand is and what you’re trying to achieve. This is the heart of who you are as a company – your brand is simply a tool to express it.

A good place to start in developing your brand voice is to take a hard look at your company’s purpose, vision, mission, and values.

Purpose

Who are you? Why do you exist? How do your clients benefit from what you have to offer?

Vision

What kind of future do you want to create? What goals do you want to achieve? Do you aim to make a difference in your community or the world at large? What sets your company apart from the competition?

Mission

What do you plan to do to create the future you’ve envisioned? What are you trying to accomplish as a company? What do  you want your audience to say and think about you?

Values

Define your company culture and the core principles that guide your business. What’s important to you? What does your company stand for?

If you’re still struggling to pin down the particulars of your brand identity, imagine your brand as a person and try to describe its personality. How do your brand’s personality traits differ from those of your competitors?

This is an exercise you can get creative and have some fun with. Determining what type of person your company would be if it were a human being can help you gather valuable insights into the people who are most likely to connect with your brand.

What does this “person” look like? What kind of language do they use? Are they energetic or more laid-back? What does their ideal day look like?

Oftentimes, in order to determine who you are as a brand, it helps to first figure out what you’re not. Knowing this will help you better define your voice.

That’s where completing a “We’re ______, but we’re not ______” exercise can come in handy. Fill in the blanks of the sentence and duplicate the process several times until you’ve settled upon three or four sentences that best describe your brand. Once you’ve determined what your brand is not, then you can begin outlining what your brand actually is and how to 

When you’ve gained a better understanding of your brand’s DNA, you can begin to consider how you will express it through your brand voice.

GET TO KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

Understanding exactly who you want to appeal to with your messaging is a crucial step toward developing your brand’s voice. In order to do this, you’ll have to get to know your audience on a personal level.

Research your target audience’s characteristics, habits, and behavioral patterns. Collect as much info as you can about their demographics, age range, education, job title, income level, likes/dislikes, and buying motivation.

As most of your customer interactions will transpire online, the words you use will leave a lasting impression in the minds of your target audience. The more you can align your voice with the language your audience uses, the easier it will be for potential customers to identify with you.

In addition, it’s critical to determine your target audience’s preferred method of communication. Not all demographics communicate the same way – some may prefer to be contacted on social media, while others may prefer email. Knowing how your audience prefers to engage with brands allows you to home in on the most appropriate marketing channels in an effort to create your brand voice.

Questions To Ask Your Target Audience:

  • What are their interests?
  • What are their beliefs and values?
  • What will offend them?
  • What will hook them?
  • How do they speak? Does this change across different channels?
  • What kind of content do they usually engage in?
  • Who are they following on social media?
  • What are they buying?
  • What are their expectations when they engage with brands?
  • How do you want them to feel about your brand?
  • How can you provide value to them?
  • What might make them care about your company, product, or service?
  • Does what they care about align with what your brand stands for?

AUDIT YOUR CURRENT CONTENT

Every piece of content you publish makes a statement about your brand, whether you’re purposefully crafting a voice or not. If the voice your readers are already hearing from you isn’t in keeping with your brand’s values and purpose, you may need to make adjustments in order to align your content with your brand.

Your audience will be the ultimate measure of whether you’ve created a successful brand voice. If your voice doesn’t resonate with your audience, then it probably isn’t the right voice.

To gain greater insight on how your brand voice currently sounds, conduct an audit of your existing content across all marketing platforms, including webpages, blog posts, social media posts, videos, e-books, print collateral, in-store signage, etc.

Cast a critical eye on the content samples you’ve collected. Pay especially close attention to your best-performing pieces, as these are what your audience is currently connecting with.

Extrapolate the key characteristics of the voice used in these pieces. Take note of which aspects you feel can, and should, be reproduced across your brand as a whole.

Which of these examples could have originated from one of your competitors? Set those aside. Narrow down your examples to only those that embody the brand voice that you want to represent.

DECIDE ON YOUR BRAND’S TONE OF VOICE

Once you’ve decided what your voice is, it’s time to focus on the tone of your brand. Think about what your product or service does for people. How does it solve their problems or enhance their lives? Your tone of voice should reflect and reinforce that.

When people interact with your brand, how do you want them to feel? If you want to make your audience laugh, then your tone might be whimsical, engaging, and accessible. Whereas if you want to raise awareness for a specific issue, your tone might be more compassionate, inspirational, and heartfelt.

Knowing the answers to these big-picture questions can help you pinpoint the emotional brand experience you’re attempting to deliver. Cultivating your brand tone of voice is an effective way to accomplish this.

Remember, brand voice is what you say and brand tone is how you say it. As your tone may vary across different audiences or platforms, it’s a good idea to document in your brand style guide – which we’ll talk about shortly – how content creators should utilize certain tones in specific situations.

Copycat, Literally

DON’T COPY THE COMPETITION

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery; but with regard to branding, it won’t do your business any favors. Sure, it’s worthwhile to analyze how your competitors craft a certain tone and engage with their customers, but you shouldn’t try to imitate their style.

Attempting to emulate your rivals’ success may attract people’s attention – but not in a good way. Branding decisions that too closely resemble those of your competitors will make you look like a wannabe or a blatant ripoff. 

Aspire for something different instead. This doesn’t require doing a total about-face from your competitors. Rather, seek out qualities and traits that their brand voice obviously lacks.

Conducting a competitive analysis can not only help you identify with whom you’re competing; it can also help you distinguish between your brand and theirs.

CREATE FORMAL BRAND VOICE GUIDELINES

When developing a brand, businesses often create a style guide which defines standards for copywriting, graphics, colors, fonts, images, and all other branding details. This guide serves as a framework for all members of the team to follow when developing content.

Much like your brand style guide, your brand voice also needs documentation. Creating a brand voice document will help keep your social media posts and marketing copy in check and consistent – especially if you have more than one content creator on your team.

By creating a brand voice chart, you can organize and further elaborate on the brand attributes you’ve defined so far. Try to come up with three to four words (typically adjectives) that best represent your brand and complete a chart consisting of four columns – “Characteristics,” “Description,” “Do’s,” and “Don’ts” – explaining how each trait should and shouldn’t be represented in your marketing.

Your brand voice chart is a great starting point for creating a larger brand voice document – a crucial reference guide that helps your content creators understand what does and doesn’t align with your defined brand voice.

Your formal brand voice document should begin with your company’s core values and mission statement; but it should also include other key components of your brand, such as personality traits, common vocabulary and phrases, as well as your desired tone of voice. Additionally, you should include examples of content that “hit the mark” as well as pieces that aren’t necessarily reflective of the brand voice you’ve defined.

Establishing well-defined brand voice guidelines helps make sure that brand standards are upheld, and that every customer-facing asset your company creates sounds like one cohesive brand – even if you have a number of different people creating content and writing copy.

 

REVIEW & REVISE YOUR BRAND VOICE REGULARLY

Developing a brand voice isn’t supposed to be a one-time, set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. As your brand messaging progresses over time or new competitors enter your market, it’s a good idea to revisit your brand voice guidelines and rejuvenate them with fresh examples.

Make it a point to meet with your key content creators and communicators at designated times – whether on a quarterly basis, during major brand makeovers, or during large-scale events that could significantly alter your company’s marketing strategy – to reevaluate your brand voice.

Identify any voice attributes that haven’t performed well or, for whatever reason, are better in theory than in practice. Without regular reviews of your brand voice, you risk sounding outdated or out of touch with current events.

You want to ensure that everyone who may have a hand in creating communications from your company is on the same wavelength about what both the brand’s voice and tone should sound like.

Use your voice. ~ Lillee Jean

FINAL THOUGHTS

Your brand voice is the first impression you leave with consumers, as well as the cornerstone of developing relationships with them as customers. It’s a critical step toward becoming a company with dedicated clients and a long-standing place in the  market.

Much like a writer develops a character, your brand voice also demands careful development. Successfully keeping your brand “in character” calls for meticulous attention to detail, but it will prove profitable for your business.

While brand voice consistency is essential, flexibility is equally important. Be prepared to modulate your brand voice as customer priorities – and the market – change over time.

How will you know when you’ve found the right voice? It’s pretty simple, actually. When you publish a piece of content or launch a new marketing campaign and a reader recognizes that it’s your company before they even click, you’ll know you’ve found your voice.

Now that you’re equipped with more information about brand voice, it’s time for you to go create your own! If you feel like you could still use a bit more guidance, HighClick Media is here to help with all your branding and digital marketing needs. Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to learn how we can help elevate your brand!

Related Posts

Why Shop Local?

Why Shop Local? It’s become something of a fad for folks to hop on social media and encourage their friends and neighbors to “Shop Local.”

Read More »

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

What Do You REALLY Know About Your Customers?

What Do You REALLY Know About Your Customers?

 

If you want to be truly effective with your marketing, you have to understand your customer so well that you know the “conversation going on in their mind” that’s so personal they won’t utter it to anyone. How do you gain that level of intelligence from your customers? The answer isn’t a simple or easy one.

You can’t just survey people. All consumer polls, surveys, and research are deeply flawed for several reasons. The first is that many people don’t understand the questions asked because they’re barely paying attention and give abrupt, short answers. They also won’t get into the real emotional drivers upon which they base their decisions because that’s not how they consciously communicate.

One of the real ways women choose medical doctors for certain conditions is based on the age of the doctor. They don’t want to go to a younger male doctor because they feel intimidated, ashamed, and deeply embarrassed about their bodies. They want an older female doctor who’s closer to their age.

Most men won’t go to a young female doctor (or a really young male doc) for impotence for the same reasons. They want to go to a doctor who’s a peer in their age group.

But if you poll these patients to see why they chose the doctor they did, they’ll give more logical justifications, such as “they came referred” or “they had great reviews.” While that might be true and may have contributed to their decision, it’s not the exclusive reason they chose that doctor – and it’s not the MOST important factor.

Another problem with consumer research and surveys is that most people don’t consciously know they’re making these decisions. They feel pulled to buy, but they don’t analyze their choices.

Steve Jobs’ principle rings true here: it’s not your customer’s job to articulate what they want, that’s up to you to figure out. That’s where the big money is made – not chasing customers’ whims and surface requests, but knowing them so well that you already know what they’ll buy, what they want, what will get them excited – without them having to spell it out.

Here’s a somewhat crude example, but hear me out. Most people don’t want to ask for what they want when making love, because it kills the magic of the moment. No one wants to be barking instructions at a lover in the heat of passion, mapping out a play-by-play of what turns them on or telling their partner to stop doing what they’re doing.

The best lovers seem to anticipate what their partner wants. Women often get unfairly criticized for not directly telling their spouses what they want. Many women feel that if you’re so dense that you can’t figure out the most obvious things, you’re not paying attention (most of the time, that’s probably true). They also feel embarrassed to ask.

The same goes with your customers.

Some feel embarrassed to ask for what they want because they don’t want to appear to be a nitpicky complainer.

Others won’t articulate what they want because they feel the inadequacies of your service are so obvious that if you can’t see how dysfunctional it is, there’s no point in wasting their breath to tell you.

Others just don’t know what they want, but they’re experts on what they DON’T want.

Some are just too busy to think about it – that’s why they hired you. They want you to anticipate their needs.

So, the only way you can truly understand your customers is by first studying emotional intelligence, persuasion, and human behavior in order to gain a baseline understanding of human motivations.

Next, you have to spend time with your customers – listen to them, understand them, and go deep into the whys of what they do, how they run their business, how they make decisions, their hierarchy of value, and their unspoken desires.

That last one is the hardest, because you have to really pay attention and set aside your values, your thoughts, your beliefs, and be fully focused on them – no matter how irrational their decisions are. This takes practice and a willingness to master influence and persuasion.

While marketing professionals know that the ultimate benchmark of any idea, promotion, price point, product, or service is testing, they aren’t just blindly speculating. They’ve done the work to understand their clients on a deep level and can trust their guts to be right more than wrong. That’s a huge advantage in the marketplace, where most business owners are stuck on the “stuff” they sell and surface-level benefits.

Conclusion

f you’re a small business owner who’s struggling to connect with and truly understand your customers, the good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. HighClick Media is here to help! We’re a full-service digital marketing agency with collective decades of experience in helping small businesses just like yours succeed by optimizing your online presence.

Want to know more? Let’s start a conversation! Reach out to us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here. Working together, we can help elevate your brand beyond your wildest dreams!

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!