This week, I’ve been discussing great marketing, and how all great marketing is really great storytelling.
Today I’d like to talk about the importance of voice.
I’m not just talking simply about the tone in which we convey our messaging; what I mean when I say voice with regard to marketing is really more akin to the concept of persona.
A persona is a role. It is an entity that carries a back story, character, standing, and authenticity. Your marketing voice is the persona that you create to tell your product story.
Many brands will use a prominent founder or a famous personality as the voice of their line. And, while this can create extensive audience reach when that person has a huge pre-existing following, this approach is fraught with peril. What happens when the spokesperson is embroiled in a scandal, or goes to jail, or has a serious turn of popularity? If the spokesperson is synonymous with the product, the brand will suffer – or worse, die – along with the rep of the pitch person. This list isn’t all inclusive, but there are plenty examples of this very real pitfall that has kneecapped many brands (Martha Stewart, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, and most recently – and still happening in real time – U2).
Most of us will never have a celebrity spokesperson. But we still need to craft a voice for our product.
The target market that you wish to sell into will largely dictate the type of personality that you will need to consider when crafting your product voice. Should we be Quirky? Staid? Academic? Rebellious? These are all good questions to start the thinking behind the voice you wish to convey. But you’ll need to dig deeper.
The team that you build to support your product will need to be constantly on message with regard to the voice that you are creating. If any member of the team goes too far off script, the brand persona falls apart, and all of the work that you and your team have done building the brand voice is for naught.
A set of coherent talking points will help your team stay on message. This will be the conversational framework for your persona, the ego of your product persona, if you will.
Why is all of this important?
Your product voice must be believable. It needs to be trustworthy. Consistent. Authentic.
It needs to fulfill your brand promise.
Because people will not buy products from companies they don’t trust. And trust is built upon experience, and relationship.
Your consistent, reliable brand voice is what your audience will latch onto when they internalize their relationship to your brand. If that facade is destroyed, so is your audience’s commitment to your brand.
It’s really as simple as that.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the importance of process in your marketing plan, and it’s effect in telling your product story.