5 Definitive Ways To Build Your E-commerce Brand’s Voice
In a sea of thousands of online retailers, how does your brand stand out?
Your brand voice becomes your key differentiator in a sea of e-commerce sellers.
Smaller brands have started to dominate the e-commerce market—even more so than large retailers. That’s because today’s burgeoning brands are adapting to today’s customer, who uses their purchases to reflect their personality.
Customers want brands, not products.
If you want to distinguish your brand, you need a unique brand voice. Here’s how you do it.
What is a brand voice?
Your brand voice is how your business communicates with the customer. It allows you to cut through a sea of competition to differentiate yourself on the market.
With a specific and defined voice, you can build an experience that constructs a long-term connection with your consumers.
A voice turns your product into a brand.
Why do you need a brand voice?
Today’s consumers have more access to product information and comparison shopping than ever before. They can walk into a store, see a product they like, and research it on their mobile phones while standing in the store. They can see which retailers are offering similar products, at what price, and with what additional value.
This allows shoppers to make informed decisions, but it can also be too much for the consumer to handle at times. Consumers have become overwhelmed with the number of options available to them.
There are hundreds of thousands of products. How do customers sift through to find the best product for them?
They look at the brand selling the product. Customers weed through the density based on brand identity.
Consumers want to purchase from brands with which they identify. In fact, research has shown that today’s consumers buy based on beliefs more than products.
People have always purchased based on the image they want to portray and the lifestyle they want to have. Now, it’s easier than ever to find brands that fit personality and expression—as opposed to simply a status symbol.
This is especially true if you sell a generic product with your label on it. Generic products don’t sell themselves. They need a strong voice behind them.
Thus, your business brand voice needs to align with the consumer’s lifestyle in order to attract that customer.
In a sea of low-cost products, customers no longer purchase based on products. They purchase based on experience.
Your brand voice is the basis of the shopping experience.
This, in turn, increases brand loyalty. If you can provide a good product with a positive, customized experience, you can hook your audience.
So how do you create a distinctive brand voice that will attract and engage customers?
1. Know your audience.
You have to know who your brand voice is talking to. You’d speak differently to a group of CEOs than a group of teenagers, even if you were talking about the same information. It’s the same with your brand—you speak differently depending on who your target audience is.
Imagine your brand is a person talking to your target audience. How would that individual talk? What would they sound like? What would the conversations between the brand and customer look like?
How can you replicate this dialogue throughout your brand message?
Does your brand voice connect with your consumer?
2. Use your brand story.
How and why was your brand founded? What is your business mission?
Your brand voice should be a direct representation of the purpose of your brand. The “why” should be the basis of your brand voice.
For example, your brand mission might be: “We started a line of eco-friendly shopping bags in order to reduce the amount of plastic ending up in the ocean.”
How do you turn this into a brand voice?
Consider what your mission says about your business—and about the people buying from your business. In this case, it says that you care about the environment and that you want your customers to care as well. You’re not selling shopping bags because you have a passion for artisanal foods or clever purses. You’re selling shopping bags because you want to reduce the use of plastic bags.
This means you may want your brand voice to be the authority on saving the ocean from plastic bags. You might focus on creating a voice that is straightforward and reliable when it comes to matters of the oceanic environment.
Does your brand voice reveal something unique about your business and its core values?
3. Consider your competition.
The purpose of a brand voice is to make your business stand out in a crowd of e-commerce sellers, so you don’t want to have a similar voice as your competitors.
If accomplished successfully, your brand voice can be your greatest marketing tactic that differentiates you from other players in the industry. If not, you become just another business lost in the shuffle.
Research the brand voice of your competitors. What is their tone like? How do they connect with the audience? What is and isn’t working about their brand voice?
If relevant, take the completely opposite voice as your competitors. If they have a serious tone, go goofy. If they focus on short phrases, use more in-depth content.
For example, your shopping bag competitors all have an uplifting tone. They often promote the idea, “If you buy this product, you can save the world.” So maybe your brand takes a sarcastic tone instead. You instead promote the idea, “You’re not saving the whole world, but you do what you can.” It’s not as inspirational, but you’re tapping into a specific market of people who appreciate a more sarcastic and realistic approach.
This can be successful depending on who your audience is (see #1 on this list). The best way to compete is by building a unique brand voice that speaks to a specific audience—an audience that your competitors aren’t reaching.
Does your brand voice distinguish your business from your competitors?
4. Define your brand voice.
Whether you’re a one-person operation or a team of 1,000, you want everyone in the organization to back up the same brand voice. This shouldn’t be limited only to content marketers. Everyone from the CEO to customer service representatives and product creators should live and breathe your brand voice.
To do this, you need to create a defined brand voice to go off of.
Start by picking three words that define your brand voice. This can help narrow down your ideal voice.
For example, the Seller’s Choice’s voice is authoritative, approachable, and interactive.
Define each word specifically for deeper understanding of your “voice.”
- Authoritative: We provide industry-leading value in every interaction.
- Approachable: We want to make it easy to understand the information we’re presenting.
- Interactive: Our content should start a conversation between brand and client.
You may also want to define specific keywords or phrases that your brand uses often. Branded acronyms and terms are a great way to build a unique language that enhances your brand.
Can you specifically define your brand voice?
5. Use your brand voice everywhere.
Don’t make the mistake of defining a “voice” that you only use in your blog and About Us page. Your voice should permeate every aspect of your business. This includes content, marketing materials, website, social media, and emails. You should use your brand voice in product listings to further sell your product. Even if you’re responding to a comment on social media or answering a negative product review, keep it in your brand voice. This creates a level of consistency that genuinely defines your brand.
Your brand voice isn’t just customer-facing, though. Your employees should also have a strong understanding of what your brand looks and sounds like. This builds a company culture that can boost motivation and engagement. A unified culture bleeds to the customer as well. When your employees adopt the voice, they present it to the employee in a genuine and authentic way.
Make your brand voice a part of every interaction.
For example, think of Disney. Their main message is, “Where dreams come true.” Everything in Disney is about dreaming. From their marketing materials to their theme park roller coasters to the employee interactions in their Disney stores, they maintain a consistent voice of hopeful wishing. Even when they are building something new in their theme parks, they put inspirational quotes on the walls around the construction to hide the “magic” behind the scenes.
You want your customers to know exactly what they’re getting from your brand no matter how they interact with you.
Is your brand voice consistent throughout every facet of your business?
A defined brand voice differentiates your business and helps engage with your customers. Consumers are loyal to brand experiences—not products.
A consistent brand voice and personality is critical for brand awareness, engagement, and loyalty.