Defining Your Brand Voice in the Age of Voice Search

Is your brand voice optimized for voice search?

It’s an important question because as Amazon Alexa, Google Home and other voice-activated devices change the way we interact with information, they’re changing the way consumers interact with brands and vice versa.

If you want your business to be found, followed and frequented in the new age of voice search, you need to listen to your brand voice and make sure your ideal audiences can hear you loud and clear.

The New Rules of Brand Voice

All year we’ve been pondering the new rules of marketing and how to smartly apply them to your advertising, PR and communication activities. Some trends we’ve discussed include:

Voice search is worth revisiting as we consider how to build a strong brand in today’s uber-connected digital universe. First, a refresher on voice search.

Voice Search — What it is and Why it Matters

Five years ago, the idea of smart devices piping out recipes, connecting us on video calls with grandma and ordering Ubers seemed like something out of an episode of the Jetsons – unreal. Today, we are the Jetsons (minus the flying cars, unfortunately).

Connected devices living on the Internet of Things (IoT) can communicate with each other and us more realistically than ever before. We literally have devices that we can ask to read a bedtime story, tell a joke or explain how thunder works.

These devices and the voice search that powers them is the future of being found online.

By 2020, more than 50% of all searches are predicted to be driven by voice search. That’s only about a year away, folks.

Your website copy will need to be updated to incorporate a conversational question and answer format if you want your customers to find you. You’ll want copy that anticipates questions, answers them quickly and sounds good when it is read aloud. One easy way to test the copy on your site for voice search effectiveness is to read it out loud to yourself.

How does it sound?

Are you lecturing or discussing?

Is it natural?

Harnessing the power of voice search to draw traffic to your site goes beyond on-page copy. After updating your web copy, take a look at your AdWords (Google Ads) account and consider making the following changes to your ad copy:

  • Incorporate keywords that match voice searches
  • Use sentences or phrases with five to six words
  • Identify existing keywords to which you can add, “near me”

On top of taking care of the technical and text side of strengthening your brand to compete in the age of voice search, marketers must also think about how to define their brand voice in a voice-activated rather than a text-driven one.

Defining Your Brand Voice in the Age of Voice Search

Your brand speaks. It has a voice. Brand voice is how your brand sounds when it speaks to your ideal audiences. It’s the tone of your messaging and the words you use when talking with your customers and prospects. Brand voice can be:

  • Formal
  • Casual
  • Professional
  • Irreverent
  • Bold
  • Knowledgeable   

Your brand voice captures the personality of your brand. When we define brand voice for clients, we ground our messaging in research that illuminates the needs, desires and dispositions of the brand’s ideal audiences. We make sure the tone and words used reach out and connect in real, meaningful ways at the intersection points where those audiences live, work and play.

It’s worth mentioning that brand voice is only one aspect of your brand. Brand identity includes visual, verbal, sensory and interactive qualities, as we discussed in our post on 360-degree brand identity.  

As voice search moves into the mainstream, your brand voice will become more tangible than it has in the past. The tone and personality of your messaging will shine through in new and exciting ways.

For example, today Alexa and Siri have fixed voices. There’s no way to choose how to have Google respond to your voice searches, but that could change down the road. Brands could have the ability to define the actual voice that people hear when they interact with their content through voice search. That’s an exciting prospect because it gives marketers the power to define the gender, age, language, accent, speaking speed and personality of the brand.

What you do today through text you may do through sound someday soon.

Managing Your Brand Voice in the Age of Voice Search

Much as the rise of social media challenged marketers to be consistent with their branding across the digital universe, voice search will present a challenge to maintain voice and tone across sound-engaged channels. In a voice search world, this could include monitoring and updating things like:

  • Voice-optimized website content
  • FAQs
  • Voice-optimized ads
  • Product descriptions
  • Social media posts

Elements that work in a text and visual-only world (like hashtags and emojis) may be missed or misinterpreted when the sonic dimension is included.

Be Brave with Your Brand Voice

‘Be brave’ is a mantra at OBI Creative. We challenge ourselves to innovate and push the limits to achieve breakthrough results for our clients and encourage you to do the same with your brand voice.

Don’t wait to mimic your competitors. Get out in front and gain an advantage by being on the leading edge of the voice search revolution. Start working now to develop messaging that seizes the power of the medium to form powerful, lasting and profitable connections with your ideal audiences.

Does the idea of defining your brand voice in the age of voice search sound appealing, but overwhelming? Let OBI help. We’d love to apply our innovation and expertise to your marketing opportunities. Connect with us now to start a conversation about your brand.