Brand Voice – Building brand personality through effective communication

Brand Voice – Building brand personality through effective communication

Shreesh Shankar

Strategy & Creative head, SUKKRISH AADDS


Meet Dash.

It houses a multi-cuisine restaurant, club, rooftop hookah lounge and a pastry nook. Dash is a mini-getaway disguised as a four storeyed building located in Chennai. We had to get the word out that Dash was that kind of a place; the kind where you can leave your worries at the door. We first looked at covering billboards with holiday pictures but then it dawned upon us that getaways needn’t be beach vacations or that Parisian holiday you went on eight years ago and are still talking about it like it was just yesterday.

To us Dash seemed like a fun place, a modern-day getaway. The slate was wiped clean, the coffee was fresh and hot, and the minds began buzzing. It was then that we dug deep and explored the name “Dash”. It may have many meanings but the one that stuck with us was “dashing”; that sudden rush of excitement or energy when you dash across the hall or the finish line or from your worries to nirvana. That intrigued us, and we turned our focus towards “brand voice”.

Brand Voice reflects the personality and emotion

Brand voice is anything related to the personality and emotion that is leveraged to create effective brand communication. Any piece of communication, a brand puts out can be analysed to determine the voice and tone that the brand has adopted.

Brand voice is created from the company’s traits. Apple is smart and innovative. Nike is energetic and inspiring, as its sole purpose is to make you get off the couch and just do it. McDonald’s promises a happy time; while Tesla is futuristic and innovative.

Traits are the key to understanding your brand’s stance.

So, How Do You Establish Your Brand’s Trait?

Is your company, a multinational? Is it a tech start-up? Is it consumer-facing or business-facing? What industry segment does it belong to?
By answering these questions, you will be able to establish your brand’s personality traits. It is better to examine the traits of your segment peers and leaders, so that your company doesn’t stray from the traditionally accepted traits.

For instance, a bank or financial services company must be professional and consumer-friendly; while a healthcare provider must be caring and cautious. If a healthcare provider ends up sounding like a fourteen-year-old, that’s a red flag. Therefore, examining the voice and tone used in the messaging deployed by your peers and segment leaders is a good way to ensure that you haven’t gone off-road.

Take a closer look at your brand and write down 3-5 words that best describe your brand’s current personality. A healthcare provider is often caring and professional with a touch of caution. Apollo Hospitals assures you that you’ll be taken care of. Chola Insurance assures you that you and your family will be covered from sudden financial burden. Uber assures you a safe and convenient commute. Faasos assures you that your hunger goes away.

Kasturba Hospitals, Manipal launched a recent campaign where they wanted to break the taboo surrounding gynaecological health, assuring transparency and care. By discovering your brand’s traits, you’ll be able to figure out what your brand assures its customers.

Why Can’t My Tech Start-up Be Fun?

We’re not saying that your tech start-up cannot have a fun personality. Fun can be a secondary or tertiary part of the entire exercise. Your ultimate goal is that clients and customers learn about your product and choose you over other competitors. By remaining professional and convivial, it’ll be easier for you to establish a connection with your end users.
As much as possible, exclude jargon from your communication; do not sound like a teenager, by using memes and street slang. It may be popular amongst people but no one wants to see an ad for Apollo Hospitals that reads: It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Week. Ask Your Bae To Check Her Jugs.

What About Dash’s Brand Voice?

As mentioned earlier, Dash houses a restaurant, pub and a hookah lounge; places that are generally meant to bring people together – family, loved ones, friends and co-workers. Hence, we adopted a casual and quirky brand voice with a fun and friendly tone. Dash was point B to the customer’s current state of mind (which would be point A).

With that in mind, we created a series of communicative pieces with the established brand voice in mind.

Dash yearned to be a fun destination and its communications reflects that. Both their messaging and design language are immediate and lively. If your brand is like Dash, you can try a casual and quirky voice. But remember, the “one size fits all formula” does not work in branding.
If yours is an NGO dealing with serious cause and social matters; or a multi-national pharmaceutical working tirelessly to improve people’s lifestyles, you’ll need to drop fun from your communications and remain professional. You can, instead, add authenticity to your communication. Authenticity creates charm, which is usually a byproduct of fun.

What’s The Difference Between Brand Voice And Tone?

Voice is your company’s personality. If you’re Apple, you’re smart and innovative. That is not changing for now. Tone, on the other hand, changes based on the messaging. If you’re sending New Year wishes, the Tone would be warm and welcoming, if you’re announcing a product launch, one  could be futuristic and persuasive. Our own personality traits are fun and professional.

Tone changes. Voice, while not permanent, is steadier than tone. Voice is the foundation for all of your communications. A good voice can make your brand instantly recognizable. The most famous brands in the world have a good brand voice.
Wait a minute, why is brand voice not permanent?

 Coca Cola back in the very early days marketed itself as a medicine! It was professional and caring.Today, it is all about togetherness. It is casual and quirky. It is necessary for a brand to evolve in order to stand out from its competitors and reach a wider marker. And as the brand evolves, so does the messaging.
By using Coca Cola as an example, we don’t mean that evolution is going to happen in sixty or seventy years. It may be the next year or three years from now. The point is, be ready to change. As your brand evolves, your brand begins to exhibit new traits. New traits mean that it’s time to refine your messaging. These new traits also set your brand apart from the rest.

So, before going ahead with your  brand communication plan, do be sure about your brand voice; its traits and tones! Your brand image is too precious to be taken casually.

This article is an abridged version of the original article posted at


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