If you’ve ever done an impression of a friend or a celebrity, you know how distinctive and memorable our unique turns of phrase, cadence of speech and personality can be. And if you’ve ever found yourself speaking differently to your colleagues than you do with friends and family—or code-switching between languages or cultural vernaculars—you instinctively get how important it is to tailor the way you communicate to fit your audience.
The value of a distinctive voice that’s well-matched to the audience at hand is just as important for brands as it is for individuals. Your brand voice is foundational to clearly communicating your brand’s mission, vision and values, connecting with customers and standing out from the competition.
Let’s face it, the Kool-Aid man wouldn’t be nearly as iconic if he burst through walls shouting “Pardon me, good sirs!” as he does declaring, “Oh, yeah!” Wendy’s has won a huge following on social media thanks to an aggressive brand voice that playfully savages competitors and customers alike. And language-learning app DuoLingo’s sassy, bossy owl mascot has captured the hearts of Gen Z TikTokers, while motivating users of all ages to keep logging in for vocabulary lessons.
How to Develop A Strong Brand Voice for Cannabis Brands
To define your unique brand voice, you must first determine your core brand equities—the key points on which your target audience connects with your brand. You can think of your core brand equities in terms of Aristotle's three means of persuasion: ethos, pathos and logos. How does your brand resonate with your customers on a functional, emotional and intellectual level?
Once you can answer that question, you can start to see which qualities your brand voice needs to embody to convey the most essential elements of what your company has to offer.
With your core brand equities defined, next you can determine what pain points your customers are struggling with, and what gives your brand credibility as a solution for those challenges. When you can speak to your customers in their own language and successfully understand their needs and desires, you begin to cultivate the sense of Expertise, Authority and Trust, aka EAT, that serves as the backbone of any cannabis marketing strategy.
This essential brand development work will inform the brand voice characteristics you use to build your in-house communications SOPs and brand voice guidelines that will shape your internal and external communications.
Humanize Your Brand Identity
One of the many benefits of developing a strong brand voice is that it humanizes your brand—taking it beyond industry jargon and technical legalese into something more personable and relatable. Even if your brand voice is authoritative or formal, it will have that touch of humanity that corporate boilerplate tends to lack.
One way you can enrich your brand voice is by participating in creative exercises that fully personify your brand. For example, if your brand were a cartoon character like Daria or Charlie Brown, what would their signature outfit be—the equivalent of a green pea coat and Doc Martens, or that yellow zig zag shirt? If your brand went to a university in the United States, would it be the University of Arizona or Brown? How would it say hello when greeting its friends? What posters are on its dorm room walls?
Or think about building a dating profile for your brand. What would its likes and dislikes be? How would you sell its best features? What bands show up on its Spotify Wrapped?
Incorporating Your Brand Voice Into Your Content Strategy
Once you have your brand voice and identity firmly defined, you can start to give your content marketing strategy real structure. Think of your content strategy like a two-dimensional graph: On one plane you have technical information like SEO data and marketing analytics. On the other axis, you have narrative elements like your brand voice and identity and your visual branding. At their intersection, you have your owned and earned media strategy—the channels through which you’ll communicate, what type of content and style is best for each, the brand values and equities you are conveying and the white space you occupy in your niche.
Knowing what you need to say—and how to say it—makes it that much simpler to craft engaging news releases, blogs, white papers, case studies and web copy that memorably resonate with your Total Addressable Market (TAM).
Are you looking to refine your messaging? Polish your brand persona? Grasslands is here to help.