Micro Guide: Reverse Engineering Your Brand Voice

If you're a fan of the 2003 techno thriller Paycheck, then you know a thing or two about reverse engineering. You know that pre-Batman Ben Affleck was the very best at it. Companies paid him big money to take apart a competitor's product, figure out how it worked, and make something even better. Then he would get his brain wiped and he would get, you guessed it, his paycheck.

This process sounds a lot like stealing, because it is. But, what if I told you that you could use a very similar process to steal valuable marketing knowledge from your future self? Now that would be well worth the trouble.

What's a Brand Voice?

Put simply, a brand voice is the way that your business communicates through written and spoken word. It’s what your clients read and hear, whereas a brand identity is what they see.

Companies with a solid brand voice aren't just entertaining, they're also engaging. Their consistent communication can have a serious influence on all those who listen. Making for more engaged, entertained clients who are brand loyal. That's the paycheck that every company should be working for.

Reverse Engineering

Now it's time to steal from your future self. Most companies go through a long process of trial and error to develop a brand voice, which with time, might bear some semblance to a person. Why don't we skip all that? In fact, let’s create your brand voice right now in three steps.

Who does your target market look up to?

Say for example that you own a small manufacturing company. Your clients use the parts you manufacture to create machinery that they then sell and subsequently service. These are people who understand machinery well and appreciate a well-crafted part. They look up to those with the knowledge and skills to produce quality work.

Choose an avatar.

Basically, you need to choose an archetype that matches the person your target market looks up to. In the case of manufacturing, they're likely to look up to an archetype that we'll call the craftsman. From now on, your business will communicate in the way that a skilled craftsman would.

Set guidelines.

Think for a second about how your avatar would communicate. Would a craftsman rattle off specifications and nothing else? Would he focus solely on how the parts are made more affordably? No. A craftsman would focus on the effort he puts into each step of the process and the quality of the materials used. He'll explain exactly why this part is right for you based on his vast knowledge of the industry.

With this understanding, think of what specific guidelines you can create for your brand voice. Here are some examples for our craftsman:

  • Focus on why your process and materials are better.

  • Communicate simply and clearly, but don't be afraid to use industry appropriate terminology.

  • Use examples to help readers visualize practical applications for your products.

  • Don’t be “salesy.” You don’t have to be because your work speaks for itself.

These are just a few general guidelines. Feel free to get as in-depth as you like when creating yours. Just remember, they need to gel with your brand avatar.

Ready for your paycheck?

Ben Affleck made very good money with reverse engineering. You, the lowly business owner, marketer, etc., can do just as well for yourself...even better. Start reverse engineering your brand voice today and start creating moving content.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by this process please drop me a line. I’m always happy to help :)