14 Brand Voice Exercises & Questions For Strategy Workshop

Brands aren’t corporate entities. They’re human entities.

A brand has a purpose, values, commitments, ambitions, meaning, personality, style, and of course, its very own voice.

A distinct brand voice enables brands to connect with their audience on a human level and speak to the market in a way that resonates with their target.

Purchasing decisions aren’t made on price or accessibility alone.

Defining your brand voice has never been more important, which is why brand voice exercises are an immensely valuable tool.

In this article, you’ll discover top brand voice exercises and questions to nail your strategy workshop and uncover a unique voice that resonates and influences. 

What Is Brand Voice?

Imagine your friend sends you an error message from a website. Without seeing the name, you instantly recognize it’s from your favorite brand. How?

It’s the brand voice that gives it away!

A brand voice is like a company’s personality, expressed through words and the way they’re written.

Just like people, a brand’s tone of voice can change depending on the situation. The voice remains the same, but the way it’s expressed or the brand’s tone can vary. 

For example, a brand might speak differently when launching a new product but adopt a more serious tone in an error message. 

To maintain a consistent tone, it’s essential to understand the context and adapt accordingly.

What Is a Brand Voice Workshop?

Have you ever attended a brand voice workshop? They’re like a gym for your brand’s voice. In these sessions, you get to flex your brand’s vocal cords and work on its tone of voice. The goal?

To define what your brand sounds like, doesn’t sound like, and how its tone changes based on different situations.

A typical brand voice workshop is like a mini-conference, full of exercises to shape your brand’s voice. 

From defining brand voice attributes to tone of voice scale activities, these exercises help create a structured approach for communicating your brand’s unique style and personality.

101 Dynamic

Brand Strategy Questions

To build memorable,
differentiated and disruptive brands

To build memorable, differentiated and disruptive brands

Download now for free!

Download now for free!

Why are Brand Voice Exercises So Important?

Remember when we said that crafting a brand voice is an ongoing process? This is where brand voice exercises prove to be handy.

They’re like a GPS guiding you toward a voice that’s unique to your brand.

These exercises help ensure your brand voice resonates with your customers and keeps them engaged.

The Benefits of Brand Voice Exercises

We have already discussed the significance of brand voice exercises, but what benefits do they offer? For starters,

They improve brand recognition

Just like recognizing a friend’s voice in a crowd, a unique brand voice makes your brand easily identifiable to your customers.

Brand voice exercises also cultivate customer loyalty.

A consistent and engaging brand voice, with well-defined brand voice characteristics, builds trust and stronger connections with your customers. This makes them more likely to choose your brand over others, even when there’s little difference in the products or services offered.

Ready to unleash our AI learning model on your next brand project?

Brand Voice Exercises Pros & Cons

As with any effective strategy, brand voice exercises have their advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, they provide a structured approach to defining and refining your brand’s voice.

They help create a voice that’s unique to your brand, ensuring it stands out from the crowd.

On the flip side, implementing brand voice exercises may lead to inconsistencies across platforms if not done correctly. 

There’s also a risk of not resonating with your target audience if you don’t adapt your brand voice to their preferences and communication style.

Exercises to Define Your Brand Voice

Having considered the advantages and drawbacks of brand voice exercises, let’s explore some specific exercises that can assist in defining your brand voice.

These include personifying your brand, the opposite approach, and creating a brand style checklist.

By practicing these exercises independently, you can effectively develop a strong and consistent brand voice.

Exercise 1: Personifying Your Brand

Think of your brand as a person. What would it sound like? What would it say? How would it say it? 

This brand voice exercise helps you define your brand’s unique voice by personifying its company’s personality, which is essentially the brand’s personality.

For example, if Apple Inc. were a person, it might sound innovative, passionate, and slightly rebellious.

Exercise 2: The Opposite Approach

This exercise involves defining what your brand is not, which in turn helps define what it is. 

For instance, a luxury brand determined that its brand voice is not casual or slangy. By knowing what it isn’t, the brand can focus on being sophisticated and refined.

Exercise 3: Brand Style Checklist

A brand style guide is a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts that ensures consistency in your brand voice. It covers language, tone, and other rules for how your brand should communicate, making it a valuable tool for maintaining consistency in your brand’s voice. 

Following brand voice guidelines is essential for creating a cohesive and recognizable brand identity.

Advanced Brand Voice Development Techniques

After defining your brand voice, the next step is to refine it. This involves exploring advanced techniques such as tone of voice dimensions, card sorting for brand identity, and selecting brand personality traits.

Exercise 4: Tone of Voice Dimensions

To refine your brand voice, it’s crucial to understand where it sits within the Nielsen Norman Group’s four dimensions of tone of voice.

These dimensions act as sliders, allowing you to balance your voice between two extremes, to find the perfect pitch for your brand’s personality. Here’s how to use each dimension:

Formal vs. Casual
Determine the level of formality your brand requires. Are you a financial institution that needs to inspire trust through a formal tone, or a youth-focused brand that can afford to be more casual and laid-back? Adjust the slider between formal and casual to match the expected communication style of your audience.

Serious vs. Funny
Decide if your brand benefits from a serious approach that underscores your expertise and reliability, or if a humorous tone can make your brand more relatable and engaging. Remember that humor needs to be used judiciously, as what's funny to one person might not be to another.

Respectful vs. Irreverent
This is about knowing when to show reverence and when you can afford to be a little irreverent. While respect is non-negotiable, some brands can pull off a maverick charm by respectfully pushing boundaries. Your brand might honor traditions in one breath and playfully challenge conventions in the next.

Matter-of-Fact vs. Enthusiastic
Consider whether your brand should stick to just the facts or if you can express things with zest and zeal. An enthusiastic tone can be energizing and show passion, but sometimes a straightforward, matter-of-fact manner is appreciated for its clarity and lack of hype.

By thoughtfully adjusting these four dimensions, you can articulate a brand voice that not only distinguishes your brand but also resonates with your target audience. It’s about finding the right balance that aligns with your brand identity and the expectations of your audience.

In your next strategy workshop, use these dimensions as a guide to craft, discuss, and refine your brand’s voice. Through interactive exercises, place your brand on each scale and debate the merits of leaning one way or the other. 

This exercise will not only clarify your brand voice but also ensure that your entire team has a unified understanding of how to communicate your brand’s personality effectively.

Exercise 5: Card Sorting for Brand Identity

Card sorting for brand identity involves sorting descriptive words into categories. 

This visual exercise aids in organizing the attributes that represent your brand’s identity, helping to clarify your brand’s voice and personality.

Exercise 6: Selecting Brand Personality Traits

Identifying brand characteristics that align with your brand is another way to create a unique and engaging brand voice.

For example, Spotify might choose traits like ‘innovative’, ‘edgy’, and ‘friendly’ to define its brand voice.

Refining and Implementing Your Brand Voice

Having defined and honed your brand voice, the next step is to implement it. 

This involves using exercises like Brand Voice Madlibs, ‘We’re This, But Not That’ lists, and audience studies for voice adaptation.

Exercise 7: Brand Voice Madlibs

Brand Voice Madlibs is a fun exercise that involves filling in brand-related sentences with specific words that embody your brand’s unique voice.

This exercise not only helps in defining your brand’s voice but also in experimenting with how it can be expressed in different contexts.

Exercise 8: 'We're This, But Not That' List

Creating a ‘We’re This, But Not That’ list is a simple yet effective way to clarify your brand’s identity. 

By listing what your brand embodies and how it distinguishes itself from others, you can ensure that your brand voice remains consistent and unique.

Exercise 9: Audience Study for Voice Adaptation

Understanding your audience is key to adapting your brand voice. By studying your audience, you can tweak your brand voice to ensure that it resonates with your target market. 

This exercise helps you create a brand voice that not only defines your brand but also connects with your audience.

Case Studies

Let’s examine some real-world examples of successful brand voice development.

Brewdog, for instance, crafted a witty and sarcastic brand voice that sets it apart in the crowded craft beer market.

Similarly, Burger King adopted a regal vibe, using contrasting words to define its tone and create a unique brand voice.

Another great example is Gap. Gap built its brand vibe around equality, inclusion, and fair prices, which has been part of its DNA since day one.

 

They’ve also tailored their brand vibe to different customer groups through their different stores, further enhancing their brand identity.

10 Brand Voice Questions for Workshops

During your brand strategy workshops, it’s imperative to ask probing questions that uncover the essence of your brand’s voice. 

These questions act as a compass, guiding you through the intricate process of discovering how your brand should sound across various platforms and touchpoints. 

Here’s a curated list of questions to drive your workshop discussions and help pinpoint the distinctive characteristics of your brand’s voice:

What is our brand's core mission, and how can our voice reflect that?
Examine how your brand's voice can communicate its fundamental purpose and make that mission resonate with the audience.

Who is our ideal customer, and what kind of conversation do they want to have?
Tailor your brand voice to the preferences and expectations of your primary audience, ensuring it engages them in a meaningful way.

What are the key messages our brand needs to communicate?
Identify the central themes and messages that are vital for your brand to convey and how your voice can deliver them effectively.

How does our brand's voice currently sound to our audience?
Assess the present perception of your brand's voice among your customers to understand where it stands and where adjustments might be needed.

What emotions do we want our brand to evoke in our customers?
Determine the feelings your brand voice should inspire in your audience, whether it's trust, joy, curiosity, or something else.

How do we want our audience to describe our brand's voice?
Visualize the ideal descriptors your customers would use for your brand voice, aiming for adjectives that align with your brand identity.

What does our brand voice need to stay away from?
Clearly define the no-go zones in tone, language, and style to maintain the integrity and consistency of your brand voice.

How should our brand voice differ from our competitors?
Articulate how your brand voice can distinctively stand out from the competition, providing a unique value proposition.

In what ways should our brand voice adapt to different contexts or platforms?
Plan for the flexibility of your brand voice across various media and scenarios while ensuring it remains recognizable.

How will we measure the effectiveness of our brand voice?
Discuss metrics and feedback mechanisms to gauge how well your brand voice is resonating with your audience and fulfilling its role.

By thoroughly addressing each of these questions, you can craft a brand voice that not only captures the essence of your brand but also cultivates a deeper connection with your audience.

Use these as starting points in your workshop to stimulate discussion, gather diverse perspectives, and forge a brand voice that truly represents who you are as a brand.

Conclusion

In a competitive landscape, a well-defined and consistent brand voice can be your key to success.

It’s what makes your brand memorable and distinct.

So, don’t just define your brand voice. Continuously refine and adapt it to stay relevant with your target audience and leave a lasting impression.

Summary

To wrap up, defining a unique brand voice is not a one-time event, but a journey of continuous refinement.

Brand voice exercises, whether simple or advanced, can guide you on this journey.

They help you unearth the unique voice that resonates with your audience and sets your brand apart from the competition. So, keep refining, keep adapting, and let your brand voice be heard!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a brand voice?

A brand voice is like a company’s personality, expressed through words and the way they’re written. It’s what makes a brand recognizable and unique.

What is a brand voice workshop?

A brand voice workshop is a session for defining and refining your brand’s tone of voice to make it consistent and impactful in various scenarios. It’s like training your brand to speak with a clear and distinct voice.

Why are brand voice exercises important?

Brand voice exercises are important because they help define and refine your brand’s voice, ensuring it resonates with your customers and keeps them engaged.

What are some exercises to define a brand voice?

To define your brand voice, you can try exercises like personifying your brand, using the opposite approach, and creating a brand style checklist. These activities will help you establish your brand’s distinct voice and personality.

How can I refine and implement my brand voice?

To refine and implement your brand voice, try using exercises like Brand Voice Madlibs, ‘We’re This, But Not That’ lists, and audience studies for voice adaptation. These activities will help you shape a unique brand voice that connects with your audience.

Featured Articles

Rebranding checklist essentials for a successful brand makeover. This guide ensures your brand's transformation stands out in the competitive market.
Dive into brand architecture with 12 top house of brand examples, showcasing diverse strategies for market success.
Discover the power of brand portfolio strategy and how it can propel your business growth. Unveil types, examples, and effective management techniques for a successful portfolio.

Start Building Your Empire

Ready to put more value into the world and give your brands the platform they deserve. Start building now… It’s free.