Successful branding is built and sustained around public perception—it involves a careful choice of image and presence that convey certain thoughts, emotions, or other associations. Marketers and other internal personnel often immediately consider a positive logo or design when building or restructuring their brand, but in many cases, “voice” can be neglected.
A brand’s voice can make or break its public image. If you come off as pretentious, you might isolate a key demographic. If you present yourself without character, you may go unnoticed no matter how sleek your visuals are. Using rhetoric as a tool to construct and maintain your voice can ensure not only your brand consistency, but also drastically shape the perception of your company and its related products and services.
Part I: Building Ethos
There are three parts to successfully employing rhetoric in your company’s voice. The first is Ethos. Your Ethos, put simply, is you or your company’s authority and credibility. Ever wonder why you see so many commercials featuring celebrities and athletes promoting a product? Or why so many mention scientific research backing up their product’s claims? Corporations use these tactics to build their credibility with the public—and while it may seem obvious, subtly incorporating Ethos into your voice as a company can build both trust and relatability with your client base.
Firstly, assess what kind of authority you want to showcase—not every company will benefit from a stern, professional, traditionally authoritative tone. Perhaps you’re marketing toys to young children—if that’s the case, the authority you want to build will demonstrate your ability to make something fun. Or perhaps you’re marketing insurance to a much older crowd—in that scenario, you’ll want to establish your history and reliability.
Next, establish your character as a company. Do you want to appear very down-to-earth? Employ language in your voice that is very accessible and denotes a connection to the common man. Do you want to appear illustrious? Incorporate minimalism in your messages that inspire imagination. Do you give to charity and want to seem benevolent? Find a way to showcase it without sounding obnoxious.
Finally, you’ll want to weave these items together and keep it consistent. It’s a nice idea to want to cater to every possible audience, but ultimately you’ll want to zero in on who you’re truly trying to captivate. You’ll want to demonstrate your authority, credibility, reliability, moral character, and personality to your audience in a way that will breed familiarity and promote recurring business.
Next week we’ll take a look at Pathos: the second facet of harnessing the power of rhetoric in your company’s voice.
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