In this episode of “Death to the Corporate Video,” Guy and Hope discuss what a brand voice is, why it’s essential for building B2B brand awareness and how to create one (or check if you have one).
As B2B brands focus more and more on brand awareness activities, we’ve noticed that many of them do not have an established or consistent brand voice. They want to make more content, but lack the framework needed to ensure all the content has the same voice.
In this episode of “Death to the Corporate Video,” Guy and Hope discuss:
Before you think, “But wait, we have a brand voice. It’s definitely a line in our brand book” and skip this episode, ask anyone who creates content for your brand what it is. If they don’t all give you the same answer, you don’t have a brand voice.
Oh, and listen all the way to the end for a surprise announcement.
Learn more about Guy, Hope and Umault at umault.com
Guy Bauer: You're not making it easy to get that brand awareness you crave. It's gotta be all consistent. One tone of voice. And then you become remembered. You get remembered by not even just the creative. You get remembered by the way in which you speak, in the way in which you always present yourself.
Hope Morley: Hello, and welcome to Death to the Corporate Video, a podcast with tools and advice for how to make video ads your prospects actually want to watch. I'm Hope Morley.
Guy Bauer: I'm Guy Bauer.
Hope Morley: Before we get into today's episode, I did want to acknowledge that this is our 50th podcast episode. So thank you to listeners for coming on this journey with us.
And thank you Guy. We've been doing this for a while.
Guy Bauer: I can't believe it. Yeah. We used to rent a studio at a recording studio and take like two hours to record one episode. We were all nervous and now we just do it in literally almost live. Right? It's fun.
I like podcasts. I've always liked it actually. Well fun fact. I started a podcast in 2004 when it first came out. It was called the Guy Bauer Half Hour. I've always liked this as a medium because you get to listen on your time. Yeah. 50 episodes. What do we get?
Hope Morley: What did we get? Like what? From, from Apple podcasts?
Guy Bauer: Or, I mean, what do you get?
Hope Morley: Spotify is buying us for $50 million.
Guy Bauer: Sweet. Should we do a pledge drive now?
Hope Morley: Yeah. Now we're going to open up to subscribers. We'll have exclusive merch.
Guy Bauer: Yeah. Yeah, we should have a hotline where I leave messages every day. And then you call in. So I was part of the Aerosmith fan club in the nineties. And you could call in every day for recorded message, but it was never from like Steven Tyler or Joe Perry, the ones, everyone. It was like Joey Kramer.
Hope Morley: I don't even know who that is.
Guy Bauer: Kramer's the drummer. So you'd be like, Hey, Aerosmith fans, this is Joey Kramer.
Hope Morley: It’d be like, today is May.
Guy Bauer: Yeah. Yeah.
Hope Morley: Appreciate you being a fan.
Guy Bauer: And then we're like, Hey, I'm Shelly. I manage Steven’s scarves on his microphone every day we have to iron them. See you later, like I would call in and I think it was a one 900 number too.
Hope Morley: So you were paying to call.
Guy Bauer: On top of being in the fan club.
Hope Morley: And now you would just follow Shelley the scarf girl on TikTok and be able to see everything she was doing for free.
Guy Bauer: Isn't that crazy? How things have changed. Things have changed. And now we're at we're at that part. So we are taking this opportunity to debut the Umault hotline. It's a 900 number where you listen to messages every day. We'll record a new message.
Hope Morley: Or, you know, you could just message us on LinkedIn and you can talk to us anytime you want.
Guy Bauer: That's an easier way, I guess. What are we talking about on our 50th episode?
Hope Morley: Our 50th episode appropriately, the word voice is going to be in the title and these are our voices unrelated, but we are talking about brand voice. And specifically in B2B and why most B2B brands seem to not have a brand voice and why you should consider adding one to your brand book.
Guy Bauer: What is a brand voice?
Hope Morley: Good question.
Guy Bauer: How do you define it?
Hope Morley: I define brand voice as a clear and consistent way that your brand communicates across all platforms. So I think a lot of people think about brand voice in terms of just social of, kind of how your brand interacts with people. Twitter, Facebook, whatever platform you're on brand voice is broader than that.
It's also how you write the copy on your website, how you do your ads, any sort of written or verbal communication that your brand does under your brand umbrella would be part of the brand voice. So for example, your brand voice might be, can I say what ours is?
Guy Bauer: What s our brand voice?
Hope Morley: Is this confidential? I think, I think, you know what it is.
Umault's brand voice is professional with a side of odd is how we communicate with the world. So that's even including on this podcast with anyone who has been with us through 50 episodes could probably say like, oh yeah, that sounds right. And you see that in, if you see our video ads that we make for ourselves, they're kind of funny and quirky, but also.
You know, we're in B2B, so there's a professional aspect to all of it. So we, we, we really do use that framework when we're thinking about writing things for our website, I think about it when I write social posts for us, when we're making new ads for ourselves, it really does give you a framework to think about how you're communicating with.
Guy Bauer: Yeah. And, and I think what happens eventually is when everyone, I mean, we have a very small organization. Umault. But all of us are aligned on the voice, so I didn't know it just now, but now that you said it —
Hope Morley: But you do know it.
Guy Bauer: I do know it. but like, to me, it's very just, Yeah. Of course.
Like we would never write something that's not that, like, it just seems kind of innate now that that's our voice. Like, you know, it would be weird if we started these podcasts. You know, what's up fam get ready for another episode of Death to the Corporate Video. You're not going to want to miss this one, you know, like.
Hope Morley: Exploding noises. Yeah.
Guy Bauer: Right, right. Yeah. Yeah. But also we wouldn't start this with organizations today demand—
Hope Morley: In today's fast paced economy.
Guy Bauer: Right. That that's not.
Hope Morley: Odd enough.
Guy Bauer: Professional with a side of odd. Yes. Yeah. I would also define brand voices, like your point of view on the planet or on things like, what is your point of view?
But to me, the brand voice then dictates. Do we make a funny ad? Do we make something that makes people cry? Do we make something poetic or is it something pithy? And like, what is, what are we doing? To me that has to pass the litmus test of like, does it fit our brand voice? Like you can't just, we did work for a client who shall be unnamed, who was very professional. Outward facing, but then wanted silly work. And to us, we were like, that's a mismatch. It doesn't make sense. Like your voice is professional. And in the service line, they were in the sector. They need to be that. Right. And they wanted something silly. It didn't make sense.
Hope Morley: Right. Your brand voice should give you a framework to be making these decisions. When you're thinking about concepts for these campaigns. And doing an ad or a campaign outside your brand voice, it can cause cognitive dissonance in your customers and prospects. And in the example that you're giving, it could also cause a lack of trust or just confusion in your viewers.
If they're used to someone professional and they're expecting someone professional, and then you come up with something silly, it's not going to increase trust in your prospects.
Guy Bauer: And I think to your point, you're saying a lot of brands just don't have one. Perhaps the issue, there was our client didn't necessarily have their brand voice agreed upon or written down anywhere. So they were kind of defaulting to a voice when it wasn't actually their agreed upon intentional voice.
It was just kind of a default voice. And it's almost like then they were acting like a rudderless ship, just going wherever. So what you're saying is you need to define your brand voice.
Hope Morley: Yeah. But you need to get your whole marketing team on board with this and in agreement and working within this framework, because then you can make sure that you've got that consistency between the people who are writing your social posts, the people who are doing your ads, that people doing your website copy down to your case studies, really everything should be working within this brand voice framework.
And then when you. You know, from our perspective, when we come in and we're trying to pitch concepts for video ads for clients, when we know that there's a voice, it gives us something to work within, but it also gives clients a way to make informed decisions when they're choosing concepts. Because we, we like to work within the buckets of ads should be beautiful, funny, or they should make you cry. And if your brand voice is like Umault's professional with a side of odd, funny, really works for us. So when we come up with our own stuff, we pitch ourselves funny. But if that's not, if that side of odd and that quirkiness isn't in your brand, then we are more likely to pitch something that might be beautiful or something that might make you cry.
And if you, as a marketer, You might personally like funny and you might see the work that we've done for ourselves and people point at that and say, do that for me. But if it's not within your voice, you know, it, I don't want to say it doesn't matter, but it's going to, it might end up being the wrong choice.
Guy Bauer: Another way to think about brand voices. So when writers come up in Hollywood, usually what they do is they have to have a writers pack that they go around and pitch to people to show that they can write. And normally what they'll do is they'll pick a sitcom and then write an episode of that existing sitcom.
And that's showing that the writer can write within someone else's constraints or zone. And everyone back when I was coming up in the early two thousands, they would write. Like Seinfeld episodes, friends episodes. And the reason why is those characters were all very clearly defined. So it was easy for writers to identify what Joey is going to say to Chandler in this scene, because it has to make sense to those characters.
Same thing. When thinking about your brand voice, think of them as like a character, like a person and. And then in the future that the more you codify this brand voice, then just like how those writers can write subsequent episodes, knowing exactly what Kramer would do in this situation based on Kramer's character profile.
That's the same thing you can do as a brand. You, you would say now our brand would never say that you can weigh possible creative, you know, copy visuals, whatever based on now, that's just not us. Like I know it's good. It's good. It's for some other brand it's not for us. The brand voice allows you to. And honestly, when outside people like us, come on. And there's a very clearly codified brand voice. It's easy for us. We're like, yeah.
I know exactly what your brand would say at this point in time, how they would say it. And instead of trying to figure it out from scratch. Yeah, We can come in now. Consumer brands are really good at this. Nike, you know, their brand voice. It's like, just do it. Like it's all about empowerment
Hope Morley: it's going to be those inspirational sports motivational things.
Guy Bauer: A lot of our clients in the B2B space do not have codified brand voices, which then yeah, it it's just, it, it makes it just a difficult process to come in and, and, you know, do something, when the brand voice is just like, I don't know.
It just sounds like a white paper. That's not a brand voice.
Hope Morley: No, when everything sounds like a white paper, you've made a decision to not make a decision. That you've unofficially avoided the topic of brand voice and made the decision to just try to be neutral and try to not have a voice. And I mean, that in and of itself is it is a decision. When you look around the B2B space, I think you see a lot of SaaS companies have made a conscious decision to have a voice.
You see a lot of, I think of a lot of those project management sites, like monday.com has a very defined voice. I think Notion has a very defined voice. HubSpot has a very defined voice. And when I say those brands, I think a lot of people who are familiar with them, probably they know what I'm talking about.
When I mentioned HubSpot, you know, they're educational and they're friendly and informative and kind of light in a way. And that's why they can get away with doing an ad campaign with Kathryn Hahn as a pirate because they have this brand voice established that they're helpful, but they're also funny.
And. They're going to be an enjoyable brand to have an interaction with. So it, I don't want anyone to come away with this from this episode, thinking that establishing a brand voice is actually restrictive because it kind of sounds like that's what I was getting at before. When I was talking about a framework that you can make a decision.
And I actually think that once you make a conscious decision to have a voice, it opens up creative possibilities because it gives you something that. You can work within, you can make clear decisions and you have a direction that you can take your work in.
Guy Bauer: So like you mentioned HubSpot and a notion, what does notion do? What
Hope Morley: They're like tasks and project management note taking.
Guy Bauer: I would bucket these companies. They're definitely B2B, but they're on the lighter, like you said, the lighter end less enterprisey although HubSpot can do enterprise, but anyway, a lot of our clients are in the enterprise space and they would say, listen, our customers don't need any cutesy wootsy HubSpot stuff.
They're trying to make, you know, big software or systems implementation decisions, and these are multi-million dollar deals, but. Why do they come to us? They come to us for brand awareness. Well, how do you gain brand awareness? One of the aspects and probably the, one of the most critical is start by having a voice.
Like what can people expect from your marketing and, and not everything should be silly and goofy. Uh, so. You know, can just be like, wow. Yeah.
All their stuff always has like a really emotional tie-in makes you remember why you got into this or it's so motivational, blah, blah, blah. So the idea is a lot of times people think by doing brand voice, it's gotta be either funny or like poetic or something like that.
Like it doesn't like, it's just about being consistent in one direction. That actually sounds like a point of view, not just kind of bland white paper stuff. It works for enterprise too.
It's actually the fundamental root of successful enterprise marketing has made a decision to have a voice. I'll point at Accenture. Let there be. I forget what it's called, let there be insights or let there be something. I forget their campaign, but they bought Droga5 and then Droga5 made them a campaign.
And so I would say there's no, you know, Accenture's one of the biggest enterprises ever, and they have a voice go look at Accenture stuff. IBM, look at IBM's
Hope Morley: Yeah.
Guy Bauer: Has a clear voice it's in the funny ish realm to IBM's voices like airy and light. And I can't describe it. It's just so good. It's smart, but it's, it's like funny people smart or no it's I mean, it's smart people funny. So big enterprises can have a voice and yours needs one.
Hope Morley: Especially.
Guy Bauer: More important actually.
Hope Morley: Having a clear voice makes you more memorable it in its own way. And this is only a small contributor to your overall brand marketing. But what it does is it makes people know, like when they have an interaction with your brand, that they know that it's you. Right. kind of in the same way of when you listen to your favorite podcast, you hear someone's personal voice and you know, our personalities, you know what we sound like, and you know what to expect when you put on a podcast like Death to the Corporate Video or whatever your favorite podcast is, the same can be said of a brand interaction of when you see a LinkedIn ad, it should be consistent with when you've been on their website and it helps you remember.
Each time you come back and you interact with that brand, even if it's just in those little ad touchpoints, or if you've been on their site a couple of times, it gives you a feeling and helps you remember what this brand is about and why you should buy from them.
Guy Bauer: So, how do you come up with, we didn't talk about this. How do you come up with a brand voice? Like how do you determine what your brand voice is? We haven't rehearsed this folks.
Hope Morley: I would start by looking through the content that you have, assuming that you are not starting from scratch with a startup. But if you are an existing company that realizes that you don't really have a voice, I would start by going through the content that you have and writing down adjectives that.
I would describe the content that you already have and also aspirational things. How would people describe working with your brand? What feeling do you want people to have if that's authenticity or authority or whatever, for a professional, funny, quirky, helpful. And then from there. Pick maybe two or three of those to put together into a phrase like ours professional with a side of odd, or you can just list them as authentic and friendly and you know, something else.
And then take that voice and you, it would take a lot of time, but I would comb through the content that you have and make sure everything is consistent with that voice, starting with your website and the bigger pieces. Going down to, making sure that people on your social are going through that, going through your ads and kind of cleaning them all up and making them consistent with that voice that you set.
Guy Bauer: Yeah, another way to do it too, is look through like, if customers do leave reviews for you anywhere, go through the reviews and see what they say about. They may actually, the reviews themselves may give you insight into what people think about you, how they see you, because a lot of times, you know, you're in the jar, you can't read your own label.
You may actually have a voice that just hasn't been codified. And by codified, I mean, turned into Cod the fish, uh, that's what I thought codified was. Anyway, but yeah, so the point is, is that most likely you do have a brand voice and maybe like, maybe people like it, you just need to codify it.
Or if you don't have one, try to do some discovery of where your natural, where you naturally like being and what people find most engaging, looking at posts and, you know, uh, content of like what had the most engagement. And that means, you know, and that's going to signify that you're onto something.
But so like, why does this all matter? This all matters because. I think, you know what it is, how this topic came up is I was going through one of our clients, YouTube and looking at our ad in the context of all their other stuff. And I'm like, all of this stuff is kind of just random. like some of it is really stuffy.
Some of it's cool. Some of it's not cool. Some of it's funny, some of it's not funny, like it's kind of just everywhere and if you know how people make decisions, they make decisions on heuristics and system one thinking just very quick things. And if people can't put you into some kind of construct, right?
Of like just some mental shortcut that they have when they see your logo. They're like, oh yeah. That's like, when you see the apple logo, you're like, oh, cool. Inspiration. I'm going to be an artist and stuff and save the world or whatever with my art. Um, that's how, like, those are mental heuristics, but if every interaction with your company is something different, sometimes it's funny.
Sometimes it's sad sometimes it’s just corporate and boring as hell you're you're not making it easy. To get that brand awareness you crave, it's gotta be all consistent. One tone of voice. And then you become remembered by, by even again, the medium is the message you get remembered by not even just the creative. You get remembered by the way in which you speak, in the way in which you always present yourself.
It's critical. It's crucial
Hope Morley: It is. Yeah, because if somebody's taking the example of that client, If somebody watches one of the really professional stuffy videos and then goes to the website and they're finding that the website doesn't follow that same voice or vice versa, they see something that's quirky and funny and kind of silly.
And then they go to the website and they find something that's very stuffy and professional. I used the word cognitive dissonance before it's confusing and it's probably going to increase the chance that they bounce because you're. You came, expecting one thing, you're finding something else.
And so you're just gonna move on. You know, we have to remember that people, people don't want to give you a lot of time. And so you get that click. And if you don't capitalize on that split second decision, that someone is that decision that they're making, as soon as they land on your website or your landing page, or even cause they went to your YouTube channel or your social.You might be losing them forever. It's kind of sad and scary.
Guy Bauer: Very scary folks.
Hope Morley: It’s scary out there. So have a voice.
Guy Bauer: This is a simple thing to do to like, before we were professional with a side of odd. I remember, It was Captain Kirk. That was like our brand persona or whatever. Like, we didn't call it a brand voice. But like everything was filtered through captain Kirk.
So it was like all bold and like, yeah, let's do it, you know, And kind of, I don't know, risky.
Hope Morley: And maybe a little bit nerdy
Guy Bauer: Nerdy. Yeah, exactly. Yep. Nerdy. So you could even come up with a character, a fictional. It could be a celebrity, could be a politician. You're trying to make a heuristic for people to just speak in that tone of voice.
Think of those writers that have to write. It's much easier to write to Kramer than it is to. I don't know some other poorly defined TV character, like, who do you remember? You're going to remember the characters who have a character.
And that's what you got to do. Go do it and report back.
Hope Morley: Yeah, take a look. Do you have a brand voice? And does everybody follow it? You know, this is the other piece too, that I think there's probably a lot of brands out there that have this as a line in their brand book, but it's not something that's perhaps looked at very often or an end decisions aren't made based on this.
Guy Bauer: Yes. I think that's a, you know what, because a lot of listeners are like, no, we already have that. It's in our brand guidelines. We all know what the voice is. And
Hope Morley: Do you?
Guy Bauer: Have these things and they totally, you know, they don't because you know why the brand voice isn't like, it's not divisive enough or has it's all like, you know, like we're human.
Oh Yeah. Human.
Hope Morley: Cool.
Guy Bauer: Yeah. Like that's not enough. Because human can apply to anything like anything. Literally everything is human. I really can't wait until human dies.
Hope Morley: Not humanity.
Guy Bauer: Not humanity. I cannot wait until human.
Hope Morley: Surprise. We are robots.
Guy Bauer: Well, it's all like authentic human, you know, all those buzzwords.
Hope Morley: And that's why you need multiple adjectives, because if you just say human or authenticity or something like that, but that's not enough to give you a framework. Like you need to have, you do need to have multiple words because that's how you can make decisions based on what this voice actually.
Guy Bauer: Make it simple too. Don't make it a thing that you got, you know, someone needs to read a whole paragraph and go through a course on, you know, it should be something that's like very simple to understand. Professional with a side of odd. Everybody knows what that is.
Guy Bauer: Yeah, Have a voice. Your people do. Honestly, you're going to have one, no matter what,
Hope Morley: Yeah, so you should define it and take control.
Guy Bauer: Take control of it. Right? Well, this has been a great episode. Our 50th. I'm looking forward to our tote bag and the starting up of the Umault hotline.
Hope Morley: If you would like to talk to the Umault team, whatever our phone number is on our website.
Guy Bauer: Yeah. We have a phone number. You know what? I want someone to call us. Call me or Hope I'm going to give out this phone number. First person who calls us gets an Umault tote. We will make a custom Vistaprint one of one Umault tote bag to the first person that calls either me or Hope it's area code (312) 265-0932.
Hope Morley: That is our real number.
Guy Bauer: Be caller one. It'll be a real person that answers and you can ask for Hope or myself and call and say hi, and then I'll, we'll get your address and send you a tote.
Hope Morley: In honor of our 50th podcast episode.
Guy Bauer: I hope Vistaprint makes totes.
Hope Morley: We can find a way to make a tote. Zazzle we'll do it. We'll make a tote.
Guy Bauer: They got totes. Oh, they got good ones or a backpack. Should we make it a backpack
Hope Morley: No, it's going to be a tote.
Guy Bauer: Right? Yeah. Cause It's gotta be something that like you end up like donating two years from now.
Hope Morley: You shove it in your pile of tote bags. You use it once in a while when you're like, oh, I actually do need that. But a tote bag, like it's actually not a really great size for carrying anything.
Guy Bauer: I hate tote bags.
Hope Morley: Can’t use it for your groceries.
Guy Bauer: Get on the phones now.
Hope Morley: For a useless tote bag, but we will send you one. Scout's honor.
Guy Bauer: Oh, this, yeah, this is good.
Hope Morley: Give us a call, or if you want to learn more about Umault and our team, you can visit us on our website at Umault.com. That's U M A U L T.com. You can also find us at Umault to cross all the social media channels, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, not really TikTok.
Guy Bauer: I'm on TikTok.
Hope Morley: Yeah.
Guy Bauer: Yeah. And remember, phones are open (312) 265-0932. This is Imagine Dragons on Umault radio.
Hope Morley: Did we mention that Guy used to be on the radio?
Guy Bauer: Phones are open folks.