I’m one of those people who likes to record TV shows so I can fast forward through the commercials. So if I say, “Go back and watch that commercial,” you know it’s got to be good!

In marketing, presentation is everything. If people are not drawn to your message, it doesn’t matter how amazing your product or service is; they won’t hear it. As a franchise, you need to have a unique, branded voice that ties people to your brand and carves out a niche in the crowded worldwide marketplace so your voice will be heard.

These six steps will help you find your brand voice and ensure that it holds consistent across all your digital marketing platforms, including any social media that your franchisees are doing. Chick-fil-A’s cows are highly recognizable and included in all their marketing.

What Is Your Brand Voice?

Your brand voice is ultimately how you are perceived by your audience. You may think you’re coming across one way when your audience is picking up a different vibe. Matching your franchise’s brand voice to who you really are is vital when trying to be authentic and real with your customers.

Step 1 – Define the Core Purpose of Your Communication

You first have to define the values and goals of your franchise–what you stand for as a brand and what you want to accomplish (your brand promise). This step could involve collaboration with franchisees, employees and other stakeholders to formulate a voice and personality that everyone can get behind.
  • Your brand voice needs to truly reflect who you are.
  • Transparency builds trust and commitment with customers.
  • You want a brand voice that everyone is comfortable with and willing to project throughout the company.
  • What brand voices do you like? You don’t want to be a copycat, but you can use them as models or guides.

Step 2 – Identify Your Target Audience/s

Your most successful content will resonate with users who share your core values and goals. You have to know who you are talking to and what they want to hear.
  • What are their pain points, challenges and needs?
  • How can you address these issues?
  • What do you offer to make life better?

Step 3 – Speak the Language of Your Audience/s

Consider talking to your customers and prospects as you would a friend. Technical or formal language for the sake of “quality” content could be a turnoff. Learn what words they use in online search and in communication with your franchise online or in-person, and emulate that in your marketing.

  • Is slang ever appropriate? (Jack-in-the-Box’s “Tastes Gooder” works with their audiences.)
  • Does using humor heighten engagement?
  • Do users respond better to storytelling as opposed to unvarnished facts?
  • Use highly technical and industry terms sparingly in customer communications.

Step 4 – Setting Boundaries

Is your audience so unique that it “has a language of its own?” How much will you polarize to target your audience? Will creating content for them eliminate the possibility of other prospects becoming customers? For example, an extreme voice could set up a “love them/hate them” response in customers and prospects.
  • Are there topics or scenarios that are taboo for your content marketing?
  • Are profanity or bad manners ever allowed?
  • If a spokesperson is chosen (such as the Chick-fil-A cows), does it represent the whole company?
  • Can individual franchise locations reflect different personalities?

Step 5 – Documenting Your Franchise Brand Voice

Once your franchise brand voice is determined, it should be documented. Creating written guidelines or a style guide will make it easier for everyone creating content and/or speaking on behalf of the franchise to present a consistent voice. A style guide could include:
  • Defined brand voice, e.g., casual, helpful and honest.
  • Clearly defined keywords as well as words or phrases to avoid.
  • Proper use of logos, tag lines, images, etc.
  • Templates or acceptable formats for specific channels.
  • A process for creation, review and approval of content.

Step 6 — Creating Content That Motivates

You want all of your content to result in engagement of some type. This may be just reading or viewing a post, but hopefully it’s having users commenting, sharing your content, or submitting pictures or stories of their own. Circling around to our original thought, content presentation must be something that people want to consume.

  • Liberty Tax’s Statues of Liberty have become icons of tax season.
  • Use stories about doing things differently; highlight your uniqueness.
  • Find humor in unusual places; present user challenges in a way to bring a smile.
  • Be bold and passionate.
  • Choose words that persuade and influence.
  • Be original in your thinking; avoid clichés.
A unified voice throughout the company and at every franchisee location should be the goal of all your marketing. Your franchise brand voice is your guarantee to customers that whenever and wherever they do business with you they can trust the result.

All images from individual websites.