A picture may be worth a thousand words, but in the digital age, finding, knowing, and OWNING your voice also brings immense value. While we're in the golden age of visual-everything, brands must still understand that images shouldn't necessarily outweigh placing emphasis on the copy. In fact, the most successful companies often see both as important tools to capture their audience's attention in a way that is engaging and relatable. From social captions to catchy taglines, today's article will speak to crafting a voice that can live (and thrive) in the digital space.
While certain industries have specific standards and trends, it's important for brands to maintain a balance between industry expectations and what is right for them as a business. When it comes establishing this upfront, many brands create brand identity books or draft a manifesto that outlines who they are (or who they want to be). Having these initial guidelines helps to not only lay a foundation but creates an element of consistency. Even though details may change over time, having something to refer to will allow brands to continue speaking to their customer in a way that is consistent. Visual trends may change over time, but consistent communication pays off big-time, as customers not only know what to expect but stick around because they like what they're hearing.
With the technical aspects aside, the question posted for many brands (after they've assembled an amazing mood-board, curated their "Archive" sections on Instagram, and finished their #regrammed spree) is this: What do I have to say and how do I say it? While there's no concrete answer, a good starting point is defining your point of view. Some brands have an easier time honing in on their style, and others turn to their customer community. For those who don't know where to begin, sparking a conversation is the best way to research what "tone" to take with your followers. This can be done through mini Q&A's on Instagram posts to asking questions in your post's caption. Through trial and error, brands can assess what works best when it comes to copy style, length, and themes.
Now that we've laid the foundation for cultivating a consistent brand voice, we'll end this article by sharing a few tangible examples of brands who have mastered their storytelling ability. For starters, #letsbefrank and look at Frank Body (@frank_bod). Witty, humorous, and with a tinge of sass, Frank Body has crafted a voice that has given way to a full-on persona. As you'll see on the brand's website and namesake social channels, "Frank" tells it like is and keeps it short. On Instagram, the brand's use of concise, yet humorous copy complements their visuals perfectly (which helps to paint the full picture of what the brand is trying to get across, whether it's a lifestyle-focused #regram or something more product-centric). In short, Frank Body is a great example of a brand that makes their copy and visuals work in tandem.
On a grander scale, we all know Nike for its infamous "Just Do It." slogan. As the brand has become more social-first, they've been able to translate this phrase, and more importantly its attitude, into their copy. While their captions may be short and sweet, they have an undertone of empowerment. Take this video post, for example. The caption reads, "What will they say about you? Maybe they'll say you showed them what was possible." It's simple, but enough to entice their followers to dive deeper, watch the video and understand the context. For a legacy brand, their approach may be less literal, but Nike has been able to craft a consistent voice that touches on their overarching themes of empowerment, motivation, and athleticism. They are an amazing example that demonstrates the important role copy plays in supporting and always pointing back to a brand's big-picture values. Our last example showcases a lifestyle start-up that is anything but a snooze - enter Casper (@casper). For a company that prides itself on making mattress shopping fun, they've pulled off quite a feat (in more ways than one). We first got to know their charming and quirky voice when they launched their ad campaign on New York City subways. But focusing specifically on their Instagram, they always manage to write captions that consistently tie back to the idea of sleep. Casper's ability to tell a story about something that is ultimately meant to inspire rest STILL entices people to do the opposite (read: go out and purchase a mattress). This level of CONSISTENCY in copy demonstrates that by holding true to your brand's core pillars, you can sell anything.