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  • Writer's pictureTracy

Minicast: Brand Voice - Guidelines

Updated: Jul 7, 2022

Coffee grounds, espresso, and a pretty latte at the VanWhy CoOp
Starbucks is redefining their brand voice to meet the needs of consumers.

Our previous episodes have discussed what is brand voice and touched on types of voice. Before we break down the categories of potential voices in the next episodes, we would like to discuss what defining your voice will be used for in your company.

We think beginning with the end in mind is a great way to pontificate.

The areas where you will need to utilize your voice are defined by Sprout Social as:

Everywhere your brand speaks, including newsletters, social media posts, internal official communications like company announcements and advertising.

Simple, right? Your voice, is everywhere.

Let's take Starbucks, as they just happen to be rebranding their voice as we create this minicast. Here is what they say:

The Starbucks voice is evolving to unite our brand and meet our audience’s needs.We’re confidently turning down the volume of competing messages to elevate experience, removing obstacles in the way of people finding exactly what they seek at Starbucks. By using both functional and expressive voices, we’ll create more space for brand relevance, connection and joy.

Let's consider some examples using Voice Guidelines from Starbucks. The link to these are in our show notes. Starbucks has divided their voice into two parts to make the whole: Functional and Expressive.

In their functional voice - they are educational and helpful. The company defines WHERE and WHEN this voice will be used = for ordering and wayfaring. It is worth mentioning that they define what functional voice is not...which ties into their second brand voice, expressive. Starbucks's expressive voice is where the personality comes out - it is passionate about coffee and delivers this in a fresh, relevant and interesting way...making every word count.

On the brand voice page, Starbucks provides examples of how their voice comes together, again, the visuals are on our show notes. On the website example, we see the functional voice announcing "Your favorites are back" Then listing some beverages that appear to line with fall - S'mores, Mocha Cookie Crumble, Carmel Ribbon Crunch..." Below that we see the expressive voice in the "Awww yes" caption. Starbucks also provides Social Media examples, in-store signage, print ad, and the rewards card language utilizing this practical expressive voice.

We hope these examples help you consider where your voice will be used. Because next up, we will break down the types of voice.

Until then, we hope you have a day full of ease.

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