May 24, 2022
5 minute read

Corporate Voice & Other Confections

After about six hours of Googling “Ultimate Peanut Butter Goodie Recipes” (because really… why not?), I ended up tearing open a package of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs that were leftover from last Easter. Times are rough. Those delicious calorie filled delicacies got me thinking about some of the ads I’ve seen over the years that featured these little tokens of chocolate covered happiness. Why did I remember certain ads after so many years? What was the reason that I owed such careless disregard for my waistline to this company?

It was in the way they presented their product that made them sound so good (and so okay)! It was quite literally their corporate voice. It might have also had something to do with the creamy chocolate and peanut butter filling. Without those ads we all might have thought, “Who wants to eat an egg filled with peanut butter?” I mean… maybe.

I’ll be right with you…I need to open another bag. 

Voices Carry

So - on to this corporate voice thing. You might think “Yeah, I’ve got branding down. I know who my audience is and what I’m selling.” Okay, great! That’s not the same thing. Corporate voice is not literally a voice per se. So, hiring Mariah Carey to sell peanut butter eggs might not work unless the whole package is included.

Your corporate voice is the personality shining through the tagline, the visuals, and presentation. If you’ve got the right ingredients, blend them, bake at 350, and decorate with all the embellishments your heart desires. Can you imagine turning on the television and a commercial for those very same Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs appeared, except the voiceover was done by the guy who did the aggressive Monster Energy campaign? Or perhaps an angry sportscaster? It just wouldn’t fit. I wouldn’t buy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from someone growling at me, much less a peanut butter egg.

Sure, the product is visually there, in all its glory. The brand is clear as day. The pitch is there, too! They know what they’re selling and to whom - hungry sugar fiends. But the voice is all wrong. The tone is not inviting. It certainly doesn’t fit the product–and it’s just not appealing to the target demographic. They’re not trying to lure you into a cavern of dental work with candy wrappers at your feet. Their strategy is geared for an energy drink. If you don’t turn the television off, your brain will short circuit and you’ll never enjoy those peanut butter eggs again without the trauma of being yelled at by an aggressive man who just wants you to eat candy. He can eat his own candy. I’m going to meditate in the closet with a beer and a bag of pretzels. 

Research and Analysis: A/B Testing

Alright, we know you really don’t want to yell at people if you’re trying to sell a peanut butter egg. So…what’s the best way to figure out the right tone and most effective corporate voice to nail the sale and keep ‘em coming? Forbes offers this nugget of wisdom regarding A/B testing (A/B testing means showing variants to users to analyze which variant performs best): “We’re most familiar with the idea of A/B testing in the context of testing designs for conversion rates or headlines to see what drives clicks. But it’s also possible to do an A/B test for voice. The variable that you’re chasing is a bit more intangible, so it requires some thinking. But one strategy would be to send email marketing to test subjects in your prospect or customer pool and see which drives a higher level of engagement. Each email would represent a specific type of “voice” that you’re experimenting with. This could be reflected in your choice of headlines, copy, and subject matter. By measuring engagement, you’ll be able to determine a winning voice.”

Consider how you would craft various approaches to social media. Which posts get the most engagement and which are ignored altogether? The more authentic and personable posts are going to win over your audience. Unless you’re selling missiles. If you are…hire the guy who screamed at you about eating his candy. 

Taglines That Resonate: UX Research 

More than likely missiles are not what you’re selling, and in that case it’s good to do a bit of research to understand the tone you need to successfully reach your desired audience. Think of your customers. You’ve got to have a specific approach to reach them successfully or you’ll end up with no place to land.

Your clients are people you are bringing in to become part of your business, so to speak. This is what you must think about when crafting the perfect tagline. “You can get a good indication of voice by what taglines resonate. If you’re looking for quick feedback from your marketing, doing a simple market research survey or a series of interviews on what tagline best represents your brand can give you a useful barometer. A number of market research services give you access to on-demand audiences that can give you answers in minutes.” (Forbes) Think of your clients as co-owners and you’ll begin to get an idea on how you should address them.

What’s the Message in Your Web Design?

Messaging matters–even if you’re selling peanut butter eggs. Ask yourself “What is my message?” To do this, you need to be clear as to what values define your company. How does your company communicate these values with a truly unique voice? For instance, if the ultimate customer experience is crucial to your company’s vision, your corporate voice will reflect that. Your content will let your clients know how you can help them and why that is more important to you than competitors. If employee development is your core value, you will need to use language that speaks to that. As long as your voice embodies a genuine tone that invites as well as informs, you’ll be able to say what you need to say and reach your target demographic more effectively. 

We’ve Got You!

Hierographx, an expert user research company in Michigan, can provide UX research and analysis as well as an expert team of content creators to absolutely nail your corporate voice. 

After all, it worked for peanut butter eggs.

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