November 25, 2020
In advertising, we coax, we coo, we woo and we sell. We persuade, and in a way, we negotiate with our target – through brands. One of the most important aspects to developing a strong brand is developing the right voice.
Former FBI negotiator and business coach, Chris Voss, says that everything in life is a negotiation. If you’re trying to get someone to say yes to something (your product or service), you are in a negotiation. He has devoted his life to sharing tools on how to work with your counterpart to reach your goal.
Let’s take a look at some of these tools, out of the business context and in the advertising world. You may find a common thread – that tone is key.
We do this all the time – we empathize through tone, by having our brand voice reflect the mindset of our target. People love knowing that they belong, no matter how they identify themselves. The closer we can get to their core identity, the more we can connect.
This is about dealing with the elephant in the room; allowing for a voice that lets you acknowledge your weaknesses can truly get your target to empathize with you.
There’s nothing more disarming than taking on a playful voice. It tells your audience that you are here to brighten their day. You can get away with a lot, using a playful voice. In Chris’s words, “Everybody loves someone who will tell them the truth, as long as that person is worried about how it lands.
Tone is key in negotiations, and negotiating is at the heart of advertising. Too often, we rely on a borderline templated “warm, friendly, professional, confident, approachable” tone, but these proven negotiation tools show us that the most important thing about tone is being human.
It’s a scary step to walk away from what seems, at first, safe, but in advertising, nothing is less safe than doing something that doesn’t stand out.
So, as you develop your brand voice, think about what it is that can make yours human, personable, relatable, and as a by-product, totally unique and ear-catching. Do the safe thing, and add the right ’tude to your tone.