On the off chance I’m early for a meeting with someone who’s yet to meet me face-to-face, I’ll preface our catch-up with a visual clue: look for the girl in pink.
Yes, I adore a particular shade of this rosey hue called millennial pink, which hit the mainstream at a fever pitch around 2015. And in 2018, it’s still not going anywhere.
Because of this colour preference, people like to make a lot of assumptions about me.
I’m blonde (she’s ditzy).
I spend a lot of time on the phone (she’s shallow).
And I’m dressed head to toe like a barbie doll on most days (she only cares about shopping).
"You’re different than what I’d thought you’d be," is a phrase that rolls out of people’s mouth often.
They’re generally surprised that I’m not quite as bubbly as I appear, and that I can string a sentence together without an exclamation mark.
It’s true, I look like the human form of the love heart emoji, but I’m far more introverted and introspective than people would like to believe.
(People who are, more often than not, completely unaware of their deeply ingrained misogyny).
And these attributes that define my personality flow through into my writing.
My brand voice is more calculated, precise, in-depth, and accurate. I look for just the right word, my blog posts stretch into the 2000-word limit, and I like to reference statistics to back up my claims.
Harvard’s global online research study, which included over 200,000 participants, showed that 76% of people (men and women) are gender-biased and tend to think of men as better suited for careers and women as better suited as homemakers.
Despite the fact that I look a certain way, playfulness, love and enthusiasm do not play a large part in my brand voice…even though people think that as I am a #ladyboss, they should.
Which begs the question:
Does love need to play a role in your brand voice? If you’re more serious in person, but your target audience isn’t, does your brand voice need to speak their needs, or your personality?
Whether you’re looking to embrace love and playfulness as your core brand voice attributes, or you need just a pinch to liven up some dull copy, injecting your prose with love-led language can hit all the right notes with your target audience.
But like myself, it’s not for everyone.
So when do you know when to use it? And how much is too much?
The case for love-led language
Trekking the terrain of entrepreneurship can be a lonely slog, full of moments where you beat yourself up, indulge in hate-talk and flat-out forget to respect yourself.
Hence the prevalence of new service-based businesses which seek to provide a sense of community based upon intuition, helpfulness, and yes, love.
Amongst them is Abundant Boss Babe by Jenna Black, who I came across on Instagram late last year.
During times when I’m feeling a strong sense of lack, Jenna’s tone of voice provides comfort and warmth.
Her copy emphasises a few core attributes – enthusiasm, empowerment, community, and of course, love.
These particular sentences below, pasted directly from her website, use love-soaked language to speak directly to the reader, emphasising their self-worth with a strong focus on going after what you deserve.
"It’s time to give yourself permission to be the woman you say you want to be."
"You’re a divinely feminine, abundant being. An oh-so worthy woman, destined for magic in her life."
"Together we’ll build your wildly abundant empire as you back your worth, get laser focus on your vision and stand confidently in your feminine power."
As a business that essentially helps women to boost their profits, creating a sense of urgency might be the obvious choice.
But not so for Jenna’s target audience. Calls-to-action that coax to "JOIN NOW!" and "GET IN BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!" use fear and not love, and Jenna’s audience is more responsive to the latter.
FYI, if you’re marketing to a broad audience that consists of both genders, you can still incorporate a more feminine tone. Seeing as women make or influence buying decisions for anything from a house to a meal plan, it pays to romance with feminine appeal.
That’s where love comes in. By using this voice attribute, Jenna is able to steer her readers in the right direction by guiding them to a positive experience. They’re not just about to make more money – they’re about to accept themselves and raise their self-worth.
When can love go wrong?
To create a truly resonant brand voice requires consistent authenticity.
If you can’t exude warmth and compassion at every touch-point, your customers will call your bluff, and you’ll lose that connection with them.
If you’re going to speak to your audience’s passions and dreams on Instagram, your brand voice needs to flow consistently through your auto-responders, your website and your ebooks.
On top of that, love-led language can only work when true vulnerability is added to the mix.
Remember the Whole Pantry? Belle Gibson – Australia’s very own fraudulent health blogger – launched a blog, a cook book and an app to inspire healthy living. The premise of The Whole Pantry stemmed from Gibson’s alleged battle with cancer, which turned out to be a grand hoax.
Even though she’d spent years nurturing an online community by encouraging self-love and inner peace, her entire business went belly-up overnight once her hoax was revealed.
If she was lying about her poor health, how could customers and readers believe anything she said?
That’s the thing about love-soaked language. It’s easy to put it on like a fluffy pink coat, peacock around espousing self-care and woo-woo.
But the minute your credibility drops, the whole charade will be revealed.
And there goes your brand.
The case for love-led language
So yes, I think LOVE is an excellent brand voice attribute. You can incorporate it into your sales pages to sell more without feeling skeezy, and to cultivate a supportive community. It feels good to care for others and have that reflected back to you.
But love is not a temporary fix.
So to answer my first question: If you’re more serious in person, but your target audience isn’t, does your brand voice need to speak their needs, or your personality?
Be loving. Be warm. Be caring and gregarious.
But only if that’s authentic for you.
Do you want to learn more about discovering your authentic brand voice?
My new ebook will show you how it’s done.
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