Having the right sound and message is as important as ever in terms of standing out from the crowd.
In luxury, both a fresh and simultaneously mature brand voice will go a long way.
In branding, the voice, that is the brand’s sound and message, is often overlooked in favour of how the brand looks visually – and often at the brand’s own peril. After all, having the right sound and message is as important as ever in terms of standing out from the crowd. Having a great brand voice entails taking up the language of your target group.
A brand voice can best be described as the distinct personality a brand takes on when communicating – through audio or text – with potential clients. For example, if a company sells skateboards and skateboarding gear, they would have to make the distinct attitude and language of the skater their own. The same principle applies when you’re in the luxury market. Using the right phrases, rhetoric and choosing the right person as brand representative are all part of strategically aligning your brand voice with your client base.
Branding with minimal use of language might have worked perfectly for luxury brands through the 90s and early 2000s. Luxury brands translated easily across borders – and it looked great on the pages of glossy magazines. But the world has changed – and luxury branding has had to change with it. Over the past few years, providers of luxury goods, services and experiences have had to embrace language as a vital brand asset. In fact, recent research has shown that luxury consumers in particular are, now more than ever, desirous of being part of their favourite brand’s stories.
It is therefore of paramount importance that you tell the right stories and provide compelling content to constructively engage with your target audience. Of equal importance is finding the right person to tell those stories: a luxury icon and brand representative that your audience can relate to – ideally someone recognizable from within social circles that occasionally overlap or intersect with their own.
In order to understand what your brand voice should look like, your point of departure should always be your company’s mission and vision statement. You should be able to pull some defining personality traits from these statements, as well as those core values that resonate with your target audience. Re-evaluate your existing brand voice in light of these statements.
One of the most common misunderstandings regarding the luxury brand voice is that it should be either overtly posh or business like. On the other hand, language that make you sound “hip” or postmodern wouldn’t serve your cause either, as through it you might lose your message of exclusivity and luxury touch. Remember that the most important aspect of your luxury brand voice is that you sound like you really understand the lifestyle and desires of your audience – making them feel like they’ve found a soulmate.
A good brand is just like a trustworthy person: the way you speak is in harmony with appearance. Really understanding your brand voice entails developing consistency in your brand personality as a whole.
Rather than starting from the point of thinking in terms of vintage or aristocratic language, think in terms of the heart and soul of your brand. In luxury, both a fresh and simultaneously mature brand voice will go a long way. If your brand’s voice is rooted in your company’s essence, the brand should naturally express itself in ways that remain constant and relevant throughout the ages.
Paul Russell is co-founder of Luxury Academy London, a multi-national training company with offices in London, Mumbai and Visakhapatnam. Luxury Academy London specialise exclusively in the luxury industry and deliver training in leadership, communication and business etiquette training for companies and private clients across the globe.
Prior to founding Luxury Academy London, Paul worked in senior leadership roles within luxury hospitality. A dynamic trainer and seminar leader, Paul has designed and taught courses, workshops and seminars worldwide on a wide variety of soft skills.