Brand Voice: Where the Magic Happens

By Megan Gray | Aug 05, 2019

This is the fourth post in our Fuel Made Grant for Growth series. Follow along as we launch Supply, our 2019 recipient, into growth.

Just diving in? Read up on the posts you missed:

01. Announcing the winner of the Fuel Made Grant for Growth
02. Let’s talk about the Fuel Made Growth Model
03. Creating an ecommerce growth strategy

It's exciting to overhaul, or to build a brand from scratch—but it's challenging, and rewarding, to optimize and refine something already started. 

The Process

01.  The Fuel Made Growth Model

What we’ve identified as our Fuel Made Growth Model is the cumulative result of years (and years!) of our collective experience working with top digital brands. It’s the hard-earned and battle-tested knowledge of what works, what really moves the needle. And what doesn’t.

In other words, we don’t guess. Ever. We use data to drive and support our strategy, and to ensure our clients’ growth.

Like every Fuel Made project, our Growth Model is the blueprint and lifeline for seeding Supply’s growth. Growth that looks like:

  • improved conversion rates, particularly for new visitors
  • decreased bounce rates, and
  • improved page speed.

And that’s just the start.

02.   Discovery/ Strategy

In our last post, we outlined the unique discovery process that kicks off each Fuel Made project. To begin, we develop a custom survey tailored to each client’s specific business goals and challenges. It’s a collaborative effort from each member of the team, ensuring we’re accounting for all facets of the project—not just how it looks. When the survey is complete, and reviewed with our client partners, we study the findings with our Strategist, Brand Designer, UX Designer, and Developer to form an ecommerce growth strategy that informs every move we make. 

With a growth strategy in place, and our creative team aligned, we can begin to explore the Brand Voice: the heart and character behind everything we say.

What’s in a Voice?

Voice exploration is first about:

  • defining who you are,
  • before you can plan what to say (content),
  • and how to say it (tone).

When done well, and with great care, the result is a cohesive customer experience, from a homepage headline to a support email. When you know who you are, your customers can, too.

Jumping into visual design before you’ve done the homework can be done—but it can’t be done well. And we only do things well. In this case, we promised Supply we’d take their “good” and turn it into “great,” and that’d we’d share our methods along the way.

Let’s go.

The Challenge

THE TONE

Our early discovery work with Supply revealed an incongruous tone across various channels. The homepage sounded different than the support emails, and different than their social media captions and responses. A problem of inconsistent tone, stemming from the problem of an undefined voice. 

Are we witty and playful? Confident and bold? What and why and who and how?

THE AUDIENCE

Supply is a premium brand, not a luxury brand. Luxury brands don’t necessarily solve a problem, they’re about identity and status. Premium brands, on the other hand, are driven by providing the best features for the best value, and pushing customers to pay a higher price for a better product.

Often true of premium brands, a significant challenge Supply faces is a low conversion rate among new visitors. They convert at less than 2% but account for nearly 85% of traffic. This challenge presents an opportunity to leverage voice to build trust and educate uninitiated users about their product. Simply put, spending $100 or more on a razor, and shaving with a single edge, is a paradigm shift for some of their audience. Worth it, worth every penny, but we need to explain why. In a way that will land.

Tone matters—because premium isn’t sarcastic, and it isn’t arrogant.

The Approach

A brand voice, like character, isn’t made overnight. It’s the result of deep exploration and discovery. But that discovery, even with a robust set of voice brand guidelines handed down to you by an agency on high, is worth nothing without execution.

When we engage in voice and copy work at Fuel Made, we expect to be able to connect each piece of content back to our previously defined voice principles. We check each phrase and paragraph, every chat message and Facebook comment, against these principles. Because consistent alignment and a cohesive voice make for an excellent customer experience, and that’s where the magic growth happens.

Fuel Made Voice

The Execution

Supply has a significant body of existing copy that tells the right story and has the right message, but could be made more clear.

Fuel Made Supply Copywriting

On first pass, you might not connect the word “closer” to the type of shave they’re promising. You might not actually know what it means that the perfect shave is closer than you think: Is the razor coming soon? Is this a Kickstarter thing? What’s happening?

But what if we declare this, right at the top?

Supply Fuel Made Homepage Copy

We certainly believe it, so we might as well say it—and then spend the rest of the homepage experience supporting it.

The update, minor as it seems, does a better job of:

  • Communicating the value proposition clearly and succinctly
  • Confidently promising the best shave of your life
  • Removing friction and unnecessary time spent deciphering the message

But we do not and cannot stop there. The voice touches everything on the page. Right down to The Big Ask—can we have your email address?

Our discovery identified email marketing as a significant opportunity for growth for Supply. While their current efforts are converting well, email marketing only accounts for 5% of traffic.  List building is an important strategic objective for most brands, but is often an afterthought in content tone. It’s not enough to say “enter your email address.” 

You don’t get to be Allbirds by ignoring the details.

Supply Copywriting

Supply is premium, and premium is confident; but it doesn’t have to be commanding. Because Supply is also accessible, grateful for your business, and excited to have you in the family. So instead, we invite them to get closer, playing on the type of shave their product will guarantee. Committing to how we want the customer experience to feel. 

The Audience

Over 60% of visitors landing on Supply's homepage are coming from social media channels, which generally bring more top-of-funnel visitors. Visitors who are interested in learning more about a brand, but may not be as ready to make a purchase compared to a visitor from shopping-focused channels like email or paid search. 

In other words, we have to work a little harder to earn their business. 

On their current site, Supply wisely introduces the Single Edge, their flagship product, right away. But every second counts, so let’s make it more clear.

Fuel Made Supply branding

Now we’re talking—and moving visitors down the funnel without friction, by being clear, confident, and real. 

Just like we promised.

The Summary

We’ve laid the groundwork with our strategy, set the course with our voice, and in our next post, we’ll share how it all begins to come together in design. 

Don’t forget to follow along.

Want to stay up to date on Supply and the Fuel Made Grant for Growth? Sign up here for regular updates.

Fuel Made Grant for Growth Updates to date:

  1. Announcing the Winner of the 2019 Fuel Made Grant for Growth
  2. Let's talk about the Fuel Made Growth Model
  3. Creating an ecommerce growth strategy
  4. Case Study: How to turn a good homepage into a great one
Megan Gray

Megan Gray

Megan is Fuel Made's branding expert. An unstoppable creative force, Megan brings over 10 years of visual design, brand strategy, and copywriting experience to the team. When she's not in front of her computer, she dedicates herself to animal rescue, too many comedy shows, and exploring the trails near her home in Orange County.