What Samuel L Jackson can teach marketers about voice: the key to finding a common voice for disparate audiences.

One of the challenges we keep encountering pertains to voice. We have a client, whose product appeals to a variety of quite distinct audiences (different ages, tastes, incomes and lifestyle triggers), each of whom has quite different motivations for purchase.

So, how do you talk to all of them, in an equally engaging and appealing way? Or can you? Yes, you can, but you have to worry less about their differences, and more about who you are as a brand.

It can be a challenge, and one which truly tests a brand’s willingness to back its own distinct persona—but the key to achieving effective engagement across your disparate audiences, lies in being true to your brand essence and finding your own voice.

Be yourself, not a people pleaser.

One of the key rules of branding is: the moment you try to please everybody, you actually lose them. The weak, inconsistent and indistinct voice that results won’t have the memorable cut-through that a distinct, consistent and identifiable voice offers.

This challenge reminds me of the time I interviewed Samuel L Jackson at the Australian premiere of The Hateful Eight. Having been a film critic for some time, I’ve encountered two types of actors—those who very much maintain character when you interview them, and those who revert to what one can only assume is a more natural version of themselves. Samuel L Jackson was the former.

Throughout, he maintained the distinct timbre and cadence we’ve come to know and love as uniquely his. His voice—the way he delivers lines, often sharply scripted by the likes of Quentin Tarantino—has become key to his brand, and we love it. I love it, my mum loves it, my daughter loves it—three generations with very different tastes and styles, all enjoying this singular voice.

Oftentimes, it doesn’t really matter what Samuel L Jackson’s characters say. It’s how he delivers those lines that gives them punch and humour, an emphatic hit of dialogue deliciousness. He is the perfect example of how audiences from a range of different demographics, tastes, and backgrounds can all enjoy a voice when it’s distinct, authentic and consistent.

So how does a brand find its voice?

One of the key foundations of branding is understanding who you are, what your values are, and how that forms your personality. Are you serious, smart, funny or friendly? What’s appropriate to your industry, and your product or service?

You can begin by knowing your brand persona—are you a sage, or a caregiver? A wizard or an innovator?

Once you know who you are, it’s important that you spend some time finding your voice. Something as simple as selecting a well-known voice to reference, will be a game changer for everyone who writes for your business. 

It could be the headline act of your campaign, such as the quirky and self-deprecating key character of the iiNet campaigns, or Sam Kekovich for MLA. Or, it could simply be the voice you hear when you read the copy.

Are you David Attenborough, or Stephen Fry? Oprah or Julia Roberts? When you understand the key qualities of your brand persona, you can find a voice to match, and that characterisation will ensure all of your communications are consistent, delivering a feel that is authentic and true to who you are.

Using a famous or well-known voice to define your tone of voice is a simple yet very effective way of maintaining consistency in your communications, and bringing your personality to life. So, who are you?

If you’re struggling with finding your voice, or would like to build a clear brand strategy, we’d be happy to help. Email: hello@quipbrands.comand we’ll get in touch.

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