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How to Brand Your Customer Journey

Reading Time: 15 minutes

Good branding showcases your business to the world, the way that you want it to be seen. The best brand voice examples truly tell the story behind a business, which is exactly what you should strive to emulate.

Branding goes beyond simply choosing a color scheme. It’s more than what images you use on a website. The essence of a brand can be seen and felt at any point when engaging with a store. 

Good branding can achieve this with even the most subtle elements, to the point that customers aren’t even aware of it. Think Apple, with its futurist’s approach to design, that transformed function into a style of its own.

The point is, there’s almost no aspect of your customer journey that can’t benefit from and absorb your own unique brand. Even Amazon once made use of their terms and conditions to jokingly reference zombie outbreaks.

Throughout your customer’s journey in your store or with your brand, their eyes are on you—this gives you countless opportunities to leave a lasting impression. 

From your first holiday campaign to your order confirmation email, you can brand your customer journey. Let’s explore how to do just that.

The Difference Between Tone and Voice

When talking about branding, there are often two words that spring up—tone and voice. They might sound like synonyms, but they have distinct differences that you should nail down before pursuing how to nail your brand messaging.

Tone

Tone is, roughly speaking, the approach you take with messaging. It’s the feeling behind the words you use, the vibe your brand gives off, and the ideology it hopes to convey.

While a brand’s tone should remain relatively consistent, it’s also important to understand the old adage—there’s a time and a place for everything. After all, even a friendly and casual brand should know to read the room if any messaging revolves around negativity.

Let’s say a happy-go-lucky candy seller encounters major shipping issues. Simply sending out messaging along the lines of “Oops, sorry!” will likely frustrate customers. 

However, the tone can work even in these situations, if used correctly. For example, “We know you’re looking forward to delicious candy, but we encountered a problem…”

Voice

Similar to tone, your voice is carried through messaging. However, while the tone is the feeling behind the words, the voice is your choice of words.  

This means that the words you use to create your message need to reflect your brand and business. Naturally, this will need to work in tandem with your tone. For example, let’s say the tone you’re going for is high-class and refined. 

With this in mind, you should opt for more descriptive, expressive wording for your marketing. A prime example is a brand that specializes in perfumes and aftershaves. If the tone sticks to an elegant manner, the messaging of “it makes you smell good” is too simplistic.

The voice for this brand, to marry well with the tone, would essentially bust out the thesaurus. The voice would require adjectives like ‘heavenly,’ ‘illustrious,’ and ‘sumptuous,’ along with lofty messaging such as “noble scents for noble souls”.

How to Find Your Tone and Voice

Knowing the difference between tone and voice is half of the battle—deciding on, crafting, and perfecting your own comes next.

Your tone and voice should always reflect your brand. Let’s take a look at Naked & Famous Denim as an example. Their tone showcases that they’re making fun of conventional denim sellers. They work this tone into their products too, collaborating with unorthodox partners.

The brand can change, whether it’s in small ways or large, and the tone and voice should always accommodate this. But before you can think about how to adapt, you first need to nail down your tone and voice.

Let’s take a look at how you can do this.

Brand Personas

One of the best places to start with a brand’s tone and voice is to establish your brand persona. You can base this on brand archetypes and then build on them from there.

These archetypes will usually set a path for how you use tone and voice in your brand. Let’s examine some of them to get a feel for what tone and voice would correlate with your brand:

  • Brands that are light-hearted, casual, and relatable: Archetypes such as the Everyman, the Jester, and the Lover showcase a brand that seeks to connect to their audience as intimately as possible.

    An Everyman brand emphasizes with their audience as peers or equals. A Jester brand uses humour, jokes, and novelties to become alluring to their audience. A Lover brand will close the gap between store and audience, imitating intimacy.
  • Brands that strive to lead by example: Archetypes such as the Outlaw, the Magician, and the Hero showcase a sense of expertise and confidence to their audience.

    An Outlaw brand focuses on being distinct from the status quo, revelling in what makes them different. A Magician brand uses almost overwhelming confidence to ensure the audience of their expertise. A Hero brand opts for an honest approach that sets themselves against bigger brands or industry conventions.
  • Brands that settle into structure: Archetypes such as the Creator, the Ruler, and the Caregiver showcase themselves as reliable, safe bet leaders of their industry.

    A Creator brand puts innovation first, aiming to put creativity in the limelight as their main driving force. A Ruler brand displays their control over their industry, commanding a sense of respect above all else. A Caregiver brand lays themselves at the wants and needs of their audience, reassuring them that they can solve their problems.

Naturally, different archetypes will lend themselves better to some stores and industries than others. However, this shouldn’t pigeonhole your brand if you don’t want it to.

Understanding Your Audience

It should go without saying, but when crafting your brand, you need to know who you’re appealing to. Only then can you begin to understand how to appeal to them.

This can range from how you build your website to how you use your marketing campaigns—even down to simple messaging.

Let’s take a look at Duke Cannon as a prime example of this. Their branding is on point for their products and audience. However, where they really emphasize with and understand their audience is with a pop-up—a pop-up, of all things. 

Look at the first line of the text. “We hate spam, too.” It gets straight to the point, addressing a common irritation caused by pop-ups. Duke Cannon hasn’t just appealed to their audience with this messaging, but they’ve managed to turn this into a message about their own marketing.

Of all the examples we’ll discuss during this article, this may be the best look at just how versatile you can be when branding your customer journey.

What Your Brand Wants to Achieve

Personas and audience expectations are important. But naturally, one of the cornerstones of a brand is the overarching goal it wishes to achieve. 

A brand can be the driving idea for a business. The creator can know what kind of company they want to make, how it is represented, and how it interacts with its audience. However, this approach may become more isolating than helpful.

After all, in some cases, deciding the goal can lead to what you want your brand to be. Naturally, most ecommerce stores will ultimately want to make a profit. 

This might lead them to lean into getting the most customers possible, opting for a friendly, approachable tone, or utilizing a lot of alluring discounts. On the other hand, it could lead to creating a brand that highlights quality, scarcity of stock, and exclusivity for a sense of luxury.

To showcase this, let’s examine two completely different businesses from the same niche. One will likely have begun from the preconceived notion of the brand, the other being more likely to have formed due to its goals and audience.

The first example is a charming chocolate and candy seller, Sweet Pete’s. Throughout its website and marketing, we see brand messaging that looks to primarily engage with children and parents. 

The image above is one of the clearest examples of this. The marketing often uses the message of “It’s more than a store. It’s an experience.” This showcases the store’s products and offerings that include niches like the ‘lolligum class’, making gummy candy, and virtual chocolatier classes. 

Sweet Pete’s is a brand that knows who its audience is and consistently strives to offer products that appeal to them.

Next, we have To’ak Chocolate. From this pop-up alone, a lot of things become instantly distinct from Sweet Pete’s. First, the imagery shows a more grounded view of the product. From the messaging, you also see some of the messaging really stand out. 

‘…a new era of chocolate’ shows that they’re placing their products higher than just a sweet treat. ‘Cacao and chocolate education’ reveals what they highlight as important for their company and their audience.

To’ak Chocolate knows the value of its products and wants the brand to reflect this.

How to Use Your Brand Voice in Email Marketing Strategies

Once you’ve established the ‘what’ of your brand voice, it’s time to execute the ‘how’. Knowing what you want to say is all well and good, but you need the knowledge and experience to get it across to your audience.

One of your strongest tools for this task is creating a plan for how to use different tones of voice in your email marketing strategies. Let’s explore how to do just that, along with some brand voice examples.

Audit Your Current Communication

Before you can properly begin your plans, you should take a minute to stop and think about your current plans. Unless you’re starting a business from scratch with this article in mind, you’ll already have some marketing under your belt.

Consider using ecommerce analytics to see what you’ve done that your customers have engaged with. Closely examine your brand and whether it lines up with what your audience responds to, what you want them to see from you, and ultimately, your business’ goal.

Never be afraid to start from scratch, or revitalize your brand. As you reflect on your current communication, look out to your competitors as closely as you’re looking inwards. 

Is another brand in your niche completely different from yours? Is it having more success with the same audience or less? Does it leave a gap for your brand to fill?

Take a look at these examples from two separate sellers from the same niche:

The niche we’ll examine will be the humble jigsaw sellers. The example above is, at the time of writing, the top Google result for ‘jigsaw puzzles’. While the branding for this website isn’t without its charm, it doesn’t stand out very much.

On the other hand, we have Jiggy. Right off the bat, we see the brand is more stylish, whilst still focusing on the product. It has brand messaging that tells customers everything they need to know about the products. 

These examples simply examine the homepages of the brands. However, just at a glance, you can already get a feeling for how the customer journey will be for visitors to each website.

You can also benefit greatly from creating a content calendar. This is true whether you’re beginning to audit your marketing or you’ve started to notice opportunities mid-audit.

Plan the Communication You Want to Focus on

Some businesses need to focus on their communication more than others. While messaging is vital for any brand, luxury brands need their communication to be clear. They don’t have the luxury of discounts to fall back on—so their messaging sometimes needs to do the heavy lifting.

Whether it’s the issue of omitting discounts or setting your sights on one specific type of campaign, you need to plan your communication.

This includes how you use your branding. Once you’ve established your tone, your voice, and how you present yourself, you can plan how to showcase that to your audience.

For example, Silver Street Jewellers like to focus their brand voice on a combination. This showcases them as an approachable, small family business, as well as world-class experts of their craft.

Consider the following steps and how your branding can integrate with it:

  • Marketing campaigns: The meat of the matter, you need to consider how your brand works in tandem with timing and specific types of marketing. For example, if you opt to use a friendly tone of voice in communication but then send an email a day, you risk coming across as irritating and tone-deaf.

    With this in mind, consider and experiment with the balancing act of how often you send emails and SMS, and even use social posts during marketing campaigns. Do you lean into your marketing and opt to send updates frequently? Or do you go for the intriguing elusive angle and try to make your campaigns more event-worthy?
  • Corresponding with news: If you send newsletters, press releases, or large updates to products and stock, how do you convey this to your audience? Do you use a series of emails, or redirect to a section of your website with this information?

    Consider how either approach should sound to your audience—you can opt for concise, to-the-point messaging, or be tantalizing and playful with the information, aiming to entice them to engage with your brand and website.
  • Essential messaging: Think about when you send an order confirmation or respond to an inquiry. Do you go sleek and simple, using professional but sterile language? Do you lean into a more friendly, casual tone, opting to communicate like a one-on-one conversion?

    Experiment with what you can augment this messaging with. After all, even if an order confirmation has been sent, that doesn’t mean your customer is finished with you. Can you add recommended products? Can you ask for a review? These can even serve as follow-up emails, which you’ll then need to plan out.

Naturally, it’s worth remembering how branding can bloom anywhere. Your communication doesn’t just need to focus on emails. Case in point, when using SMS marketing.

Not just the perfect partner tool for running email campaigns, SMS offers ecommerce stores opportunities to use direct communication—complete with a brand tone of voice. For example, when running a busy holiday campaign, SMS can help to elaborate your messaging amidst the storm of competitors’ emails.

Nail Your Ideal Customer Persona Perspective

Crafting your own brand voice is all well and good. However, the most important thing to get right is how your audience feels about it.

Even the most meticulously crafted brand voice can be torn apart in minutes if the audience isn’t on board with it.

This is why you need to extensively understand your audience and appeal to them directly. Failure to do so means that all of your messaging will fall on deaf ears. Ideally, you want your audience to love your brand voice—or, if you can, expand your audience with it.

Not all messaging needs to ‘go viral’ or become universally beloved. However, creating a brand voice that appeals to your audience and beyond can result in even more potential customers.

Arguably, the king, or queen, of a brand voice appealing to their customer persona is Wendy’s. Primarily seen on their Twitter account, Wendy’s sets the bar with humor immediately, with the bio: “We like our tweets the way we liked our cheeseburgers: better than anyone expects from a fast food restaurant.”

From here, they address their audience of fast food diners with offers and new products showcased with funny tweets. However, they go above and beyond with other audiences, such as gamers and Gen Z customers, by creating a Twitch channel.

Not many would expect a gaming channel from a fast food chain, let alone for them to lean into it so hard. Wendy’s have created campaigns to appeal to this demographic, including the hilarious BOGO bean bag chair. 

Obviously, this is more of a promotion for a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer, but the way they appeal to their audience is undeniably charming.

Prepare Different Messaging for Different Goals

A business’ tone and voice should remain consistent throughout all marketing. The same is true when using omnichannel marketing, as you should focus on retaining a consistent tone of voice in communication. 

There should be little difference between marketing for sales. However, you can make some tweaks when you have different goals in mind.

You need to consider how your customers would react to different goals. Your messaging can change with different email campaigns, such as:

Welcome/Birthday Messages

Your welcome messages are usually the first your recipients will receive when signing up for your mailing. That, or you can opt to send them after their first purchase.

Either way, one element remains—you only send them after they’ve consented to messaging from you. It’s best to put your best face on and start with your best foot forward by setting the right tone for new customers.

The same is true of birthday messages—you’re trying to identify with and appeal to your audience. 

You’re likely sending special correspondence to those who might be your most engaged audience, and you can either double down on the tone you’ve already set or get a little looser.

When you maintain your tone, it allows you to reinforce your branding and establish it to these customers. Alternatively, you can use your most engaged audience to experiment with your branding.

Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment messages ask customers to come back and shop with a brand. With this in mind, it’s hard not to sound pleading. However, this can work into different brands’ hands—either to see eye-to-eye with customers or to show themselves as above it.

This is where luxury brands can excel simultaneously as casual brands appeal to customers.

For example, a casual brand could use messaging such as “Are you sure? It looks good!” and “Oh no, you dropped this!” Each approach is low-pressure and friendly, treating the customer as if they were speaking face to face with a smile.

However, a luxury brand could use messaging such as “You don’t want to miss out” and “When it’s gone—it’s gone.” These aren’t threats, per se, but they’re phrased in a manner that suggests their products are so good it’s not a big loss for the customer to walk away from the table.

Abandoned cart message Omnisend

Upsell and Cross-Sell

Upsell and cross-sell messaging goes to the customers that have previously bought from you. Most likely, they’re fans of your products, and there’s a good chance they agree with or enjoy your branding. This means you can lean into it—even if just a little.

For example, a casual men’s grooming brand uses messaging like “Scrub up, scrub!” Follow-up messaging for upselling and cross-selling could go along the lines of “No longer a scrub, but you can scrub yourself cleaner!”

The Dollar Shave Club has a great example of upselling/cross-selling in its order confirmation email

Understanding how to use post-purchase messaging helps overall. However, it can be used exceptionally well to both renew the customer journey whilst reinforcing your branding.

Transactional Messages

Whenever a customer purchases a product, their customer journey doesn’t end. When sending an order confirmation or order tracking email, you have an opportunity to put a proverbial bow on the package you’re sending.

They aren’t just a confirmation of your customer’s engagement—they’re the confirmation of your brand messaging.

For example, a luxury jewelry brand focuses on positivity with messaging like “You deserve to shine”. A confirmation email could feature the messaging of “Shine on, you brilliant diamond.”

Set up Campaigns and Automations

With any type of campaign or automation process you need to carefully consider certain elements. The frequency your communication is sent out, the messaging you use, and even the type of campaign you run—this can all work with, or against, your brand voice.

One particularly effective campaign to try out is flash sales. These campaigns work wonders for stores that have fast-paced, direct, and casual branding. 

Let’s say that there’s a brand that focuses on exclusivity or sales events. Either option opens the door for flash sales, including the kind of branding that marries well throughout an entire customer journey.

For example, a clothing company that releases limited runs of t-shirt designs. Their usual messaging is that “when it’s gone, it’s gone.” This type of tone of voice in communication lends itself incredibly well to a flash sale.

Whether it’s on their website or throughout email campaigns, they can their brand tone of voice with this special event:

On the Website 

Using pop-ups as soon as the visitor arrives at the website. Instead of the usual promo code or information about a new product, the pop-up could address the branding and the campaign directly.

For example, saying “We know we always say that when it’s gone, it’s gone…But this time we’re serious!” Pair this with a CTA that directs the visitor to a sales page. Have the CTA show an urgent message of “Show me the deals!” instead of simply “Click Here”.

Now you’ve got a highly branded variant to a traditionally unexciting part of the customer journey.

Email Campaigns 

Preparing the audience for a flash sale, with a pre-sale series of emails. Flash sales are either sprung without warning, capitalizing on the scramble of a ticking clock, or they’re hinted at so that customers can prepare for the launch.

In this case, let’s say that this brand opts for the latter. They double down on their messaging of ”when it’s gone, it’s gone” by sending two emails before the event.

The first email simply spreads the news that on a certain date, a certain event is happening on their site—this generates excitement and intrigue. It features the subject line “When this event is gone, it’s gone…” to double down on the branding and the tone of the communication.

The second email reveals the nature of the event—the flash sale. “On XX/XX, the sale begins; grab a good deal before it’s gone!” This could even link towards the page that will open up on the date and time of the sale. Either way, it emphasizes the branding while simultaneously hyping up an event.

Of course, this is just talking about one brand with one type of sales event. The point is that there are ample opportunities throughout your customer journey for branding—you just need to get creative to see and make use of these potential opportunities.

Wrap Up

It’s clear that a lot goes into making a good brand that fits with a business. However, no matter what the brand is, there are always opportunities for using it throughout the customer journey.

This covers everything from creative pop-ups to email campaigns that consider their audience’s wants and needs. At the end of the day, branding can go far beyond simply using words to connect with an audience.

Part of connecting with an audience throughout the customer journey is understanding when and where to use branding. This is where Omnisend steps in. 

With Omnisend, you can make branding simple with easy-to-use email editing. You can also use improved customer intelligence that helps throughout the different customer lifecycle stages.

To see how else Omnisend can help you throughout the customer journey, get started for free today.

Tom Simpkins
Article by
Tom Simpkins

A proud member of the Omnisend team, Tom is a Content Marketing Manager with years of content, SEO, and marketing experience. When not at work, Tom is mixing up cocktails, cooking up a storm, or simply being a massive nerd with comics, books, and games.