Learn how to begin entrusting your company and brand voice to your PR/communications agency – and strengthen it.
Sound is one of our five senses. Heavily influenced by “voice,” it is the foundation of how we perceive and are perceived by others. When you partner with a PR/communications agency, you put a significant amount of trust in them to represent you. They become part of who you are as a brand and company. They become your voice.
But letting go and building that trust can be tough. Voice is more than words. It’s tone, inflection, and the “feeling” of the letters as they come together. Also, voices differ. Each person’s voice is unique, as is each company’s voice.
Who wants to put their voice into the hands of someone else? Not many of us.
This is where working with an agency with strong communications skills comes into play, especially one that lives in the ever-merging space of traditional and digital communications. But how can you and your agency work together to bring your company voice to life and to strengthen it?
Here are a few tips to get started on the right note (yes, pun intended!):
Share your voice.
Talk with your agency about your company’s brand, culture, and personality. Share a variety (written, verbal, formal, informal, etc.) of previous executions of your company voice – both successful and unsuccessful iterations. This will help your agency learn your who you are and want to be.
Have something to say.
We don’t just open our mouths and start talking without having something in mind to say (well, most of us don’t). The same is true for your company voice. What message are you trying to convey, to whom, and why? What are your goals? What are the best uses of your voice to achieve them? Your agency should be able to advise on strategy and ways to execute it.
Listening is as important as talking (or more).
Your agency should be listening to your voice. Does it sound the way you think it does? Is it making the points you want it to? Is it consistent? An outside perspective is as equally terrifying as it is validating. Let your agency bring a trusted perspective in. Be open to suggestions to strengthen your voice.
Ask to “hear” the voice(s) of your agency.
You want to be confident in the skill set of any person or partner you hire. The same goes for your agency. Ask to see past communications samples from your agency – both in their own voice and as the voices of their clients. Do the voices stand apart from each other in the crowd? Or does it sound like the same narrator no matter the storyline? Be wary of the latter, as your voice may be unexpectedly usurped into the same unvarying style as everyone else’s.
(As a side note, not all communication is verbal. Try to glean insights from non-verbal communications opportunities as well.)
Give it time to develop.
Company and brand voices aren’t all that different than foreign languages. They really are a marvel of their own – growing and evolving in their own space, influenced by the teams who employ it and the industries they live in. Even an agency with experience in your company’s industry will need a little leeway to learn your specific “dialect” and develop into your voice.
Your company’s voice is an inseparable part of its existence. Working with a communication agency can help you strengthen your company and brand voice, hone its opportunities, and bring it to the welcoming senses (I.E. sound!) of your audience.
Want to learn more? We’re listening!
Giselle Mahoney is an account executive with RDW Group. Her life credits include being a mom, wife, mar/comm professional, and wannabe gardener. Success is sometimes questionable on the latter.