Using Text-to-Speech (TTS) to Create a Unique Vocal Brand Identity

Author: brock grattonDate: 05 - 17 - 22

woman on computer - text to voice

When people think about branding, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the visual stuff – the fonts, logos, colors, the whole works. While these visible elements can help establish a brand’s unique identity and strengthen its appeal to consumers, a memorable brand voice is just as essential, especially given the rise of audio listeners over the past few years.  

Customers love brand interactions that feel relatable on a human level. For instance, a website visitor listening to a lifelike, natural-sounding audio version of a fascinating article will likely feel more connected and understand the message and emotion than when they’re reading the text themselves.

Likewise, giving your brand an authentic “voice” lets you match the language of your potential customers, express your brand’s unique persona, and seamlessly get your message across to new audiences clearer and more pleasantly. But who do you create a brand voice in the first place, let alone customize it with different tones, cadences, and languages? One word: Text-to-Speech.

Text-to-Speech (TTS) allows you to create highly realistic custom voices that convey your brand’s chosen characteristics across various digital touch points, whether a voice bot, a talking toaster, a smart speaker, or on your blog. Continue reading to learn how to create your very own vocal brand identity and stand out in a world soon to be filled with different brand voices.

First off, what is a brand voice?

A brand voice refers to the specific tone, style, and language a brand uses to communicate with its customers. In other words, it is a combination of the brand’s distinct communication style and personality.

Imagine you attended a networking event, and you’re chatting with the guests. One individual stands out because their storytelling is impeccable. The language they used, the flow of their words, and their personality all combined to create an unforgettable experience. You immediately think of that person when retelling that story.

Now, think of the guest as your favorite brand online. What stylistic choices and phrases does your brand use consistently? What personality traits would it take on, and what would it actively avoid if it was a person?

All of the above communication styles and personality traits combine to create your brand voice. This voice is applied everywhere your brand speaks, including social media posts, advertising, website copy, blogs, newsletters, etc.

Why do you need a brand voice, anyway?

Should you even care about creating a brand voice? Can’t you use whatever style you feel like that day? Yes, you can, but you risk missing out on the incredible benefits of having a unique brand voice.

In a world over saturated with brands using visual strategies to compete for customers’ attention, you can only stand out so much with your logo, brand colors, website design, and other visual elements. Your written content needs the same attention and consistency you give to other aspects of your brand presence.

Thankfully, a strong, consistent brand voice helps you stand out from the crowd. In a Sprout Social consumer survey that looked into why some brands stood out more than others, 40% said it’s due to “memorable content,” 33% said it’s because of “distinct personality,” and 32% said “compelling storytelling” is the reason. Brand voice plays a significant role in all three aspects because you can’t have a “distinct personality” and a “compelling storytelling” without a unique brand voice. 

A distinctive brand voice can also help you create a lasting impression and form ongoing relationships with customers. That’s according to a study by the Harvard Business Review, which found that people value emotional engagement more than customer satisfaction when it comes to brand loyalty. After all, people want to feel connected, and developing a brand voice that sounds like you or talks to you the way a friend or mentor would, is the perfect way to achieve that. Ensuring your brand voice reaches your customers and prospects in a relevant and personalized way gives them an impression that you value them on a human level and care about their needs.

Lastly, a well-developed brand voice matters because you want your brand to be consistent and recognizable. When you can single out a brand only by their audio content before even seeing who posted it, that’s how you know that brand has an impactful and unforgettable voice.

How to Develop a Unique Brand Voice Using Text-to-Speech

Now that you know the importance of a brand voice, it’s time to develop and implement a custom, branded one for your website, app, product, or service. Use the guidelines below to figure out your brand voice and how to create it using Text-to-Speech technology.  

1. Identify your brand personality.

Developing a distinctive voice for your brand starts with identifying your brand personality. If you’re having trouble gathering your brand’s personality traits, a mood board filled with imagery related to your product or service can give you a better impression of your brand’s overall “character” when you visualize it.

Choosing a voice talent or TTS voice that matches your brand’s persona is crucial to making a lasting vocal impression, so consider everything about your brand that makes you “you” – everything down to your logo fonts and colors.

Using the information obtained from this brainstorming session, jog down a list of human “personality traits” that represent your brand best. Is your style quirky? Easy-going? Friendly? Sensual? Professional? Match your desired tone of voice to these qualities.

2. Decide what you want your brand to sound like.

The voice you settle on will represent your brand, so you must involve as many internal stakeholders as possible to come to a general agreement around the type of voice you want to implement. This team discussion should include market research about how your customer perceives your brand and additional questions about the ideal age, gender, and desired tone and accent of your brand voice.

Remember: When it comes to your brand’s presence, voice and tone can shape the end user’s experience and how your brand is perceived and remembered. Also, using a variety of tones with different communication styles highlights your brand’s flexibility and exclusivity.

So, don’t let the default TTS voice built into some platforms determine who you are as a brand. You’ll risk sounding like everyone else and create a disparity between how you want to be perceived and how users perceive your brand.  

3. Decide how to use this voice.

Once you’ve chosen your ideal voice, you’ll need to decide how you want to use it. If your brand is “professional,” you might want to use formal language that instills confidence in your customers that you mean business. However, if your brand’s personality is “quirky,” you can add some irony, humor, and even an element of surprise to your communication style. No one knows your brand better than you, so keep refining your tone until it suits your needs.   

4. Choose a custom TTS voice that meets your needs.

The type of technology used to develop your preferred TTS voice is an important distinction to make. Currently, you have two options: neural TTS and concatenated TTS. The one you use will depend on your budget, voice requirements, and the user’s environment.

While neural TTS sounds more natural and pleasant than concatenated TTS, it can only run in a cloud environment and is much more expensive. If voice quality is a top priority for you and you have the budget, the cloud connectivity, and meet all the other requirements, then a neural TTS is a better option. However, neural TTS might be unintelligible if your voice is played in a noisy environment, which can be a problem for some users and use cases, like a smart speaker.

Although neural TTS will likely become less expensive over time, using the less costly concatenated TTS has some advantages. For example, concatenated TTS is more intelligible in noisy environments and can be embedded into products and web pages without cloud connectivity.

5. Test, test, test.

Evaluating your TTS voice is crucial to gauge the emotional response it receives from your audience. The goal is to strike a balance between accuracy and pleasantness.

You can test for accuracy by observing how it handles addresses, names, numbers, homographs, and foreign words. Of course, evaluating the effectiveness of the voice can be subjective because people react emotionally to voices. A pleasant-sounding voice that makes a lot of mistakes is often more acceptable than an unpleasant voice with excellent pronunciation skills.

Typically, mean opinion score-based tests ranked on a scale of 1-5 are used to evaluate voices as objectively as possible. Whether you conduct them in-house or outsource them, it’s vital to choose the testing criteria carefully and include things like intelligibility, pleasantness, and naturalness. As the technology improves, your voice will get more natural and intelligible, and the emotional connection users have to your voice will become more critical. Also, ensure the test subjects represent the users who interact with your brand to create the best match possible.

Final Thoughts: A unique brand voice matters

In a world where audio content is quickly gaining traction, brands need to separate themselves “audibly.” Creating a distinct brand voice using TTS is the perfect way to achieve that as it makes your brand more recognizable and consistent, gets your voice heard (literally), among other things. Once you discover a unique voice for your brand, go ahead and implement it. A custom vocal identity can personalize your brand, breathe life into your brand, and form lasting bonds with your customers.

With over 70 different, human-like voices for personal and commercial use, Media Whale provides all the right tools and expertise needed to create a unique vocal identity for your brand. Explore our offerings and register for a 14-day trial to see our AI voice generator and realistic Text-to-Speech in action for free. If you want to learn more, talk to us about how we can help you elevate your brand by bringing your voice strategy to life.