Sting. Dylan. Neil Young. Bono. Jagger. Good singers. But what really sets them apart is their unique vocal quality. Before their lyrics penetrate you, before their melodies mesmerize you, the sounds of their voices draw you in.

It sets them apart from everyone else. It’s their differentiator. Their brand.

Your first brand touch point

Your voice is your brand. It needs a unique sound. Especially today where it’s first "heard" — online, in the written form.

Your voice appears like notes on a piece of sheet music. On your Web site. Your blog. Seeping out through every comment you leave, every Twitter update, text and instant message.

It is the very first touch point of our brand.

Despite the fact that it’s inaudible, you’re Internet voice can speak volumes about who you are, what you think and what you stand for.

The more we resort to self-publishing tools that act as loudspeakers for our collective voices the more our individuality — our timbre, our unique voice — gets raked into a big pile of visual similarity, denoted by the few font styles and sizes we all use.

The result, upon that very first impression, is that our distinctive and unique voice is overlooked.

Like scents, companies have paid intense attention to the caretaking of their written voice by focusing on its sight and sound.

Apple uses a custom Myriad Pro font. They also structure their message using simple, staccato sentences — More Power. Thinly disguised. — rather than long-winded, descriptive narratives.

British Airways crafted their written voice with the use of a customized Mylius font that stands as an immediate identifier. Had I written this post using Mylius, you’d have recognized their voice first, not mine.

The chime of your brand

Your written voice can often lay flat on a page with long sentences and fat paragraphs. They can drone on, verse upon verse, never peaking, never arriving, never breaking for the chorus.

Your written voice can stutter by virtue of repetition, saying the same thing over and over, drilling the same point home again and again and again and …

Your voice can be too loud. It can overwhelm and project off the page through bold fonts, rainbow colors, styles and sizes that scream at the reader and muffle the otherwise beautiful tone of your intent.

Your written voice can have an accent. It can ring like a Southern belle. Cut with Euro precision, and generate nuance by virtue of its own personalized ding.

When your written voice rings, your brand chimes.

Dear Ketel One Drinker:

In the film"Get Shorty," Bo (Delroy Lindo) threatens director Harry Zimm, who refuses to cough up a screenplay for Bo to produce. Bo believes he can easily write his own. All it takes are some lines of description, dialogue and a few commas. We all know better. It takes far more than that to move an audience. Move a story. Evoke a sense of meaning. Or build a brand.

Your written voice, like its spoken counterpart, if presented properly, can have an even longer lasting effect. Here are a few ideas:

Create a brand-identifying font that is different from the standard Times New Roman, Arial or Verdana everyone else uses.

Pay careful attention to where your written voice is placed on the page and how much space it occupies. Ketel One Vodka has.

Be as selective as possible when it comes to the words you use. Every word, every comma could or could not convey the essence of what your brand stands for.

This is the beginning of the birth of your brand. Welcome.

Marc Davison is a partner at 1000watt Consulting. He can be reached at


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