A brand's voice is an aspect of a company's product. When people think of a product they associate it with its unique image and "personality". Language that a brand's representatives use, what it stands for and how well they communicate with their customers all fall under this term. It translates into how well the product will be sold.
However the problem that some people have when a company ventures into the world of making a voice for themselves is that often times the techniques used are very manipulative to the point where people find themselves purchasing items and services they don't use or need. Are the companies to blame because of their unfair advantage of vast knowledge on the psychology used for marketing or is society to blame because of their lack of knowledge on the subject of protecting themselves from such psychological marketing attacks? Well here is my opinion.
Companies have a lot of marketing strategies and I can't cover them all in one blog post, but I will cover the one that a lot of companies do and that I believe is one of the most effective ones lately. Brands use social media to create a "person" that people can relate to. What started it all is the case of the fast food restaurant Wendy's and their Twitter. This case is interesting because for the first time in marketing a company has made comments on a competition's service and products. A few years ago the food chain's tweets blew up on different social medias because of how public and entertaining they are. Here are some examples:
These tweets are a smart strategy to create an Internet persona, which people can relate to, because of the human-like drama that it creates. The persona is likable because it was intentionally designed to have an entertaining factor included. This way it seems more as an actual person behind the keyboard that people can talk to and connect to rather than a company that constantly tries to advertise a product and shove it into people's faces.
Some time passed and other companies started following into Wendy's steps. Some even branched into making memes:
All of these social media marketing adventures beg a question. Did it work? Did companies increase their sales?
The answer is yes. And much more effectively than expected. Not only did people relate to the “person” behind the keyboard, but making such posts on social media is a good way for a company to get viral. The more people that view these posts the higher the chance is to attract more customers.
And then comes the more important question. Are companies exploiting us and if they do, who is to blame?
Although most people say that brands are to blame or that both society and brands are, I say that only society is. Yes, techniques such as memes and personifying a brand are mostly known only to companies but nowadays there is access to a lot more information than in the past. The Internet has opened a lot of eyes about the tricks used in advertisement and the only people that are exploited are the ones that haven’t educated themselves on the topic. A person is exploited when they spend their money on products that they might not need or use. Strategies range from basic manipulation through color to “hidden” advertisements on the web that stay as images in the back of our mind and we unconsciously prefer the product being advertised for no real reason. Although it seems unethical to use them, companies just try to make a living for themselves. Something that every person does.
Once a person is conscious of the marketing strategies he is no longer a victim of them. He notices them and makes a mental note that this company might be trying to make him buy their products. So in conclusion, use the endless resources that are given to us by the beauty of the Internet and inform yourself. Be sure that you spend your money on the right things and that you support the companies that you truly want to support. And if there are any marketing teams reading this, market away. It is not your fault people are uninformed.