How to Use Customer Reviews to Build Brand Messaging In Your Customer's Voice
TL, DR: Put customer reviews & testimonies in spreadsheet, read them for nuggets, use the nuggets as copy, messaging and to guide brand voice.
As a top advertiser, I know the best ads come from testimonies and user-generated content.
Many years ago, I developed a process in my masters that uses a scientific, data-based approach for developing brand voice using only the voice of the customer.
Since then, I’ve used this process with Fortune 500 companies, universities across the states, TED, Sony, and countless eComm and lead generation brands.
I describe how to do the process yourself below. You can skip all that and let Vox Verba do it for you with a Your Voice of Customer Copywriting Guide.
Want to learn how yourself? Read on.
It works every time.
I’ve had founders and executive teams cry and get chills from how spot on this process is.
I use this as the first step and the core of every single thing I do with my customers. This is the manual, highlighter and pen process that inspired the smart reports available through Vox Verba as automated copywriting guides now.
To start, place all testimonies and reviews in a spreadsheet.
I use Google Docs. You probably should too.
You need at least 50 to build a comprehensive identity, but even with 10+ reviews, you’ll find this process can give you pieces of gold.
STEP 1. SIT WITH YOUR REVIEWS.
Pour over them slowly.
Read each one with a real voice out loud or in your mind.
This first step is to get you familiar with the overall feeling of your customer’s voice.
STEP 2. FIND THE GOLD.
Get your highlighter and pen.
Maybe 1000 post it notes too.
In your second read over, start highlighting phrases and words that stand out to you.
They can be ones that make you smile, make you feel proud.
Maybe the phrase makes you feel curious about the person who said it, who even feel close to them.
Powerful or frequently used adjectives.These become a core piece of figuring out your brand’s identity
Idiomatic expressions. Idioms are cultural phrases that are not easy to translate. For example, “A solution like this never crossed my mind.”
Phrases speaking to objections, ease, authority and product or service details
Phrases that make you feel something. Connection, joy, humor.. Anything emotive should be captured
- Examples of small stories and experiences shared.
Now take a break and do something new with your mind.
You need to come back to this with a fresh spirit.
STEP 3. MAKE MEANING OUT OF YOUR FINDINGS.
Are you feeling existential yet? You probably should.
If you own, operate or manage a brand, you are a meaning-maker.
Humans assign meaning to words, symbols, phrases and stories.
Your job, or our job if you work with Vox Verba, is to find the most meaning and opportunity hidden in your customer's voice and words.
Now read through your highlights.
Before I developed Vox Verba's automations and smart signals, I copied these highlights into a deck (I love Paste app by WeTransfer for this) and then start sorting them into types of copy and brand messaging using the categories below.
Copy and Messaging Elements
I build with brand archetypes because they are ancient and powerful.
Brand archetypes are 12 known and defined categories of human symbols that have been in stories for centuries.
Every archetype is meant to resonate with a group of people.
Most brands have a primary archetype and a secondary and sometimes tertiary archetype.
It can be challenging to nail down, but you should absolutely define a primary archetype. Once you have clarity on your archetype, you have access to a universe of words and stories to bring your brand alive at a moment's notice.
Brand archetypes are a Mad-Men-esque secret in the branding agency world. Most big agencies use archetypes to develop massive brand identity and international campaigns. If you're an international brand builder or agency owner, you them by heart.
Every Vox Verba Copywriting Resource includes archetype recommendations and resources based on your current marketing assets and data.
After this step, I layer in phrases using the same process but from founder's voice data taken from a facilitated interview. You can schedule an interview with one of our qualitative brand scientists with the Founder's Copywriting Strategy Guide
Vox Verba interviews draw from tactical empathy and positive psychology methods to find the most emotionally powerful and transformative copy possibilities.
Your interviewer is trained to keep the conversation focused on positive impact and values, which when turned into copy and brand messaging, resonate with lifetime customers.
When you are done with the process and you've documented all your copy insights, you can and should come back to these words every time you write copy or develop a new project.
I use it as the starting point for training new team members on the brand and how to write in the brand's voice.
Smart brands who order both have the benefit of getting an analysis of their customer and founder voice match (a steal of an insight at only $600 for the combined reports).
Out of every brand we have worked with, only one has been a 100% brand voice match between the customer and the founder.
How important is the match in your tone and vibe?
You'll have to test it and see. Our customers report a minimum of 3x higher engagement and an immediate lift in sales and conversion. Most teams report more than 10x higher engagement and unprecedented audience and revenue growth.
I'd love to see what kind of magic happens for you with this process.
You can let me know or ask questions by reaching out at andrya (definitely with a y) at voxverba.com.
If you'd like to have a copy strategy straight from your founder's voice, order the Founder's Copywriting Strategy Guide.
If you'd like to have customer voice insights based on your customer reviews, order the Your Voice of Customer Copywriting Guide.
Voila! Now you have copy in your customer's own words.
Best wishes on your voice and words journeys,