“I swore I smelled you at the airport.”
“This shirt smells like you.”
“I met this girl, and she had the same perfume as you. It threw me off.”
In college, I often wore a perfume called Alien by Thierry Mugler.
This was back before I knew perfumes are usually chock full of endocrine disrupters and give me headaches, but I digress. 🤷♀️
The scent was strong, and I had the perfume in a lotion, perfume, and body wash.
I pretty much always walked around with an “alien”-induced-aura of jasmine, white amber, and cashmeran wood.
Since smell is linked to the part of the brain that processes emotions and memories, people started connecting it to me as my “signature scent.”
Before people saw my face, or heard me talk, they first registered my scent.
Even when I wasn’t there.
I didn’t know it at the time.
But this was becoming a part of my personal brand.
To be honest, I’ve never really felt that drawn to the more creative, “brand” side of marketing.
I’m a numbers nerd.
I mean come on, I’m a Pitta/enneagram 3 who is very goal-oriented.
I know branding is important, but it’s always frustrated me that it’s hard to measure.
Until…I heard someone say, “I can always tell when it’s you who is posting, because you have such a strong brand. It’s not just the colors. I can always tell it’s you by the way you write.”
I thought…wait, I KNOW that.
I watch and listen and ask for these exact things when I start working with someone.
I call this process my content questionnaire.
But I’m really just looking for their personal brand voice.
I take notes/get answers on…
- How my clients talk when they’re with me vs. their online voice
- The words they use to describe what they do
- Their strong POVs within their industries
- Their personal writing styles
- And even try to notice their favorite emojis
All of those things, when done well and with consistency, become their “signature scent.”
I’ve had a client who uses a catch phrase sign-off.
I’ve had a client who never uses exclamation points and loves data.
I’ve had a client who always uses the yellow heart emoji.
These elements make up some of their signature scents.
A brand voice is exactly like your signature scent.
It’s more than just your logo, fonts, and color palette (although you should absolutely have these if you don’t already).
- It’s that phrase you always say that you don’t hear that often (“good marketing is 1:1 conversations at scale” is one of mine)
- It’s that story you tell again & again to your audience (usually your origin story)
- It’s that thing you love that somehow makes it into every newsletter (for a while, this was with me corn LOL)
- It’s the cadence of your sentences (my average sentence length is 11.31 words)
- It’s the way you punctuate – e.g. using parenthesis (you know I love a good parenthesis) or brackets
- It’s the metaphors you use (I love sports and funny life stories)
- It’s the tone you take (I try to be relatable, practical, and make you laugh)
- It’s the archetype you embody (in true profile 4/6 fashion, I try to embody your wise bestie)
- It’s the styles you use (I’m a list writer and a white-space lover)
- It’s the way you interact with your audience (I’m always asking and responding to y’all in my inbox)
- It’s the way you make people feel (I want you to feel like I’ve got your back; I’m the friend you call when you get a flat tire or don’t know how to have a tough conversation)
Now that I reread this list, the brand voice is also starting to sound like an accent. But that’s another story about my Freshman year of college. We’ll save that one for later. 😉
If analyzing your own writing feels overwhelming, try doing this instead:
- Stick a bunch of your written material into this website and have it analyze it for you.
- Paste the following prompt into chatGPT:
- Can you analyze my writing for:
- common phrases
- tone of voice
- how I make people feel
- the archetype I embody
- the cadence of my writing
- the stylistic elements I use most often
- the way I interact with people through my writing
- common punctuation
- general themes and topics
- Can you analyze my writing for:
- Ask your friends and family (or your readers) to describe your “signature scent” in a few words or phrases.
Time to make your signature scent the thing that makes people most excited to work with you! 👃