Stand out from the crowd: Building a brand voice that connects

REPUTATION - Ron Jabal - The Philippine Star

In a business landscape where diverse cultures intersect and consumer preferences evolve rapidly, the concept of brand voice stands as a crucial element in shaping consumer perceptions and fostering brand loyalty.

Brand voice encompasses the tone, personality, and messaging style that distinguish a brand’s communication with its audience. It serves as the cornerstone of brand identity, enabling companies to convey their values, establish emotional connections, and differentiate themselves in competitive markets.

In the Philippines, where cultural diversity and heritage play significant roles in shaping consumer behavior, establishing a compelling brand voice requires a deep understanding of local nuances, values, and sentiments. Philippine brands often draw inspiration from the country’s rich tradition, languages, and social dynamics to craft authentic narratives that resonate with target consumers. Whether through humor, nostalgia, or social relevance, brand voice serves as a vehicle for storytelling and connection-building in the Philippine market.

Authenticity lies at the heart of a compelling brand voice, and Philippine brands are adept at leveraging their heritage and unique identity to foster genuine connections with consumers.

San Miguel Corp., one of the largest and oldest conglomerates in the Philippines, has a unique brand voice that reflects its legacy, innovation, and commitment to nation-building. The brand’s messaging emphasizes its diverse portfolio of products and services, ranging from food and beverages to infrastructure and power, and its role in driving economic growth and development in the Philippines.

Max’s Restaurant, known as “The House That Fried Chicken Built,” embodies the warmth and hospitality of Filipino dining culture. The brand’s brand voice emphasizes its heritage and tradition of serving delicious comfort food in a welcoming atmosphere.

Goldilocks, a household name in the Philippine bakery industry, has a brand voice that evokes nostalgia and tradition. The brand’s messaging celebrates Filipino fiestas, family gatherings, and special occasions, offering a wide range of delicious cakes and pastries that are beloved by generations of Filipinos.

Brand authenticity is also shown when Filipino brands engage with their communities through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and community outreach programs. SM Supermalls, one of the largest mall operators in the Philippines, organizes various CSR activities, such as environmental conservation projects, educational scholarships, and health and wellness programs. By demonstrating a commitment to social causes and giving back to the community, SM Supermalls strengthens its brand voice as a responsible and socially conscious organization.

Navigating criticisms and challenges

In today’s hyper-connected digital age, Philippine brands face an ever-present threat of criticism and backlash, necessitating proactive strategies to protect and reinforce their brand voice. When faced with controversies or negative feedback, effective communication and transparency are key to maintaining consumer trust and loyalty. Globe Telecom, one of the Philippines’ largest telecommunications companies, exemplifies this approach through its responsive and customer-centric brand voice.

During service disruptions or issues, Globe Telecom communicates openly with its customers, providing timely updates, explanations, and resolutions. By acknowledging concerns and demonstrating a commitment to addressing them, Globe Telecom reinforces its brand voice as a trusted partner in the digital age, despite occasional challenges.

Another example is Nestlé Philippines, a leading food and beverage company, which faced criticism over its packaging practices and environmental impact. In response, Nestlé Philippines launched initiatives to reduce plastic waste, improve recycling infrastructure, and promote sustainable packaging solutions. Through its transparent communication and proactive sustainability efforts, Nestlé Philippines reaffirmed its commitment to responsible business practices while preserving its brand voice as a trusted provider of quality products.

Differentiating against competitors

In a crowded marketplace, differentiating one’s brand voice from competitors is essential to capturing consumer attention and loyalty. Philippine brands employ various strategies to carve out their unique identities and stand apart from the competition. Mang Inasal, a popular Filipino fast-food chain known for its grilled chicken, distinguishes itself through its authentic “sarap ng kaing Pinoy” brand voice, which emphasizes the flavors and traditions of Filipino cuisine.

Mang Inasal’s messaging focuses on the communal dining experience and the joy of sharing delicious meals with loved ones, setting it apart from multinational fast-food chains with globalized menus. By staying true to its Filipino roots and catering to local tastes, Mang Inasal has built a loyal customer base and established itself as a beloved household name in the Philippine food industry.

Angkas, the motorcycle ride-hailing app, is very distinct for its use of a casual and witty brand voice. It engages its audiences and patrons with playful banter and memes. Its use of a dedicated social media team that understands trends and online humor is a competitive advantage as it can actively respond to comments and participate in online conversations, keeping the voice consistent and engaging.

Nurturing identity in a competitive landscape

Cultivating and protecting a distinct brand voice is essential for Philippine brands seeking to thrive in competitive markets and connect with discerning consumers. By embracing authenticity, transparency, and differentiation, Philippine brands can foster meaningful relationships with their audience and navigate challenges with resilience and integrity. Through the examples above, we see how the strategic cultivation and defense of brand voice enable Philippine brands to carve out their unique identities and leave a lasting impression in the hearts and minds of consumers.

Evidently, Filipino brands enhance their brand voice by leveraging authentic storytelling, cultural relevance, engaging content, consistent branding, and community engagement. By connecting with consumers on a personal level and aligning with their values and aspirations, these brands build trust, loyalty, and affinity, driving long-term success in the dynamic Philippine market.



*Dr. Ron F. Jabal, APR, is the CEO of PAGEONE Group (www.pageonegroup.ph) and the Founder and President of the Reputation Management Association of the Philippines (www.rmap.org.ph). Please correspond to [email protected] or [email protected]

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