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Every day we read about another brand, company or even sports team failing on Twitter. But for all those who fail, many more win. They do so by staying true to their brand voice.

Possessing a true voice has always been vitally important to a brand’s success, but never more than it is now. With multiple messages across multiple channels – and social media on the front line – having a guiding voice that presides higher than the latest video, post or tweet of the moment may now be a brand’s most valuable asset. And its best chance at maintaining a long-term, meaningful relationship with its consumers.

At its simplest, brand voice can be defined as not what we say, buthow we say it. The personality DNA that runs through a brand, imparts characteristics more human than corporate, it gives it a soul. Not a public facing tagline, but an internal belief – it soars over other attributes as an unspoken link between brand and consumer. Strategy and positioning are critical, but they are rational expressions. Brand voice is different. It exudes emotion. It adds nuance and fills the spaces between strategy and execution with the stuff we can feel. Strategy and execution may help a consumer decide to buy a product, but voice is what helps them decide whether they actually like you or not.

An example of someone doing it right is Oreo. Of all that the brand has done right over the past few years, understanding, honing and beautifully delivering on its voice may be its crowning achievement. The campaign line is “Wonderfilled,” but so is the brand’s attitude and outlook on life. And that youthful optimism makes every tweet, ad and song they put out that much more special.

The opposite of Oreo? Schizophrenia. Unfortunately, many brands suffer from a voice that wavers across channels – corporate within their branding efforts, frat house in social media.

There’s no sure formula for getting to a strong voice, but a few guiding principles can help.

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