Developing a Consistent Brand Voice and Language with Brad Flowers

February 13, 2017

brad flowers on brand

“Branding is complicated when you try to define it.” If there was an ongoing theme of the On Brand podcast, this week’s guest hit the nail on the head. Of course, your brand is more than your logo but how do you organize the words and language around your story and communicate that internally. Brad Flowers co-founded and leads a language and story-focused branding firm, Bullhorn. We talked about all of that and more on this week’s On Brand podcast.

About Brad Flowers

Brad Flowers co-founded Bullhorn in 2008. A graduate of the University of North Texas, Brad’s degree in Literature serves him well in his strategy and language work during the branding process. It does not serve him well in his operational work, which is primarily informed by his rugged real-world experience and self-taught MBA. He is also an avid cycler – for commuting and for competition. He co-founded and currently serves on the board of a non-profit community bike shop called Broke Spoke. Spreading the good word.

Episode Highlights

What does Bullhorn do? “We’re a branding company but really people hire us to help them talk about their brand.” Unlike other more visually focused firms, Bullhorn starts with words and stories. In the end, they provide a brand manual. But it’s not the standard style guide you might expect.

A coffee table book for your brand. While Bullhorn provided the digital assets most expect with a style guide or brand manual, they also include a printed document that’s more aspirational. “It’s like a coffee table book for your brand. Employees can read it. It can be used for onboarding.”

“Your culture is a culmination of your brand voice.” As Brad reminded us, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for brand voice.

How can you maintain a consistent brand voice internally without encouraging your team to talk like robots? “It really depends on the organization. The culture.” Flowers went on to share a story about a more formal, hyperbolic client that needed help with their brand voice. Instead of more jargon — that would almost certainly lead them to sound more robotic — they provided a visual inspiration in the form of a photo of Paul Newman playing ping-pong. (I know, I said I’d put it in the show notes but I can’t find a creative commons pic.)

What brand has made Brad smile recently? After reading Kondo’s best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, Brad set out to find the objects that gave him joy. His Patagonia fleece fit the bill. And also provided a textbook example of a brand that’s made him smile many times through the years.

To learn more, go to the Bullhorn Creative website.

As We Wrap …

Before we go, I want to flip the microphone around to our community …
Recently Alex Mastrianni gave us a shout on Twitter for our recent episode featuring Marcus Sheridan. Thanks for listening, Alex!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.