By Mark Welsh

No offense to most brand voices but you wouldn’t want to sit next to them at a dinner party.


Bland, monotonous, and frequently drunk, this cacophony of droning dullards suffers from what Doctors call “Generic Voice Syndrome.” Talk about a squandered opportunity to forge a valuable connection with their audiences. They should be flogged and banned from dinner parties for life.
Brand voice is a powerful communicator of a company’s personality.  Done right it slices through the clutter to win hearts and minds. Done wrong it sends everyone rushing for earplugs.  Prefer the winning of hearts and minds strategy? Clear your throat and take my advice on how to...

in 5 tuneful steps



Note: All examples are culled from recent Mark Welsh Creative projects and collaborations.

Despite abundant evidence to the contrary you can’t have a voice without a personality. 
Brands are like people, memorable or forgettable depending on their personality.  Define your key attributes and use these to shape a personality and voice that people like and remember.  
TuneCore is the world’s premium music distribution company. For the global brand guide Mark distilled the brand personality into 5 attributes  

TuneCore global brand guide / attributes .  See more

TuneCore global brand guide / attributes. See more

Look to your own audience for brand voice inspiration, not at your competitors. 
Get to the heart and mind of the matter. Learn what drives and inspires your audience, listen to how they talk, and craft a distinctive voice that actually connects with their dreams and beliefs.  
Mark Welsh Creative developed a voice for TuneCore that mirrors the brand personality (above) and taps into the emotional mindset of independent musicians.

TuneCore / awareness campaign.   See more   Photography  Martin Crook    

TuneCore / awareness campaign.  See more 
Photography Martin Crook

A confident brand voice migrates from platform-to-platform with nary a hiccup or belch.  

Keep your voice consistent across all facets of your communications, from website and manifesto to social media, print, video, and even business cards.  
In collaboration with Design Army, Mark gave the fashion optical company, Georgetown Optician a witty and irreverent voice with strong calls to action.  From the award-winning video campaign to the company's Instagram, website, and print campaigns, the brand combines bold, provocative language and great design to catch the eye and hold it.  

Georgetown Optician / Instagram campaign  Agency Design Army

Georgetown Optician / Instagram campaign
Agency Design Army

Georgetown Optician / website, social media, print Agency Design Army   

Georgetown Optician / website, social media, print
Agency Design Army

Georgetown Optician / Instagram campaign
Agency Design Army

Tone is what makes people like us, or not.
Decide what your brand tone is and isn’t – witty vs. funny, earnest vs. ironic, warm vs. cool - and cement it in your brand guide.  
Net Generation is the USTA’s new youth tennis platform. As part of an initiative to grow tennis at the grass roots level, MWC developed a welcoming, empowering, inclusive, and heroic brand tone that speaks to a broad audience of schools, P.E. providers, and coaches nationwide.

USTA Net Generation / print, website, social media

USTA Net Generation / print, website, social media

5.  SPEAK UP! 
Small company or behemoth brand, use bold, provocative language to catch and hold the eye. 
Cafiero Select is a NYC homeware store and design firm with an ironic, irreverent voice. The company’s marketing comprises social media and e-mail. As guest editor Mark developed a topical and controversial newsletter that offers tips on surviving Apocalyptic times with “Armageddon chic” décor.   

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Mark Welsh is an experienced writer/brand builder who specializes in identity and voice. He has devised distinct brand voices for Jonathan Adler, Bloomingdale’s, Sephora, POPSUGAR, west elm, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and many more. 


By Mark Welsh

New Zealand's geographical remoteness has made Kiwis an inventive, resilient, canny, and most of all, highly attractive lot. (Did I mention that I'm one?). I've called New York city home for 30 years, but my dark heart still swells with pride whenever a Kiwi triumphs over the country's incovenient location, just left of the earth's sink hole. Lorde winning a Grammy for song of the year.  Dame Kiri te Kanawa discussing claret with Lord Grantham in a Downton Abbey cameo.  The few halcyon days when Team New Zealand looked like they were going to take home the America's Cup. (Let's not revisit that particular pain).  Add to this much abbreviated list of super-achieving Kiwis the inventive, canny, resilient, and yes, highly attractive fashion designer, KAREN WALKER (below left). Her label shows each season at New York fashion week but she runs her global empire from the relative sanity and safety of New Zealand.

No fool in the marketing department, Ms. Walker's ad campaigns stand out for all the right reasons, combining arresting portraits of unexpected models with socially relevant messages. Eschewing younger (and no doubt more expensive) models, the brand's 2013 eyewear campaign featured portraits by Advanced Style blogger Ari Seth Cohen of (really) Grande Dames wearing (really) fabulous eyewear.  Despite the difference in our genders, and to a lesser extent our ages, I wanted a pair.









For spring 2014, the brand partnered with the United Nations' ETHICAL FASHION INITIATIVE to make screen-printed pouches for eyeglasses. (EFI creates and supports the work of artisan groups in Kenya). To help raise EFI's visibility Ms. Walker made (another) synchronistic modeling choice, turning the spotlight on the Kenyan artisans who cut, sewed, and screen-printed her eyeglass pouches and enlisting them as the campaign's models.  

Photography: DEREK HENDERSON. (And yes, he's also a Kiwi).