What's your speech flavour?

Written by Taz Sharp

Every artist has that all-important flavour. We’re talking about speech flavour: the way they speak to fans.

It’s crucial that an artist, sports team or brand communicates in a way that reinforces their purpose and personality - in other words, shares their brand in a consistent and clear way so it resonates with fans.

Identifying their unique flavour allows an artist or brand to present a coherent persona to fans across all platforms and communities, including Discord. But this is more than just a marketing exercise: It’s about sharing a part of who they are in a way that resonates with fans, creating and strengthening bonds between the artist and their community. At Levellr we came up with the term “speech flavours” to identify, discuss and manage the way an artist communicates the nuances of their brand so they resonate with fans.

Why flavours? Imagine artists are ice cream makers. Fans savour the artist's speech flavour that aligns with their personal taste and gives them that all-important emotional connection. It's like enjoying a delicious scoop of their favourite ice cream flavour. Whether it's friendly updates, sibling-like affection or collaborative inspiration, artists create speech flavours to satisfy the cravings and tastes of their fans.

What’s your brand's speech flavour?

Speech flavour often begins organically. With a music artist, it grows out of their voice, personality and sensibilities. When an artist begins talking to fans through their social media posts, their lyrics and their art, they may not consciously think of it as building a brand - but their distinctive combination of everything they share with the world creates a brand that fans vibe with.

Here at Levellr we work with clients from Fall Out Boy to Starbucks and we see how these flavours differ. A start-up company, like a music artist, might see speech flavour grow organically from the voice of the founder or founding team. For a sports team, speech flavour can be a combination of the voices of the players, club leaders and the fans. It grows from the team’s philosophy and values, reflecting the soul of the community where the team has its roots.

To ensure consistent persentation, marketing and management teams need a frame of reference to identify and discuss that branding. Whether it’s an individual whose community is growing or an established company flexing its marketing, intention is vital for finding and maintaining a consistent and coherent brand.

Speech flavour combines different elements, including tone of voice, content and micro branding. The key thing is that wherever the artist or brand communicates, they sound like themselves. Fans identify with the speech flavour as much as they do with what's actually being said, which establishes a unique connection or 'hook'.

The hook helps to evoke a feeling in a fan when they hear from the artist. It might be a sense that the artist cares for them, that their input is valued, or that they can share fun banter. This unique hook provides fans with an insight into who the artist really is, which fosters understanding, connection and loyalty.

How do you find your speech flavour?

For some brands, speech flavour will be consciously decided, perhaps in a branding process with tone of voice guidelines laid down for employees to follow. For others, it emerges naturally from the actual voice of the artist or founder. Crucially, speech flavour allows the artist or brand’s content to evolve as they scale or approach new topics, while still retaining that unique character.

A brand communicates with customers and fans across so many different platforms and channels that it’s hard to remain consistent, especially as the brand scales and different people are involved in communication. Whether speaking in an interview, sharing on Instagram or interacting with their community on Discord, the artist or brand sounds distinct and unique. And communications from their team should share that unique vibe.

The nuances of an artist or brand’s speech flavour communicates elements of their branding and personality. It’s all about that special way they interact with their fans that showcases personality and even vulnerability.

Artists and their speech flavours

Entrepreneur and community expert Tom Ross describes how people are drawn to community for what he calls “human” reasons: shared interests. Vulnerability. Humour. This multi-faceted character, and the emotions this unique persona evokes, entice fans and build a deeper connection. A brand’s signature combination of different elements are examples of micro branding, which Ross calls a “core pillar of fostering an engaged online community.”

Each facet of the micro branded personality gives a new opportunity to hook different fans. So even if the core of the brand is the artist’s music, fans strengthen their bond when they relate to the artist’s other interests or concerns.

Screengrab of a Discord message.
Maisie Peters talks to fans in her natural voice, creating an intimate speech flavour that wins and retains fans.

Taylor Swift, Hailey Beiber and Maisie Peters update their fans as if they were chatting to their friends on WhatsApp. Their speech flavour is friendly, casual and intimate, just like chatting with a bestie. Fans who enjoy this style of communication feel like they're in a conversation with a trusted friend. When Maisie Peters released her album The Good Witch, her excitement shone through in the way she wrote to her fans as the album went to No. 1.

Selena Gomez talks to her fans as if they were siblings. Even when sharing with 430 million Instagram followers, she speaks with notes of familiarity, warmth and camaraderie. Fans who appreciate this speech flavour feel a special connection with Selena, as if they're part of a supportive and caring family.

Screengrabs of Selena Gomez's Instagram.
Selena Gomez has hundreds of millions of followers, but talks to them with the warmth of a family.

For example, Selena is very concerned about mental health and opens up about her own struggles. She does this not only when she talks about mental health but when she wants people to listen to her talk about any topic. She will lead with an example she has in her life that relates to the narrative she wants to share at the given time. She does this in every platform.

Selena Gomez Instagram posts.
Selena Gomez makes fans part of her speech flavour.

Fred again.. collaborates with fans as if they’re part of the team. His speech flavour is inclusive, open and collaborative, as he invites fans to contribute to his actual music and art. For example, he prompted fans to take pictures in front of the venues of his latest tour for a project celebrating the fans who made it to the shows (and those who wished they could). Or he invites photos that capture the vibe of his music.

Screengrab of a Discord message.
Fred again.. invites fans to collaborate.

Fans who resonate with this style feel empowered and valued. This motivates them to contribute to Fred's music and projects with their community-generated content. They feel they're actively involved in shaping Fred's journey.

However it emerges, speech flavour is a powerful tool for building community. Fans resonate with the speech flavour of their favourite artists and brands, and identifying that flavour gives the artist and their team the ability to communicate consistently and coherently across any platform.

Whether it’s Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez or Maisie Peters, speech flavour is a a crucial part of the deliciousness that keeps fans coming back.

Your superfans are waiting. Contact Levellr today to find out how you can build a community which works for your brand.