As AI technology continues to improve, brands are increasingly turning to Generative AI products like ChatGPT to help them churn out their content. But as more brands leverage this technology, the more their content begins to sound the same as everyone else’s.
Unique, differentiated brand voices matter more than ever
With recent innovations in AI tech, however, users can now train these AI models to mimic a certain voice or writing style by simply uploading written examples—which is opening new opportunities for brands to sound more like themselves.
But for brands to be able to leverage this tech effectively, they have to actually know what their voice is. They need a robust understanding of their brand’s personality and how that personality comes to life through their brand voice.
At Sullivan, we provide our clients with clearly codified rules, examples, and tools to help writers learn and embody a brand’s specific voice as they create content. One of these tools is a voice archetype, which functions as a simple and memorable shorthand for a brand’s personality, such as “the trusted family friend,” or “the innovative entrepreneur.”
Using brand archetypes to improve AI prompts
Tools like the voice archetype are an effective application for interacting with generative AI models through “prompting,” which is a specific input given to the AI model to guide its generation.
In fact, using “roleplay” in prompts is one of the easiest and most effective ways to generate responses from a specific perspective, or voice.
Let’s look at an example. Imagine we are an established financial institution looking to create a social media post about the importance of financial planning. We’ll start with a straightforward prompt with no detail about voice:
“I’d like your help to create a short social media post about the importance of creating a lifelong financial plan.”
To which the AI returns:
“Secure tomorrow, start today! Crafting a lifelong financial plan isn’t just about money; it’s your roadmap to dreams, security, and freedom. Expert guidance tailored to you—building legacies and weathering life’s turns. Let’s create a future that stands strong. 💼💡 #FinancialPlanning #SecureFuture”
Not bad, but also not quite right for a reputable financial institution. Now let’s see how the AI’s response shifts when we include a bit more detail about the brand voice in our prompt:
“I’d like your help to create a short social media post for a financial services brand. But first you need to understand my brand’s writing style, or voice. My brand voice embodies the “trusted family friend, whose voice is: EXPERT but not CONDESCENDING, INTIMATE but not UNPROFESSIONAL, WARM but not WEAK, SMART but not TECHNICAL, EMPATHETIC but not EMOTIONAL, COMFORTABLE but not CASUAL, and PROUD but not ARROGANT. Writing as the “trusted family friend,” please draft a post about the importance of creating a lifelong financial plan.”
With a prompt that includes a voice archetype, as well as some detail describing that brand’s voice, this is what the AI returns:
“Plan for tomorrow, embrace today. Your lifelong financial journey isn’t just numbers—it’s tailored security and a roadmap to dreams. Our expertise ensures a plan as unique as you are. Let’s navigate toward your aspirations, together. 💼✨ #FinancialPlanning #TailoredForYou”
Not perfect, but with just a little voice guidance, the AI response is more aligned with the brand—warm and approachable, but still professional. This gives the real human writers a much stronger jumping-off point for developing branded content.
Human-powered voices will always be loudest
There’s no denying that generative AI is a powerful tool that is changing the way we do business. But a tool is not a replacement for the human writers who develop and execute content written in a brand’s voice.
After all, voice is an expression of personality—making it is one of the most inherently human aspects of how we communicate. But as more of the world’s content adopts the same bland and homogenous voice, the less powerful that content becomes.
As we look to the future of branding in the age of AI, the importance of strong and differentiated brand voices—those which are created by humans—has never been louder or clearer.