Own Your Brand Voice with Lessons from your Favorite Shows

How quickly do you seek an escape route when you find yourself in conversation with your monotone uncle at a family gathering or an erratic stranger at a busy street corner? Posthaste.

How many hours do you set aside to tune in to your favorite characters on Netflix, Amazon, and Broadcast TV? According to Nielsen, over 35 each week.

What’s the difference? Television casts are made up of reliably engaging characters. You know, more or less, what to expect, but you also know you’ll be entertained.

Similarly, a consistent, compelling brand voice can help differentiate your social media presence and make it memorable.

You may have an existing brand voice that needs to be adapted for social or you may be starting from scratch. In either case, take cues from the social teams behind top shows to bring your brand voice to life.

Commit to the details

Once you have clarity on your brand voice, think about all the nuances that can help bring it to life on social—everything from word choice, to posting frequency, to manners and mannerisms.

Speaking of manners, Downton Abbey shares etiquette tips, cleaning advice, and kudos to award-winning cast members, all in the polite, if occasionally cheeky, voice that you would expect to hear throughout Lord Grantham’s hallways.

Even when you are real-time, you have to be you.

Have you ever said something out of character in the heat of the moment and later had to explain, “I’m sorry, I just wasn’t myself”? We’ve all been there.

If real-time marketing is part of your toolkit (it should be), it should reinforce, not work against, the integrity of your brand voice. That means picking the right opportunities to join real-time conversations and staying true to your brand voice and tone. Both House of Cards and Parks and Recreation joined the #SOTU conversation. Look at how differently they approached it:

House of Cards maintained the arrogance and edginess of Frank Underwood’s southern gentry status, while Parks and Recreation brought Knope levels of sweetness and optimism to celebrating Leslie and Ron’s recent (workplace proximity associates) reunion.

The same rule applies to every-day real-time marketing opportunities as well. When micro trends pop up, choose wisely those that align with your brand voice and tone. Bob’s Burgers had a field day with #NationalCheeseLoversDay, sharing the names of various cheeseburgers you might find on the menu:

Bring your voice to life in the real world.

Gossip Girl was an early innovator in crafting a unique social voice that mirrored the voice of its eponymous blogger. While the show was airing, @gossipgirl was a go-to source of conversation about the drama on the show. Now that the series has ended, @gossipgirl lives on as, what else, a source of celebrity news and gossip.

How could this work for your brand? Find ways to talk about real-world topics that matter to your brand in your voice. Talking about just your products or services can grow tiresome.

The Exception that Proves the Rule: You shouldn’t repurpose content verbatim on your channels.

You’ve heard this before: content that works in print or OOH or on TV shouldn’t just be slapped onto your social channels. Except…when that content can elicit a feeling of nostalgia or play on our desire to share a collective cultural awareness. Orange Is the New Black repurposes popular quotes from the show in quick images that draw massive engagement. The accompanying copy is a short, feisty line you might overhear at Litchfield.


If you plan to repurpose branded content for social—avoid using your tagline or other highly promotional content, make it something that sounds human and will connect with your audience.

Which other shows have successfully translated their voice to social? What else can you learn from them? Let me know at @cjdoman

cdoman@spredfast.com's picture

Courtney Doman

Courtney is the Content Marketing Manager at Spredfast. She focuses on sharing smart social ideas and insights to transform the way companies connect with consumers. Courtney is a passionate football fan (supporting Arsenal and the USMNT), curious traveller, and ambitious home cook.