Thought leaders and brands have two choices to craft a compelling brand voice: Jump off the cliff or take the pedestrian route. 

I’m in love with two things right now (other than my husband, kids, family/friends, nature and God): The Netflix show Grace and Frankie and Anne Lamott’s 61st birthday post on Facebook. I love Grace and Frankie because it’s a fresh, funny, poignant portrayal of women, friendship and family. And I love Anne Lamott’s post of life lessons because it’s a deeply honest and naked description of the human condition. Anne doesn’t allow us the tiniest mental fake-out of life on earth. She exposes the raw truth with a laugh-out-loud, weep on your keyboard frankness that sent this post viral to the tune of 78,579 Likes (at last count) and 67,634 Shares. That’s what, close to 90% engagement? The post reached millions.

Anne’s post is powerful because of both her incredible wisdom:

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. 

–Anne Lamott

and her incredible voice:

Earth is Forgiveness School. You might as well start at the dinner table. That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants.

–Anne Lamott

Yes, Anne is a beloved novelist and non-fiction writer who has crafted and mastered exceptional writing skills. She can also be an inspiration to anyone seeking to establish his or her brand voice.

Think of it this way:

Your “voice” should reveal those kernels of truth that everybody knows but nobody ever says out loud.

Don’t be afraid to express yourself. Anything less than a bit of discomfort with what you are willing to put out in the world will result in a pedestrian tone. It will fall into the average category. Yes, we all sound average at times. For all writers, including Anne Lamott, it’s hard to go to this place.

Often, branded content doesn’t lend itself to raw exposure. But the one article, post or blog that you publish with an element of true honesty, will get the most shares. Anne’s April, 2015 blog post was picked up by Salon and Real Simple opened its August, 2015 issue with the unplug quote.

Go ahead, try it. Experiment with your voice. Try cutting a little closer to the bone. And track the results.

Learn how to create a captivating voice in my new book: Brand, Meet Story

Photo: cleanfotos /

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