Does your brand sound like a bureaucrat?

Four ways to review your website and evaluate your brand voice


One of the reasons I’ve been a client of my accountant, Jonathan Walsh, for over 15 years, is that I can avoid reading the alarming letters I get from various government agencies. I open the letter, fax it to Jonathan, and go about my business.

Because Jonathan is a good accountant, we rarely owe taxes. However, the tone, or voice of these agency letters is always off-putting. Here’s an excerpt:

“If you disagree with the information contained in this notice, please follow the instructions in Section E — instructions for disagreements with this notice. Please note: all sections may not be displayed.”

Of course, this is an extreme example -– a tax agency is supposed to sound cold and bureaucratic.

But the bureaucratic voice is not just used by government – it is endemic to healthcare organization marketing communications.

Why your brand voice is important

You can have a strong visual brand, and content that addresses your audience’s needs and interests. But if it is delivered in a clinical, remote voice, you are missing an opportunity to form an emotional connection with your audience. Using a bureaucratic voice can undermine all the good your brand does.

Put your healthcare org website to the test

Take a look at your website. Do you:

  • Refer to your company in 3rd person, like this: “the Widget Group was founded in 2007…”
  • Talk at length about your organization, rather than what your audience cares about?
  • Use pompous or stilted language, rather than direct, simple statements?
  • Use business jargon that sounds phony, like the overused word “passion”?

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    Squelch the bureaucratic voice

  • Brainstorm about what kind of a person your organization is – and then write a description of that person and refer back to it when you write
  • Brainstorm about who your primary target audience is – and, again, write a description and keep it in hand
  • When you write, assume your audience is not automatically interested in what you have to say
  • Address your audience directly as “you”
  • Show, don’t tell
  • Avoid pomposity – unless that’s the kind of a person your organization is!

About us

LevinsonBlock is a Brooklyn-based healthcare marketing agency that specializes in mid-sized organizations. Our clients include healthcare providers such as FQHCs, disease foundations, and healthcare technology firms.
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