Alexander Zverev is a German
tennis professional known best for his sporting achievements – but it’s not these credentials that have seen him all
over the internet lately. His inability to understand the West Yorkshire accent
has thrown him into the limelight, and show us why it’s so important for brands
have a globally understandable voice.
During a press conference at the
French Open, Zverev was asked a question by Bradford-born LiveSportsFM Tennis
Reporter Jonathan Pinfield, who by his own admission speaks ‘fluent Yorkshire
and some English’. Instead of answering the question put to him, Zverev paused
before asking Pinfield where he was from. This then prompted an amusing
exchange, which you can watch in full here.
Although the comments between Zverev
and Pinfield were affable, it’s since sparked a conversation on the importance
of clear communication – something especially important to consider when it
comes to branding. The nature of a press conference is to extract information
from someone using a concise, clear line of questioning. When interviews
involve two individuals with widely varied accents, communication may break
down. Why? Because it’s harder to establish a connection – and it works this
way in business too.
It’s not just about how your
organisation is represented – it’s how your clients relate to and understand your
brand. If your potential clients are watching television, listening to the
radio, or waiting on-hold, they’re not going to feel a bond with your company
unless the voice is memorable, and they can fully connect with the voice
Your brand needs a voice that
perfectly represents who you are as a business and what you stand for. There’s
no use, for example, choosing a brand voice that’s docile or meek if otherwise
your branding is high-octane and sales-driven.
If you’re a local business with
roots firmly planted within the community, opting for a regional voice is
likely to work to your advantage, as it makes you appear more personable and
caring. However, if you work on a global scale with clients of multiple
nationalities, it’s best to choose a neutral voice so you can reach the widest
This is exactly what Amazon has
done. Sitting comfortably in the Top 10 Global Brands, Amazon’s success is down
to much more than their revenues and profits – it’s down to how recognisable
their brand voice is. Alexa, for example, is a voice that’s recognisable all
over the world. Everything is spoken clearly and in plain English – although other
languages are available too. All this helps instil the illusion that it’s a
real person speaking back at you, not just artificial intelligence.
Without this kind of clear
branding and a consistent voice across the board, companies like Amazon
wouldn’t be as renowned as they are today. Jonathan Pinfield’s message may have
been unclear to Alexander Zverev, but it was
memorable. Yet as a business, you need to make sure your message is never lost in translation.