Voice and tone are fundamental parts of your brand identity, but they often get left out of the branding process. When you create a logo, color palette, or style guide, those are tangible assets that you can share with others. But how do you explain in words what your brand’s voice is?
For marketers, having a company voice and tone is critical. Prospective customers online don’t want to read a long list of benefits or features. They want to see what type of people you are as an organization. That’s where your tone and voice comes into play.
Having a clear, consistent tone will enhance and enrich the customer experience. Having a consistent personality can help build trust with your customers and improve your brand. It allows your customers to build a rapport with your business, which then leads to more conversions and sales.
Stand out with a strong brand personality
In the Sprout Social Index™, consumers were asked why some brands stand out. 33% said a distinct personality is what makes brands stand out. Also, 40% said memorable content, and 32% said compelling storytelling, both of which rely on a strong brand voice.
More and more companies are recognizing the importance of establishing and maintaining their brand voice—which is essentially the personality and tone of your business. Brands should have a unique, recognizable voice that is communicated through marketing initiatives, as well as through social media and various business interactions.
The most successful brands are ones that communicate with their customers in a way that resonates clearly and distinctly with their target audience. These are often perceived as being genuine businesses that are trustworthy, tangible, relatable, friendly, agile, accessible, inclusive, and adaptive.
Your company’s voice is the personality behind your communications, like a friend you can always rely on. It’s the voice that shows up in your blog posts and newsletters, in your tweets and Facebook posts, in your customer service emails and live chat scripts. It’s what makes you sound like you—whatever that happens to be.
Differentiate yourself from the digital chatter
Your company needs a voice—a personality—to be memorable. Brand voice and tone are an extension of your brand personality and key to developing a clear marketing message. They are the words you use to convey your message and how you say them.
But how do you create these basic elements? How do you describe the voice that represents your business? Building a brand personality is no easy feat. In this article, I will reveal some tips to help you to create a personalized approach that reflects your business as a whole.
Separate yourself from your brand
With blog writing you will have a personal voice and tone, but with an official company blog you have to blend your own personality in with the business or organization’s personality. You have to be informative and entertaining, while still being aligned with the goals of the business. There shouldn’t be any confusion about who is talking: You or your company.
Creating a brand personality
Creating a brand voice is about deciding what your company sounds like and being consistent with it. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. Every word, sentence, and paragraph has to be written “in the voice of” your brand.
During the development process, you should consider questions such as:
- The first step in creating your brand voice is to define your audience. Who are you talking to? What do they care about? How do I want them to feel when they interact with me?
- What words do I want my brand associated with? When someone hears my brand name, what adjectives should come to mind?
Answering these questions will help you determine what language to use, whether that means using slang or industry jargon or staying totally professional.
Once you have defined your audience, take some time to get inspired. Think about other brands you admire and whose voices you enjoy reading or listening to. How do they communicate? What sets their communications apart from the rest?
Write down some adjectives that describe your brand’s personality. Are you fun and quirky, formal and serious, warm and welcoming? Or are you somewhere else entirely? To get you started with brainstorming, here’s a list of common voice and tone traits that you can use:
There are no wrong answers here! These adjectives will become the basis for your new brand personality. Once you have the main traits in mind, you can begin the process of implementing them across all communications.
Audit your current messaging
If you need some inspiration on what your brand personality should be, take a look at your current communications. Examine your newsletters, blog posts, social media posts, and even internal messaging. What personality traits do your top-performing pieces of content have in common?
In contrast, what posts did people react negatively to, or not engage with? Try to note what personality your marketing content had in these instances, so you know what to avoid doing.
Make sure to grab examples from all communications to get a great overview of your current voice. Use past examples of successful brand personalities to inform your future content marketing.
Also, remember: Content isn’t dead. Once you’ve settled in on your new brand voice, you can audit all your content. Go through older pieces of content to make sure they fit within this new set of guidelines, and change them if they don’t.
Keep a consistent personality, even with multiple marketers
Brands want to create a unique voice to better connect with customers and potential clients. But the process of creating a new voice can be complicated, especially when you’re working within an organization that has a marketing team or multiple teams responsible for marketing content, websites, and social media.
A consistently recognizable voice is important to building your brand. It’s the way your customers, clients, or reviewers talk about you (or don’t). Every single marketer on your team needs to be on board with your brand personality.
Drive consistency with documentation
The more people who join your marketing team, the less consistent your voice can become. To avoid this, it’s important to have a voice and tone guide to help marketers understand the brand voice and tone by just reading the document.
If you haven’t already created a document that defines your brand voice, t’s time to get started. The standard structure of such a document includes:
- An introduction to the brand, what it stands for, its mission, and its values.
- A definition of voice, tone, and personality.
- An explanation of how to use these elements in marketing materials.
- A list of words that are “on brand”—those that should be used when writing copy or other materials.
- A list of go-to phrases.
- A section on what not to do—examples of language that should never be used because it doesn’t align with the brand identity.
- Punctuation and grammar: List the rules for punctuation and grammar for your company.
- Capitalization: List capitalization standards for your company.
While creating this document, keep in mind that marketers need to skim it easily. Avoid making content marketers sit through a lengthy training session or read a novel-length document. Narrow it down the specifics and most important aspects of your brand to make your marketers more productive and efficient.
Brand personality traits may vary depending on your audience
If you have a few different audiences, keep in mind that you may need to change your brand personality when you’re talking to each different audience. For example, your company may be have a blend of business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) content. If that’s the case, you can change your brand voice, tone, and personality. Then, segment each piece of marketing content for your specific audiences.
Review and change as needed
Once you have the main traits in mind, you can begin the process of implementing them across all communications. However, adaptation is key in marketing. Just because you decided on a brand personality, doesn’t mean it’s automatically effective.
A truly effective brand personality is based on real-world audience research—and it evolves along with your business. The research and the fine-tuning is continuous. Analyze your metrics, see what’s resonating with your audience, and change as needed!