How to clearly establish and communicate your brand voice
What is brand voice and why do you need it?
Making your brand stand out from the competition includes having a clear identity and being able to share your story in a distinctive, unique way. People’s understanding of your business is about what they see visually – from logos, fonts, and colours – but how you sound is just as important, helping to build connection and trust.
Your brand voice is how you communicate your personality. For example, Coca Cola is friendly and down to earth, inviting consumers to ‘share a coke’ and ‘taste the feeling.’ The brand voice for a B2B company doesn’t have to be too serious or impersonal either. Marketing automation platform, Mailchimp’s voice is fun and casual and their voice and tone guide is available online for people to check out.
Intricately linked to your brand personality is your brand tone of voice. It’s the way that your business communicates or expresses itself with internal and external audiences. This includes email, digital communications, written documents such as reports, face to face interactions, telephone contact and much more.
Without your logo, could people identify content as coming from you? Although your voice may be adapted from time to time, depending on the audience and the type of communication, your overall tone of voice should be consistent. That way it reflects and aligns with your brand values and means all employees are on message.
Ways to find your voice
When defining your tone of voice, it’s often handy to think about your business as a person. Are you loyal, caring, and kind? Are you edgy, serious, or fun? What do you wear? Where do you like to go?
Choose three key words that best describe your brand – are you passionate, quirky, modern, serious, or informative? Create a brand voice chart that briefly describes how each of these words relate to your business and list out some easy do’s and don’ts to follow.
Check out our brand voice chart below:
Be clear who your audience is and create personas for each target group. What sort of age are they? How do they sound? What do they read and via which channels? What industries do they work in and what are their interests, motivations and goals, needs, and challenges? Know your competition too and think about their brand voice and values. How can you differentiate yourself?
Creating a consistent voice
To ensure consistency, start by developing clear brand tone of voice guidelines, to share and communicate amongst colleagues. To make it easy for team members to follow, include some practical examples of how you should sound in content such as telephone calls, social media, or emails.
What your team write or say should be tested against your tone of voice and brand values. How do these characteristics show up in how you communicate? How do you come across in your content? Many companies share their core values on their website – take a look at ours here.
Sharing specific vocabulary and grammar rules helps to clarify your brand and tone of voice, and these should be included in your guidelines.
Review and adapt
Developing a brand voice shouldn’t be a one-off effort. Your guidelines should be reviewed and refined as your brand develops. If you’d like help exploring and establishing your brand voice and values get in touch!