“Brand voice” is the expression of your organization’s core values. It cannot be created on a whim or just to follow trends. Brand voice should be the culmination of brand personality, story, and values.
Using a unique and consistent tone of voice give you an edge against your competitors. It makes you unforgettable in the minds of your consumers and helps foster brand awareness and brand loyalty. However, brand voice is somehow a vague concept. It is hard to grasp. Below are tips on choosing and establishing your brand voice:
Know your audience
Your brand voice is an integral part of crafting all your content and marketing campaigns, so it should be able to communicate with your audience. Find out their gender, age, interests, education, job title, family; basically all information you can access. You should also find out how they describe your brand. Compile all data and make a portrait of your brand persona. Make it human. Treat this persona as a real person.
Identify your brand personality and values
Why did you create the company in the first place? What makes your brand unique? What values do you want to share with your audience? Pin down your brand values and simplify them in a few keywords. Take a look at the recurring themes of your products or services. You can also list out what your brand is ‘not’ to make it more comprehensive.
Define your voice
How do you want to communicate? Define your tone based on your values. You can also sift through your previous content and communications and make a simple tone profile. You can base it on the four dimensions of tone of voice determined by Nielsen Norman Group (funny vs. serious, formal vs. casual, respectful vs. irreverent, enthusiastic vs. matter-of-fact). From there, you can make a more detailed profile or characteristics of your brand voice.
Create a style guide
Make a set of standards or guidelines that clearly define your brand voice and how it is used. This way, you could take full control of your voice. It will be easier to introduce it to new members of the team. There’s no need for a hundred-page guide book but make sure it is comprehensive. Build an outline of your grammar rules. Then show it into practice by making examples and templates. Or better yet, write your style guide in the tone of your voice itself. You can also list out your favorite expressions as well as banned words. Revisit and revise as your company grows.
Be consistent across channels
The most important thing about building a reputable and memorable tone of voice is keeping it consistent across all channels. Whether it is social media, print, digital marketing, company emails, video ads—everything that needs content has to have a consistent voice. Don’t confuse your audience. A customer interacting with your brand through social media might jump through your website and read your blog articles in the next minute. Consistency breeds familiarity. If you are outsourcing your website content to a digital marketing company, be clear on how they should communicate your brand voice.
Your voice is the expression of your brand. Ultimately, your goal is finding a way of writing, using visuals, using video—however your communicate—that best transmits your message. However, carefully choosing and establishing a unique brand voice helps you turn from a faceless brand to a special and memorable one.