Why is your brand tone of voice important? People say don’t judge a book by its cover. But unfortunately, that idiom just doesn’t apply in your business. Customers will judge your ‘book’ by its cover. They will make decisions about you based on first appearances. So your brand needs to be particularly shiny and special if you want to stand out!
What’s one of the very first things you need to consider when building an appealing brand? Consistency and clarity in your brand tone of voice.
What is brand tone of voice?
Brand tone of voice isn’t so much about what you say. It’s about the order of words, pace, and style. Your brand tone of voice should inform all your marketing materials, including your website, blog, social media channels, email campaigns and more. If you’re sitting here thinking, “well, I think our brand’s tone of voice is formal… ish,” or, “we just try and make the customers laugh,” then you probably haven’t given tone of voice as much consideration as it deserves.
But why is it so important to get right?
Well, your brand tone of voice captures the essence of your business. It conveys exactly who you are and what you stand for to your customers. If you want to establish yourself as a front-runner or thought leader in your field, you can’t just spew out a bunch of words that don’t fit with your company philosophy and values. Your words matter.
So you need to establish a tone of voice that fits with who you are and persuades potential customers that your business is the right one for them. Customers need to see consistency across all your content to feel like they understand what you’re about.
Here’s what you need to consider:
Firstly, you need to ask to ask the question: who are we as a business? You need to consider why your products or services make you stand out, how the processes you use make you different, and what the company culture is like. You also need to think about how you want to be perceived by your customers. Serious? Playful? Honest? Passionate? Approachable?
If you’re a little unsure about where to start, gather some opinions from your employees about how they see your business and what they feel your brand represents.
An example of a brand’s tone of voice, as taken from Jamie Oliver’s brand book
You want your customers to engage with your brand and feel comfortable purchasing from you. That might mean you need a more serious tone of voice or a quirky, creative one that appeals to their sense of humour. How do you make that decision? Research!
If this was Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (and let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be a millionaire?) now might be the time to use your lifeline: Ask the Audience. Create a survey and gather information about your customer base to help you put together a comprehensive persona that contains all the vital information you need, including where they live, their age, their gender, their likes and dislikes, and their wants and needs.
Market research is a useful tool at your disposal. Take some time to explore your competitor’s websites, social media pages and other online platforms, and ask yourself: how do they engage with their customers? What seems to work and what doesn’t?
Of course, you shouldn’t copy their style or wording, but you can take inspiration from their successes and learn from their failures. Taking the time to research your competitors gives you the opportunity to determine your own niche. Is there a gap in the market that you can fill?
Your personality keywords
Once you’ve got a feel for the tone of voice you want to use for your brand, you should choose three or four keywords that define your brand personality. Sit down with your management team and brainstorm ideas using all the information you’ve gathered. For example, your brand might be community-driven, authentic and inspiring. Or conversational, quirky and friendly. From there, you can determine a list of words you ‘like’ (to be included in your content) and words you ‘don’t like’ (to be avoided at all costs). These words will provide the basis for your company brand book.
Here’s a pretty awesome example of a brand book by Skype, who clearly went the quirky route with their tone of voice!
Your brand book
This will be the bible for your staff. It will be the first port of call for anyone who is confused or unclear about what your brand stands for or how to write a piece of content that is in keeping with your tone of voice.
You can use your keywords to inform your tone of voice guidelines, advertising templates and social media guidelines, as Skype has done above. It’s really up to you how you present it, but you can break these down into buzzwords, provide descriptions, and offer examples of dos and don’ts. It should all be in keeping with your branding.
Of course, your guide may include other integral branding guidelines besides tone of voice, such as imagery, colour schemes and standardised company templates, as well as your corporate philosophy, goals and brand purpose. Tone of voice is just one small part of your brand’s jigsaw!
If you need more information on our brand writing and content writing services, call us anytime on +65 6333 4138.
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