Welcome to the world of finding your brand voice, where your brand’s personality isn’t just a feature. It’s the heart and soul of your identity …
Picture it: You’re the mastermind behind a brand that will revolutionize your industry. You’ve designed your logo, product(s), and mapped out your vision. You’re ready to kick things off!
But wait, there’s something missing. What’s that secret sauce that transforms your brand from forgettable to unforgettable?
It’s Your Brand’s Voice!
Well … not really. Your brand’s voice isn’t some mystical chant you recite and customers come running. It’s more like that one friend you bring along to get-togethers. You know the one — they make everything more fun. And, who wouldn’t want a friend like that?
But here’s the thing: finding your brand’s tone of voice isn’t about throwing darts blindfolded and hoping to hit the bullseye. (Which is also totally dangerous, and you shouldn’t do it anyway.)
It’s a carefully crafted, expertly honed process that requires a dash of expertise, a sprinkle of humor, and a whole lotta heart.
And remember, when it comes to writing articles that attract and convert customers, it’s not just a tone; it’s a symphony of words, a dance of emotions, and the heartbeat of your brand’s story.
Brand Voice 101
Your brand voice is the unique and consistent way your brand communicates with its audience. It’s the embodiment of your brand’s personality, values, and style in every piece of content, whether it’s a social media post, blog article, or customer service interaction.
To create a brand voice that resonates with your audience, you need to define it, refine it, and implement it consistently in your content marketing strategy.
Before we dive into the process of finding and implementing your brand’s tone of voice, let’s uncover why smart digital businesses take the time to hone the perfect brand voice.
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Brand Voice Tips From a Content Specialist
I’m a Content Specialist at Digital Commerce Partners (DCP) — which just so happens to be the SEO and content marketing services division of Copyblogger..
My goal is to get your brand voice just right. Depending on the client and their existing content, I might ask a lot of questions, from favorite existing content (and why) to what words or phrases make them cringe.
After I help create a Business Integration Report (mentioned in the image above), I go over any areas on the client’s website that give me a window into their brand tone of voice, watch any relevant YouTube videos, and review transcripts to create Style and Content Guidelines.
Then I work with the client directly, or the person who will be overseeing the content.
And since your brand voice should be tailored to your audience, I like to call this method CATER. (I do love a good acronym!)
A well-defined brand voice should have the following:
- Consistency: Your brand’s voice should remain uniform across all channels and interactions.
- Authenticity: It should reflect your brand’s true identity and values. It should set you apart from the competition and make people remember you.
- Transparency: It should convey your message clearly and effectively.
- Emotion: Infuse emotions into your brand voice to connect with your audience on a deeper level. Find ways to relate, connect, or empathize with people.
- Relevance: Your brand voice should resonate with your target audience.
Now that we have a clear understanding of what a brand voice is, let’s proceed with how to find and implement it effectively.
Find Your Brand’s Tone of Voice in 5 Steps
Discovering and implementing your brand’s tone of voice is a creative endeavor, but it’s also a very structured process.
Here are five steps to help guide you.
Step #1: Define Your Brand’s Core Values
Your brand’s core values are the foundation of its tone of voice. These values should align with your mission and resonate with your target audience.
To define your core values, you can:
- Prioritize the values that truly represent your brand’s identity and what you want people to associate with your company.
- Seek input from employees and stakeholders to ensure everyone’s on the same page (and hopefully in the same book).
- Conduct workshops, start discussions, and engage with the community to help identify what your brand stands for.
Step #2: Identify Your Target Audience
Understanding your audience is crucial to tailoring your brand voice effectively.
To identify your target audience:
- Conduct market research to learn about their preferences, pain points, and behaviors. You can do this through social media posts, surveys, or feedback forms.
- Create detailed buyer personas to represent your ideal customers.
- Identify where your audience spends their time online and offline.
- Analyze your social media insights.
Step #3: Analyze Your Current Communication
Examine your existing communication channels and content to evaluate their alignment with your desired brand voice:
- Review your website, social media profiles, marketing materials, and customer support interactions.
- Identify inconsistencies and areas that require improvement.
- Ensure your existing content reflects the defined core values and resonates with your audience.
Step #4: Choose Descriptive Adjectives
Select a set of descriptive adjectives that encapsulate your brand’s personality and style. These adjectives will guide your content creation and messaging.
Examples of descriptive adjectives include:
Step #5: Create Brand Voice Guidelines
To maintain consistency in your brand’s tone of voice, create comprehensive brand voice guidelines that cover:
- Voice and style: Define your brand’s tone, style, and personality.
- Messaging principles: Specify how your brand should address different topics and situations.
- Dos and don’ts: Outline behaviors and language to avoid.
- Examples: Provide sample phrases and sentences that illustrate your brand voice in various contexts.
Brand Voice and Tone Guidelines
Now I’ll share DCP’s process for creating tone of voice guidelines for our clients.
We have a handy standard operating procedure (SOP) in place that we use to help streamline the process. It promotes consistency and ensures we don’t forget anything.
Get to Know Your Client
It’s time to get to know the client.
- What’s the client’s business about?
- What do they do?
- Who do they want to help?
- What products do they offer?
- What’s their favorite color?
We do a Business Integration Report (BIR) when we start working with any new client.
It’s a concise and informative document full of a whole lot of relevant details, such as:
- Type of business
- Their products
- Their goals working with us
We also check out their home page and existing content for any additional information that might help. And whenever we talk with them (more on that below), we jot down notes so we can remember any gems that might have been revealed during our conversations.
Who Is Your Client’s Audience?
Again, a lot of this information is taken from the BIR, but there’s also a call designated for asking relevant questions to get the information we need to develop their brand tone of voice, like:
- What’s their audience demographic?
- What values does their audience have?
- What are their audience’s pain points?
Voice & Style Guidelines: Getting to the Heart of a Client’s Brand Tone of Voice
This part is where we get into the nitty gritty of their existing content.
We dig through their top blog posts or YouTube content to find out if they have any existing brand voice characteristics (examples we can use in our guidelines to pass on to writers).
We review them and determine the dimension(s) their tone of voice falls under. This helps us define their voice and create a baseline of sorts to work with.
Then, we set up a meeting between the client’s editorial representative and DCP’s Content Specialist to help fine-tune Voice and Style Guidelines.
- Does the client have 3–5 blog posts they feel best represent the voice of their company?
- How would the client describe their brand voice?
- Is there any wording or phrasing we should avoid?
- If they don’t have any existing content, what tone would they like to aim for?
We take all this information and distill it into a document we call Content and Style Guidelines. Once finished, we ask the client to look it over and add in anything else they think might help.
And that’s it … or is it?
What to Do With Your Brand Voice Guidelines
Now that you’ve defined your brand’s tone of voice, it’s time to implement it across your communication channels.
Here’s how and where to put your brand voice guidelines to work.
Your website is often the first point of contact between your brand and your audience.
A memorable brand voice shines through via stellar copywriting principles on your:
- Homepage: Craft a welcoming and impactful message that aligns with your brand’s personality.
- About Page: Share your brand’s story and values in a way that resonates with your audience.
- Product Descriptions: Use your brand voice to describe products or services persuasively.
Consistency is key on social media platforms.
Implement your brand voice by:
- Writing captions and posts that reflect your brand’s style.
- Engaging with your audience using the same tone and language.
- Sharing content that aligns with your brand’s values.
Your blog is an excellent platform to showcase your brand’s expertise and personality.
- Write articles that convey your brand’s unique perspective on industry topics.
- Use your chosen adjectives to guide the tone of your articles.
- Encourage discussions and interactions with your readers that reflect your brand’s values.
Consistency in customer support interactions is essential for a positive customer experience.
- Check that responses to customer inquiries align with your brand’s values and personality.
- Train your support team to communicate using the brand voice guidelines.
From brochures to email campaigns, your marketing materials will embody your brand voice:
- Craft marketing copy that speaks directly to your audience using your brand’s style.
- Use the same descriptive adjectives to guide the messaging in your promotional materials.
Don’t forget that visuals also play a significant role in conveying your brand’s tone.
- Design visuals — including logos, graphics, and images — that reflect your brand’s personality.
- Maintain a consistent visual style that aligns with your chosen adjectives.
Okay, phew! Now, I’m done.
Need Some Help With Your Brand Voice?
Finding and implementing your brand’s tone of voice is a structured process that requires careful consideration of your brand’s core values, audience, and existing communication.
By creating comprehensive brand voice guidelines and consistently applying them across various channels, you’ll ensure your brand communicates authentically and effectively with your audience, ultimately strengthening your brand’s identity and connection with customers.
If you’d like some help developing a content strategy with specialists who will take the time to get your brand voice right, get in touch with Digital Commerce Partners today!