How to cultivate a tone of voice that breaks through the noise and demands the attention and delights your ideal audience.
There are brands effortlessly inform, entertain, educate, and sell effectively to their ideal audience. It captivates their audience not by what they say, but by how they say it.
Back up. What is a brand voice anyway?
Ultimately it’s the messaging that embodies the brand’s personality and values. It expresses itself and speaks to it’s audience about what they can expect from and how to relate to the brand. A seemingly tall order, a brand’s tone of voice should be distinctive and recognizable. Voice is not a statistic you can track or a design element you can tweak. Voice goes deeper than that.
There is a strong link between voice familiarity and trust. Because something familiar requires little effort to process mentally, we are more likely to feel at ease around it. Thinking along these lines, a company must be consistent in its use of language so that its writing becomes familiar to the customer. Creating a specific tone of voice, then, plays a crucial part in this.
Defining the brand voice relies heavily on determining your brand’s foundation, personality and values that the ideal audience will respond to, all elements we uncover while working together.
What is it you want to tell the world? It is only once you define the core purpose of your communication that you can start to build your tone of voice. Then and only then can you truly share what you do consistently and develop a brand position.
What is the difference between voice and tone?
The two are often interchangeable. Gather Content puts it this way:
“Voice: Your brand personality described in an adjective. For instance, brands can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional.
Tone: A subset of your brand’s voice. Tone adds specific flavor to your voice based on factors like audience, situation, and channel.
Essentially, there is one voice for your brand and many tones that refine that voice. Voice is a mission statement. Tone is the application of that mission.”
Let’s break it down into four basic foundational elements: Persona, Tone, Language, and Purpose.
Persona: Who does your brand sound like? If you picture your brand as a person, this is where you can flesh out this identity with specific attributes that fit who you want to sound like online.
Tone: What is the general vibe of your brand?
Language: What kind of words do you use in your conversations? Is it casual? Inspiring? Thought provoking? Humorous?
Purpose: What is it you want to tell the world?
How do you go about shaping your tone of voice?
1. You cultivate a voice that delights your customers.
2. Delighted customers talk positively about your brand, essentially creating new content.
3. This content reaches other customers and prospective customers, delivering your brand’s
message for you.
At a cocktail party, you wouldn’t walk up to someone and say, ‘Hey, I’m Dave. My stuff is 20% off.’
What you do is ask questions, tell stories, listen, and relate to people.
A couple of the questions we work through when working together are:
If your brand was a person, what kind of personality would it have?
If your brand was a person, what’s their relationship to the consumer? (a coach, friend, teacher, dad, etc)
Describe in adjectives what your company’s personality is.
Are there any companies that have a similar personality to yours? Why are they similar?
How do you want your customers to think about your company?