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  • Writer's pictureMalaz Elnaiem

Develop Your Brand Tone Of Voice Using These Simple Steps

Updated: Oct 18, 2022


When it comes to brand identity, visual aspects like the color scheme, logo, font, and overall aesthetic are given considerable thought. Too often, businesses fail to recognize how important it is for a brand to have a tone of voice. With today's community-focused marketing strategies, your brand's tone of voice and persona are the only things that will set you apart.

Creating and sustaining a consistent brand voice is the most effective technique to convey your brand's human qualities, cut through the noise and clutter of a crowded marketplace, and ensure that your messages are received as intended.

To some extent, you can still succeed without developing a unique brand voice, but doing so will significantly improve your positioning and marketing efforts.

So let's get cracking, shall we?

Step 1 - Audit Your Existing Content and Voice

You might find that you're already using your brand voice effectively and might just need to fine-tune your approach. But, you may also discover that your existing tone is confusing or misaligned with your target audiences.

Consider the engagement rate of your key audience, what characteristics or styles do your best-performing posts share in common? If you find that your infographics perform better than your promotional posts, then up the ante on educational and reduce the frequency of your promotional posts.

From here, you can pick out some of your company's best personality traits and brainstorm new ideas to expand on them.

Step 2 - Define Your Mission, Vision, and Values.

In other words, who are you? What are you working towards, and what are the steps that will get you there?

Developing your mission, vision, and value statements is an excellent place to begin. After all, your affirmations help define your company's identity, and your brand voice should always reflect your values.

Say, for example, one of your core values is "Equality and Inclusion," you should use inclusive language.

Don't use:

  • 'chairman,' use 'chair' or 'chairperson.'

  • 'manpower,' use 'human effort.'

  • 'maternity/paternity leave,' use 'parental leave.'

Step 3 - Define Your Target Audience And Client Personas

In the real world, we choose our words depending on who we're speaking to. You'd never speak to a police officer the way you'd talk to your friend, and you wouldn't greet a mail carrier the same way you'd greet a bailiff, now would you? So, if the bulk of your audience consists of millennials and zoomers, you'll want to use language that resonates with them.

While working through your audience and their personas, list personality traits, phrases, and local lingo you want your brand to adopt.

A Malaysian brand targeting Malaysian millennials should include regional slang in its marketing copy.

Step 4 - Imagine Your Brand As A Person And Create Its Archetype

The more you personify your brand, the deeper you connect with your audience. People are more likely to connect with someone who shares their values, goals, and aspirations.

For instance, you might be building a brand that sells outdoor sports equipment. After some research, you find that your target audience is young, adventurous, and enjoys the occasional wilderness survival exercise. Based on that information, you find that a fitting brand persona would be a mix of Bear Grylls and Robert Neville from I Am Legend.

Now that you've established a general idea of the type of personality you want to adopt, ask yourselves these questions and write down their answers:

  • How does your brand speak?

  • What words does it use?

  • How does it greet you?

  • What does it talk about?

  • What are its interests, likes, and dislikes?

  • Is it funny or serious?

  • How does it act in a public or social setting?

Step 5 - Establish Its Personality Traits and Archetype

Imagine being at a house party, and your brand is there. How would you describe them?

Are they the supportive friend that helps the host with laying out all the snacks? Are they the life of the party, making sure everyone has a drink in hand? Or are they in the kitchen dominating a historical discussion about the Library of Alexandria?

Start listing adjectives to help you hone in on a more distinctive personality. Remember to keep your target audience in mind and choose adjectives and traits that suit their preferences. The language should appeal to them more than to you.

Step 6 - Build a Brand Voice Style Guide

Through fun writing exercises, combine identities, traits, and other components to uncover your brand's voice. Start by writing free-flowing words as if your brand were networking at an event or chatting with a client. Use "I" statements and discuss your mission, values, and unique selling point.

E.g., "I think a lot of parents can agree that they don't have time to keep up with the daily demands of children. That's why I've decided to help out parents that struggle to keep up. I'll ensure you get all your important tasks done and help you manage your day, so you can have some free time to relax and catch up on hobbies."

Comms Dos & Don'ts

Your dos and don'ts should specify your preferred tones in specific contexts. What tone or style should you adopt when writing a LinkedIn post compared to a Tweet? Do we participate in political movements or do we refrain from discussing politics? Are we funny or authoritative?

Now that you have a better sense of your brand voice, you can start developing a set of guidelines that accurately represents it.

Consistency is key for any brand, so a brand style guide is crucial.

Use simple sentences to frame the guidelines in a palatable way. Regardless of how long an employee has been with a company, anyone should be able to easily understand and demonstrate your brand's voice on all social media accounts, emails, and blog posts.

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