Why is brand voice important?
Brand voice serves as a link between your company and its clients. It is how you demonstrate to your audience what you do or provide and who you are as an organization—your personality and values.
When you create a brand voice, your consistency will identify your brand and distinguish you from your competition, increasing reach and awareness. It fosters loyalty—the better your prospects believe they know you, the more likely they will have a good perception of your brand. After a series of good interactions, your brand will be perceived as reliable and trustworthy. It also enhances the entire customer experience by allowing for a seamless transition from one engagement and communication channel to the next.
Here are some statistics demonstrating the importance of a consistent brand voice:
- Brand authenticity makes a huge difference to your ability to be successful, and our research indicates that 83% of customers will refuse to do business with brands they don't trust. (Source: Gartner)
- 86 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support (Source: Stackla)
- Brands that come across transparently and speak to customer needs in a true way show a 19% lift in loyalty, 33% increase in trust, and a 39% shift in preference. (Source: Gartner)
How to create a brand voice
Brand voice includes everything from precise word choices and distinctive terminology to tone, visual aspects, and emotional effect.
You will want to leave out the noise of competitors and buyers you don't want to reach. Everyone will judge your brand voice and communication style differently, but what is essential is that you are sure that your brand voice represents what your company stands for and that you are successfully engaging with clients.
Here are a few tips on what you need to do to create an effective brand voice:
Clarify your organization's mission and vision
What are you hoping to accomplish, and what actions will you take to get there? Your purpose informs the personality you want your voice to convey.
Establish your values and culture
Think about what you hold dear? What characteristics do you want your brand to be associated with? Your beliefs and culture will help you determine who your target audience is and how to communicate with them.
Think about your competitive edge
Ask yourself what distinguishes your brand from the competition, what differentiates you from your competitors? Anything that puts you ahead of your competitors should be reflected in your brand voice. Let prospects and clients know you're confident you're the best option.
Determine your target audience
Is this the audience you're currently targeting? What will your audience anticipate from you in terms of tone? Is your brand appealing to them? What are your core values?
Consider your current audience and what they like about your brand. Extend on this to fine-tune your brand voice and reach your whole target demographic.
Examine current content to see if you can spot a pre-existing voice
Look at the current state of your brand's presentation, and what would you wish to do differently in the future?
By examining how your clients receive your present voice, you can then examine where effective communications have occurred and determine whether they are consistent with what your business stands for.
Consider your brand to be a person
Is your brand a sweet primary school teacher, a feisty fashionista, or a rugged explorer? Consider the communication style that individuals would use—and hence the communication style your brand would use—and how they would come across.
Look within—at yourself, your staff, everyone—and draw inspiration from it.
Determine your tone objectives
While your voice should be constant across all channels, your brand tone may vary depending on the channel and scenario.
For example, although a humorous, lighthearted tone may be appropriate for social media, a more severe and sympathetic approach may better suit a customer service encounter.
How to create your brand voice style guide
Maintaining consistency and quality across all your communications may be difficult, especially if you create a lot of material such as blogs, videos, and social media posts. When creating your style guide, be sure to include the following elements:
- A description of your brand's tone of speech
- The tone you're keeping
- The persona of your brand
- How it corresponds to your brand's ideals
- It is aimed towards a certain audience.
- A dictionary of specialized word-choice preferences and/or distinctive branding words
- Descriptions of the many brand tones you wish to target across multiple channels and media (e.g., websites, videos, support emails, etc.)
- Spelling, grammar, and syntax rules, as well as any established style standards you choose to follow (e.g., AP, MLA, Chicago, etc.)
- Other dos and don'ts for internal and external communication include expectations for one against the other. Internal communications, for example, might be more informal, but external communications must be more formal.
- Real-world examples from your organization to demonstrate and explain your rules
Your brand style guide will be critical in developing a distinct brand voice and maintaining consistency across channels today and in the future.
If you want more information on developing your style guide, I suggest you look at How to Develop Your Business’ Content Style Guide by Grammarly.
Maintaining your brand voice
Simply identifying your brand voice is inadequate for long-term success; you must also guarantee that your brand voice is utilized appropriately and consistently. Begin by developing a brand guide, which should contain a written style guide outlining your company's voice and the tone you intend to utilize across various media.
Following that, you'll want to ensure that everyone on your team understands your brand voice and how to use it. Schedule training sessions to go through your style guide and provide staff the opportunity to ask questions that will help them grasp it better. Here are just a few examples of the various types of training you may provide:
- Training calls: Host a monthly (or weekly) meeting for your staff. Include anyone who is an expert on the issue and put out a call for questions.
- Newsletters: An internal newsletter dedicated to brand voice might feature recent client comments and success stories to keep everyone updated on your business’s style standards. This may also be a fantastic method to show the importance of your brand voice to your workers to gain more buy-in.
- In-person workshops: If feasible, holding a hands-on session can help to engage staff and keep them involved in learning about your brand's voice. Be informal, include visuals, and begin an open discussion.
Conduct frequent communication audits in addition to regular training to identify areas for improvement that can be addressed in future sessions. As needed, revise the style guide anytime your brand voice needs to develop, which it will do organically over time.
Your business and staff will be able to expertly use your new brand voice not only to reach more people but also to deepen connections with your existing client base if you have a good style guide and the proper tools.