The way a brand communicates with its audience is extremely important because that’s how people are going to remember it.
To achieve a consistent tone of voice you need to decide how you want your brand to be perceived, and ensure everybody responsible for delivering your marketing messages are aware of the guidelines.
Here are 5 essential steps to follow when developing your brand’s tone of voice.
1. Identify your values
The most fundamental reason to have a defined tone of voice is to express a brand’s personality and set of values. Therefore, the first step to take in finding your band’s voice is to recap your values.
This must start with the obvious, yet so easily forgotten question: “what is it that you want to tell to the world?” Once you understand the core purpose of your communication you can start to build your tone of voice.
2. Know your audience
What are the words your target audience use to describe your brand? Are there consistent phrases that crop up to indicate how the brand is perceived? By listening to what your target audience says about your organisation, you can determine whether they see you as friendly or formal, authoritative or quirky.
You then need to find out whether the way they view your brand matches their preferred style of language and your values. Once all three aspects coincide, you are on the way to developing an effective tone of voice.
3. Stakeholder input
Involving the key stakeholders is essential to finding the right tone of voice for your company. By asking them for their opinion on how they would like the organisation to be portrayed and how they view their position in the marketplace, you will gain valuable insight as to their vision for the brand.
After speaking to your target audience and your stakeholders, you should have a much better understanding of the language and style that will work best for the organisation.
4. Define your personality
A brand’s tone of voice should be distinctive and unique. This is where you need to think about the type of language best suited to the brand’s personality.
Formal language can convey a sense of professionalism, but, it runs the risk of being stiff and lacking in imagination. In contrast, informal language can more easily be filled with personality and warmth, yet may come across as brash or patronising.
Deciding on the acceptable language to use within your marketing materials is dependent on your values and industry.
5. Create a style guide
Once you are satisfied that you have found your brand’s voice, it’s important to set guidelines for others to follow.
A style guide should be created using the chosen tone of voice and showing examples of how this works in different contexts. This will promote uniformity in content across different teams, channels and formats.
An effective tone of voice is all about balance. You must find the happy medium that projects your personality and values, but also resonates with your target audience and stakeholders.
Without developing a distinct tone of voice, you run the risk of your marketing messages being lost among the vast sea of copy already out there.