When you think of branding, many things probably come to mind… logos, marks, typography, and color palettes. But your tone and voice are right up there with the rest of those factors as important branding elements that will set your company apart.
When I talk to clients, I often ask them to picture their brand as a person.
How old is this person? What is their general attitude? What do they know, and how do they like to share their knowledge? What is their outlook on life? What are they excited about? This may seem a little silly at first, but the exercise helps to humanize your company and flesh out the most important ways you tend to communicate with your audience.
Speaking of audience- you must identify who you are speaking to.
Who is your dream customer? If you can develop personas for them as well, it can only help. What do these people want? What problem are you solving for them? Ask yourself these questions, and as you explore your company’s voice, you can keep your audience in mind to make sure that what you are saying, and how you are saying it, will resonate with them.
Don’t be afraid of the adjective.
If you don’t have meaningful descriptors, you have nothing. Remember what your English teacher said; the word “nice” doesn’t cut it. If you are struggling to find the right word, open up the thesaurus tab online and go to town. Be as specific and colorful as possible, and don’t be afraid to list out as many adjectives as you can find. Some adjectives that our clients have used in the past are: warm, knowledgeable, spunky, family-friendly, professional, and passionate. The only wrong answer here is a blank page.
Craft some guidelines for your company’s tone and voice online.
These are not hard and fast rules, but guardrails and focus areas for whomever is creating content for your company. A good copywriter will know how to take your descriptors and work them into each and every post. This will also play into the formatting and punctuation of each post. There are no wrong approaches here, but do keep in mind that social media is just that- social, and users tends to reward candor and authenticity when it comes to engaging with businesses.
Be sure that your tone and voice stay consistent.
You wouldn’t want a certain logo on one page of your website, and a completely different one on another page. The same goes for your use of words. Customers want to know what they can expect, and keeping your tone consistent will help further define your audience and help you discover who is attracted to your company.