When talking about branding, Seth Godin once said“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” And I think he’s spot on.

People connect with a brand through the stories they tell, and how they market themselves. It’s all about language and tone. Which is exactly why achieving the right tone of voice is a huge challenge, and so important.

In this blog, Fifty Five and Five will investigate exactly how to define your brand’s tone of voice and messaging. It will explore the importance of a strong brand image and look at ways to align with a target audience. It will cover the following points:

  • What
    is a brand voice?
  • Why
    does tone matter?
  • How
    to define your own brand voice and align it to your audience

What is a brand voice?

Whenever
your business posts on social media, launches an advertisement or shares
content of any kind – you are demonstrating your brand voice. Essentially, your
brand voice is the unique way in which your brand communicates with the rest of
the world.

A helpful way to think of your brand voice is to frame it as you would a logo. In the same way that you would spend time developing and testing different versions of your logo to find one that best represents your company, it’s necessary to define and strategise your brand voice also.

A brand voice serves to distinguish you from other brands. It helps your audience to identify your content by projecting your brand’s personality. Creating a clear brand voice can also help you to recognise the tone you want your brand to convey and assist in building that tone consistently across all marketing channels.

Why does tone matter?

The tone of
your brand voice matters because it shapes the representation of your company’s
personality. It includes everything – such as the pace, rhythm, vocabulary and
syntax used in your content – and the overall image they help to create. Your
tone applies to just about all your communications – which makes it essential
for connecting and engaging with your customers.

A consistent
tone also shows your audience that you can be trusted. Trust and reputation are
crucial in any business, and consumers will often look out for consistent brand
colours or a familiar logo for reassurance. Similarly, if your brand’s tone of
voice is unpredictable across your channels, it could be taken as a sign that
your company is unreliable.

A
consistent tone of voice not only assists in building trust – it also helps you
to humanise your brand, and it distinguishes you from others in the industry.
Having an established tone of voice will assist your employees in sticking to
the same style of writing and communication – improving consistency in brand
voice across the board.

When your brand’s tone of voice is successfully defined and implemented, your audience will be able to recognise your brand from your content alone – even if they can’t see your logo or company name.

tone-of-voice-brand-fifty-five-and-five

How to define your own
brand voice and align it with your audience

Finding your brand voice begins with knowing your audience. You must understand who your audience is and choose the right language to connect with them. Next, you must identify your brand’s values, as these are pivotal to constructing your tone. Once these factors are outlined, it’s easier to establish clear tone of voice guidelines that ensure your tone will be consistent within each communication sent out by your brand.

Understanding
your audience

If you
already have established buyer personas, then skip this step. If not, now’s the
time to get to know your audience better. Look into their demographic information
and use this data to craft a portrait of your target audience persona. Think
about how your brand would address this persona if it were a real person. Age,
interests, job title (and so on) are all factors that will shape the tone of
your brand voice.

Outline
your brand values

Identifying your central brand values will aid you in finding the language needed to communicate your message effectively – helping you to connect with your audience. To get to grips with your core values, try asking yourself the following questions:

  • Why
    was the company set up?
  • What
    do you stand for as a brand?
  • What
    makes your brand unique?
  • What
    values do you want to portray?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can create a concise mission statement. Use this to show your audience exactly who you are and how your brand can help them. A well-defined mission statement will work to shape your brand’s culture and will help your audience relate to your company, particularly if the values are shared.

Armed with this information, you will be able to clearly define your brand’s tone of voice. In understanding both your audience’s needs and interests, alongside your brand messaging, you can make smart decisions around whether you want to be formal, funny, casual, matter of fact, etc. You can also pick specific phrases or vocabulary that fits with your brand voice.

In keeping a uniform tone across all your communications, your audience will have a better sense of exactly what your brand stands for.

Not only will this enhance customer experience, it will also encourage interaction, humanise your brand and create a consistent brand image that makes you recognisable in the marketplace.

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