Tone of voice
Brand voice is how we sound when we write. The words you choose and the way you use them are just as much a reflection of your brand as your visuals. A distinct brand voice helps people understand what your brand is about and why you are different from competitors. But how do you go about finding the voice that is distinctively you?  And how do you express it in writing?

Be the real you
There’s a temptation to go for a brand voice that has been successful for someone else. But it is no use trying to be Cisco when you are actually Powwownow.

Cisco
Harness technology to unify your businesses communications and address the complexities of mobile workforces.

Powwownow
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Base it on your brand values or personality
The way we speak or write is a reflection of what lies at the core of our brand. So the first step is to make sure writers have a clear understanding of the brand’s values and how they translate into writing. Using the brand’s personality traits is another option.

Specify what the values or personality traits mean
Some of the words we use to describe our brand (such as friendly or inspiring) can be quite generic. By defining them more precisely, you can be much clearer about what they mean for your brand. For example:

Creative
What it is: Standing out from the crowd in a meaningful way.
What it isn’t: Whacky or different for the sake of it.

Create clear guidelines for expressing personality
Creating a few guidelines gives you a structured way of making sure your values (or personality traits) are always reflected in your words. Say your value is:

Straight talking: We say what we mean and do what we say.

You might use some of the following guidelines:

  • Use challenging statements and questions
  • Speak in the active mode
  • Avoid the conditional (should, could, would, may etc.)
  • Use short uncluttered sentences with one idea per sentence

It’s also a good idea to give your writers examples of how the rules play out in reality, using examples relevant to your organisation.

Keep things consistent

A simple set of brand voice guidelines – a couple of pages is enough – means that however large your organisation and however many suppliers are helping with your communications, everything potential clients read is in tune with the personality of the brand. And, however big and scattered your organisation, you can achieve consistency.

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