Finding Your Voice
Voice influences how your target audience feels, relates to, and responds to your brand.
Brand messaging cannot rely solely on words, logos, illustrations, or colors. All independent visual elements and pieces of messaging come together to create a brand experience that effectively expresses your brand’s personality in a way that connects with audiences. Using a consistent tone of voice across all outfacing brand messaging, connects you with your audience in a way that is memorable, trustworthy and communicates the value you bring.
What is tone of voice?
If brand personality refers to the human characteristics and attributes of your brand, tone of voice is the way your brand expresses its personified self. Just like in human beings, a brand voice is the unique way a brand communicates its personality to the world. Your brand voice is meant to be heard by customers. It is the consistent expression of a brand’s core messages, values, and personality through the purposeful use of words to manage how the brand is perceived by the consumers who are aware of, or interact with, your brand in any way. The voice is a consistent component of the brand and is unchanging.
While brand messaging is about communicating the value you bring to people's lives and how you do that, brand voice is about conveying who you are and why you care.
Tone of voice communicates the embodiment of your brand’s messaging through written and spoken words. More than what you say, it's the way you say it. Your rhythm, cadence, velocity, and length of speech are all aspects of your voice in motion, and are what make an impression on your audience far more than your vocabulary could ever on its own.
Does your brand character speak quickly or slowly? Are you humorous and casual or focused and professional? Do you use industry jargon? Slang or four syllable words? Do you use emojis?
By diving into who your brand is (brand identity), and how your brand is (brand personality), you can discover and solidify your voice.
How is tone of voice developed?
To find your voice, go back and dive into your brand personality. Explore your core traits and archetypes. Drawing from the keywords that define your brand values and personality you can expand upon your brand pillars to create a pallet of verbal expression.
Next, look to your list of what your brand is and is not. Once you know how your brand looks, sounds, smells, moves and feels, ask yourself: How does my brand speak? Confidently but not commanding? Calmly but not meekly? Intelligently but not academically? Get as specific as possible.
Finally, building upon your brand pillars —the deep-seated truths that your brand embraces every single day—bring everything together to hone in on your brand's voice in motion. Write out your brand’s perspective, the language you will use and the rhythm you will speak to connect with your target audience’s point of view. What do you need to tell them? Why is the message important to them? How do you want them to feel and what do you want them to do after reading the message?
Once you have your brand fundamentals in place, pull everything together into a brand personality, voice, and tone guideline document that you can follow when writing any communication to represent the brand.
Why is tone of voice important?
Brand voice is capable of reaching consumers on a subconscious level and affecting the impression they have of your brand and your offering. The feelings consumers will associate with your products and services give them a reason to trust you, and ultimately, buy from you. The words, phrases, and prose styles you choose have the power to either reinforce that reason or detract from it.
Using your voice appropriately will help ensure consistent communication with customers and consumers, the market, and yourself, making you more trustworthy and memorable. Use voice to solidify your brand story, strengthen your brand identity and bring to life your brand personality to sincerely and effectively connect with your audience.