In the digital marketing world—and frankly in any business world—brand voice and tone are the core tenet for creating every piece of digital content, be it a tweet, blog post, email newsletter or infographic. Brands that communicate successfully are successful brands. And in order to communicate successfully, you have to distinguish your voice.
But what exactly is a “brand voice,” and how do you come up with one?
Say you’re going to a dinner party full of people you don’t know. Whether you admit it or not, you’ll want each of the other people at the party to leave with a certain viewpoint or opinion about you at the end of the night. So you might choose to emphasize certain words and conversation topics over others, make jokes, or generally work to be the most charming, or funny, or book smart, or empathetic, etc. version of yourself, depending on what you want to convey.
With brands, it’s really not all that different. The fundamentals of voice comes down to a personality—prioritizing a set of traits that comprise an identity, and then communicating in a way that expresses it. In order to create a successful voice, a brand is required to take on some of the personality or identity of, well, an actual person.
So, what personality traits does my brand embody?
The answer can only come from one source: your brand. No one else can identify your brand’s values and point of view other than the individuals who comprise it.
The most successful brands stand for an idea, and that idea is a good place to start when it comes to distilling your brand values into a key concept or identity.
Another way to think of this: if your brand was the person at the dinner party, who would they be? The gadget freak with the new Apple watch who shows everyone its features? The sensitive friend you’d consult in a time of need? The mad scientist determined to find a way to make fuel out of pencil shavings? Or, is your brand the outgoing, adventure-seeking, life of the party?
These examples are hyperbolic, but they serve as good examples of prioritizing certain personality traits and skills over others. And then using them to express yourself.
Every business should define and describe the voice and tone of their brand in a document that can be shared with all current and future employees and vendors who contribute to brand communications. This ensures that everyone in the company is on the same page, and all created content and messaging will be consistent. The brand voice guide should be a living document that grows with the brand.
Voice isn’t just a piece of jargon. It’s what separates your brand and your content from the noisy, crowded digital dinner party.
Do you need help defining your brand’s voice and tone? I would be happy to help, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, stay tuned for future posts on developing your brand’s identity!