How to define your brand's voice?
What is the difference between voice and tone? How does it impact your business and how can you define it? These are some of the many questions that we are going to answer down below.
« C’est pas de la tarte. » In French, that means it might not necessarily be easy. But it is definitely worth it, that’s a guarantee.
Why does it even matter?
Companies that have thought about what type of voice and tone they want to use as a means of communication are the ones you can easily identify without even seeing their logo (just by observing their tone).
They are able to build strong identities because they know how to communicate in a unique way by having developed unique voices.
Yes, your business has a voice and yes you use it to quite literally speak to your target audience. Put it this way, it seems obvious and yet often a company’s tone of voice is one of the less focused on aspects of said company.
- A voice should match your brand's personality. Therefore, it is essentially based on your values and the messages that you want to express.
- A tone is the attitude adopted to express these messages, it can be funny, serious, poetic, etc.
When you combine the two, you have your own brand identity. For example, you are able to differentiate your mother's voice from that of your boss. Technically, you can't go wrong ...
You got it, your tone and voice will allow you to differentiate your company. This is not the only benefit because it is also an essential and persuasive tool that will help you sell your services / products to your audience.
Every headline, paragraph, caption, and call to action is an opportunity for you to express your personality, tell your story and generate engagement.
But beware of the trap! When we read, our mind translates this text to oral, and a text that sounds like a conversation will naturally elicit more engagement than a written text.
Most of the time you will communicate in writing, online or on social media, so write as you speak and, in a way, this will build a sense of belonging amongst your consumers. Imitating them by using their expressions is always a good approach.
So, the idea is to make your voice unique, natural and authentic. Humanize your brand and allow it to express itself like another person would.
Yes, but how? When it comes down to it, you just need to be yourself. So, here you are about to create the voice of your company, and here we are, ready to help! Keep reading for some ideas:
Establish the fundamentals
Basically, if you are at this stage in the process, it’s because you have already defined these elements beforehand because they are the starting point of your branding. If this is not where you are, then you should try think about it before you start creating your brand voice. You can read our post “Branding: A recipe to take off the notoriety of your company.” With the assumption that you are in fact at this stage in the process, let’s discuss the following five points:
1 / Your values
This is the set of attributes that your company shares with the public / collaborators. They establish the pillars of your personality. Your values give you a code of conduct and bring something positive to your customers.
For example, one of the core values at McDonald's is "come as you are." This value, expresses to the client that they are always welcome.
Here it will allow you to directly define your voice.
2 / Your Missions
The missions are your main objectives. What are you trying to accomplish?
3 / Your story
More often than not, businesses are born out of a desire to make a difference or to bring something new to the table. So, your story is important when building your credibility.
4 / Your vision
Where will you be in two, five, or even 10 years? Much like a child who dreams of being an astronaut, try to plan for your growth. This is important in allowing for you to be able to meet your goals.
Define your audience
The message you communicate should reach your ideal or target customer. It is important that you know who they are. How they express themselves, their social status, their financial means, their needs, and their problems.
If your company has a physical venue, observing your current customer base is a good place to start. How do they dress, what type of accessories do they wear, what technology do they use, do they have regular schedules, are they accompanied by others, what are some of their characteristics, how old are they, etc.
Many of these details will allow you to create what are called personas, your ideal customers. Depending on what you come up with, you might have one or more personas.
Another way to find your ideal customer is to look at your social networks or those of your competitors, if you don't have a page yet you can analyze their engagement. Search your customers' profiles whenever possible and find the information you need. You can also submit a survey to better understand what your customers value about you.
If you're starting from scratch, all of this research might seem like a lot. A good place to start is to get inspiration from a brand you admire. Analyze their engagement.
<span class="heading-sm">Tweet de Starbucks</span>
<span class="heading-sm">Tweet de Mac Donald's</span>
Establish a strong and lasting voice
Your look, attitude, voice and message define your personality. It can evolve, assert itself, seek itself and so much more.
1 / Audit & Brainstorming
First, if you already communicating with your customers through one or more channels, analyze the way you speak. Does it correspond to your values?
2 / Define the goal and the message
With all this information you should be able to see what emotion you want to elicit in your readers, what you want to convey. Is it a positive, authentic or even informative message?
3 / Choose your lexicon
Words matter! If you chose "confident" as your tone of voice, eliminate words like "really", "certainly" and the passive voice. Use a direct, clear tone. Every word has a connotation, what kind of words do your target audience use? Speak the same language as it is important to generate engagement.
4 / Establish a charter
Okay, now we should be able to describe what each of these adjectives mean, what you should and should not do. To establish a strong and lasting voice you must follow these four points:
- Avoid (which is what you definitely don't want to do),
- Eliminate (what you no longer want to do),
- Preserve (what works and is aligned with your values),
- Achieve (what you want to add).
Here is an example of how we defined our chart at Food Algorithm.
Read your text aloud. If it's hard to say, or if you find yourself stumbling over words, go back to your text, try to rework it so that you stay conversational.
It's your turn!
Essential and often overlooked, your brand’s voice is a key aspect of your identity and your communication style. We have seen how a strong voice will create connections with target audiences, as voice can be a driving factor of engagement on social networks and it can attract ideal clients. You will be able to persuade customers and reassure them that by choosing your company, they are making the right choice.
Finally, your voice, will allow your team to speak with one voice regardless of the author, because you set the rules.
Do you think this will work for you? Do not hesitate to contact us, our branding experts are here for you 😉.