Establishing a brand voice is integral to any business. Marketers for retail stores, restaurants, B2B companies, and multinational corporations are all likely to write in different brand voices.
When writing in a brand voice, marketers and public relations professionals should keep in mind the audience, brand history, platform, and purpose of the content.
In this article, we share tips for defining a consistent brand voice for your business. Use this information to help shape communications that are consistent across all of your public relations and marketing channels.
Define Your Brand Personality
You should shape your brand voice around the cornerstones of your brand’s personality. Consider these questions when creating a brand personality.
1. Does your brand take a stand on social causes?
Some brands take open and proud stands on social issues. Others tread more carefully. Each strategy has its merits and moments, but all PR and marketing materials should match your brand’s normal voice.
For example, if your brand is outspoken about a political issue, it is fine to reference it in communication materials, and doing so may even bolster your brand’s bona fides. If your brand avoids political issues, don’t take a stand on any PR or marketing materials or you risk tarnishing a neutral brand voice.
2. What’s your company culture?
Your company culture will influence the way you communicate with consumers.
If your company promotes acceptance and tolerance as core values, these ideals are part of your brand’s personality.
Take your company culture and core values into consideration when forming your brand personality.
What’s your social media history?
Your brand’s social media posts impact how people perceive your brand.
For example, if a company known for its positivity and helpfulness suddenly began using sarcastic humor in its PR and marketing materials, people who have come to see the brand as positive and encouraging could lose trust and interest in the brand.
An example of developing a voice that’s consistent with your brand’s personality is included in Walmart’s brand guide:
Walmart lists the creative principles that its brand voice is built on as caring, authentic, straight-forward, innovative, and optimistic.
Most importantly, Walmart reminds its marketers to maintain “one consistent human voice.”
Social media presents companies an opportunity to maintain and manage a consistent voice.
Shape the Tone of Your Written Content
Deciding on a tone is never easy: You need to shape words and phrases uniquely, you need to stay consistent, and you need to be memorable.
Remember the major questions to consider when forming or identifying your brand’s tone:
How formal are you? Is your communication formal, semi-formal, or casual
What’s the reading level of your content? Sentence and word length play a part in the readability of your content.
You can better define the tone of your writing by using tools such as Readable and Hemingway Editor. These apps analyze content and break down your usage of words, phrases, and sentences into easy-to-understand reports.
Create Your Brand’s Style Guide
Creating a written style guide for your brand helps ensure that your tone and personality remain consistent across all of your marketing channels.
Your brand’s style guide should include the qualities of its personality, along with instructions on what should and should not be incorporated into your PR and marketing communications.
For example, part of Mozilla’s branding guide includes a list of brand expressions.
Now, new and experienced Mozilla employees can easily access an archive of slogans and short phrases that have been used by the company in the past.
Your guide to style can include things such as:
Target readability score
Banned phrases and behaviors
Your written guide to style can be shared with your social media and customer service teams to help keep your brand voice consistent across all of your marketing and PR channels.
Use a Consistent Brand Voice Across All Channels
Using a consistent brand voice helps build trust with consumers, social media followers, and the public.
Consider your business’s personality, history, company culture, and target audience when defining your brand’s voice. Outside experts can also help small businesses identify key elements of their business to unify around a brand voice.