Have you ever seen an advert and instantly recognised which brand it’s from without even seeing the logo? This is the power of a great brand voice - being able to bring your brand to life through personality and memorable content.
Finding your brand’s voice is a crucial exercise for any organisation as it will make your brand stand out from the crowd and help your audience relate to you. It will also help to position you as easily identifiable and a source of authority in your sector.
We’ve outlined five simple steps to help you identify your brand voice and how to apply it in practice.
Your mission statement is essentially the lifeblood of your organisation and should be embedded in every piece of content you create. For instance, if your company values are all about being 'forward-thinking' and 'sustainable' then these themes should clearly come across in how you write about yourselves.
Finding your brand voice starts with understanding your company values, as these values will soon become the key characteristics of your voice.
Understanding your audience is also a crucial step in the process to finding your brand voice, as you’ll want to make sure that your tone resonates with them.
One way of delving deeper into your audience segments is to create customer personas. We’ve covered the process of how to create and use these in a previous blog, which you can check out here.
Further to this, audience research will also help you determine which types of content your audience is most likely to engage with. For example, an audience that regularly uses LinkedIn will likely want to be spoken to in a very different way than one that uses TikTok, so this kind of research can prove very helpful in shaping your overall voice.
Establishing your brand’s voice isn’t the job of any one person. It’s an organisation-wide effort and often involves putting several heads together in multiple idea generation sessions.
A helpful exercise can be to identify three keywords that sum up your voice. You can then expand on these words even further as a team to help you identify some further elements of your overall tone.
At Eleven, for example, our three keywords are ‘human’, ‘straight-forward’ and ‘relevant’. Our tone of voice guidelines expand on these keywords with explanations of what they mean in practice, as well as a helpful list of dos and don’ts for further context.
Once you’ve established your tone of voice, it’s important to ensure that everyone in your organisation is aligned in how to adopt and use that voice going forward. Creating a tone of voice guidelines document will pull all of the guidance together in one place as a helpful toolkit for all to use.
Your guidelines will set out exactly how your brand voice should be applied in action and will also include some helpful examples of how it can be applied across different communications and forms of content. A great set of tone of voice guidelines will also include a style guide to help advise on points like grammar and spelling.
A common mistake after creating a set of tone of voice guidelines is to let them sit buried in a folder collecting dust. But as a valuable brand resource, these guidelines should be understood and widely referred to across your organisation.
Your tone of voice guidelines aren’t just of interest to the copywriting team. They’re a helpful tool to be used across all disciplines, as they help employees across all levels understand what your organisation’s unified voice should sound like across all communications.
It’s also important to make sure that any external suppliers you use are familiar with your tone of voice guidelines too. So don’t forget to provide them with all the necessary training and resources they may need to get to grips with them before starting on a project.
If you’re looking for support in identifying or developing your brand voice, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with a member of our team and we’ll be happy to discuss how we can work together.