Why Brand Voice Matters: Building Trust, Loyalty, and Long-Term Growth
Think of some of the brands you admire the most. It’s probably because they resonate with you, they speak to you and you like what they stand for.
Mailchimp, a popular platform for email marketing, has a brand voice that is amusing and informal. This might seem like it doesn’t fit with their SaaS platform, but it actually creates a unique connection to customers and uses off-beat humor and genuine messaging to connect on a personal level to their audiences.
Defining Brand Voice
Your brand voice is the personality and style of communication that encapsulates your brand's essence. A successful brand voice aligns seamlessly with your brand's values, culture, and target audience.
Creating Your Brand Voice
Know Your Identity – Is your brand playful, professional, or authoritative? Be authentic, let these qualities guide your voice.
Personify Your Brand – How would you describe your company if it was a person? What would they be like? Would they be educated, innovative, technical, or creative? When you put those traits together they start to form a personality, and you begin to have expectations based on that personality type.
Be Consistent – A consistent voice creates trust and brand loyalty, reinforcing an emotional connection with your audience.
Successful brands include voice guidelines in their brand book. A consistent, reliable voice is crucial to building trust and emotional connection. If you don’t establish voice guidelines you run the risk of sounding generic; without a compelling emotional connection to your customers you may be forgotten.
Including Brand Voice in Your Guidelines
Most companies have visual identity guidelines that codify artistic elements such as logo, typography, colours, and iconography. To fully develop your brand guidelines, take the next step to identify your brand voice.
Define Voice Dimensions
Using a voice matrix is a way to visualize the degree to which each dimension characterizes a brand. Think of each of the four dimensions as a spectrum, a tone of voice could be expressed at any point along the spectrum line.
The four dimensions of Tone of Voice according to Nielsen Norman Group
Formal or Casual
Serious or Funny
Respectful or Irreverent
Matter-of-fact or Enthusiastic
Describe Tone of Voice Traits as a Human
Explore the brand’s personality using internal focus groups, customer surveys and company research. Align the tone of voice to brand personality. Compile a list of words and phrases from your brand research that describe the brand as if it were human. Group words into similar buckets and identify each as a single trait. For example “compassionate, transparent, honest, inspiring”. Come up with 3-5 voice traits.
Organize Tone of Voice Traits and How to Use Them Into a Table
Include the table into your Brand Guidelines. These copy guidelines are used to help writers communicate and express voice traits in writing. The table should include how to express the traits with examples of – Do and Don’t when writing internal and customer-facing brand content. For example “Compassionate – Do: be inclusive, Don’t: be insincere”.
Include copy guidelines into the visual guidelines and share with anyone who writes brand content such as writers, designers, your communications team or agencies.
Weaving your brand voice into your key messaging will create a captivating and meaningful reason to do business with you.