how to teach your brand to speak: a step-by-step guide to creating a unique voice
Each brand, like a person, has its own voice and character. They help the company exist in the vast business world and communicate properly with its audience. While the logo, corporate colors and typography form the visual identity of the brand, its name, slogan and tone of communication form an equally significant part of its personality - the verbal identity. Today we will talk about why it is so important to choose your Tone of Voice correctly, whether it can be changed and how to determine it most accurately.
What is brand voice
Tone of Voice or brand voice is the manner of speech that a company uses when communicating with its consumer. It includes specific words and stop words, intonation, professional terminology, and sentence structure. In an ideal world, TOV is always part of the corporate culture and is born not from the spontaneous ideas of a marketer, but from the values, positioning and characteristics of the target audience.
The voice of the brand is ubiquitous: it can be heard both in Instagram posts and in the way cashiers or waiters of the company communicate. But its presence is most evident in these channels of communication:
- content on the site,
—messages in commercials and outdoor advertising.
Differences in the nature of TOV explain why some brands allow themselves to use black humor and emoji, while others remain serious and reserved even on April 1st.
What it consists of
The concept of TOV seems simple enough - when it comes to theory. But in practice, things are much more complicated. How to compose it correctly? What is important not to forget to take into account? Each company may have its own “recipe” for the tone of voice, but it is still necessary to adhere to the general structure. What does it include:
It is not necessary to be a philologist in order to soberly appreciate the importance of historical context and the meaning of words. In relation to TOV, working with etymology means choosing vocabulary that will fit and categorically not fit your brand.
For example, Burger King will never call its whopper "an exquisite combination of fresh vegetables and savory juicy meat", but McDonald's, on the contrary, will always eschew provocative puns and euphemisms.
The sound characteristics of speech can also play an important role in voice construction. Techniques such as consonance, rhyme, or alliteration create fluid, melodious speech that is easy to read. It is especially important to take this parameter into account when generating a slogan or a key message for an advertising campaign.
This category includes the construction of sentences and the structure of speech in general. For some, brevity, conciseness, and even some abruptness of speech are closer - just remember the appeals of such sports giants as Adidas and Nike. Others try to convey through speech not drive and willpower, but, for example, a sense of security or comfort, and therefore choose a smooth rhythm of sentences and speech lace.
How to find
Finding the right TOV starts with a clear understanding of who your audience is. The next step is to define the values of the brand, which will play a decisive role in communicating with the reader. By defining these components, you can establish clear rules and formats for communication. Thus, we need to work with the voice consists of the following steps:
—determining the target audience and drawing up a portrait of the consumer,
— selection of the necessary brand values,
—search for the tone and suitable channels for broadcasting TOV.
Working with the audience
The first and most important thing is to understand and feel the audience. Who exactly are you talking to? How do these people communicate with each other? What are their values and what are they most interested in? What is acceptable and familiar to them, and what topics are taboo? What style will help you get their attention and make them listen?
Find popular groups on social networks among the audience, thematic blogs, read their comments and posts, pay attention to the content design. Carefully study what and how they write, what words, appeals, turns they use, whether slang is close to them.
The key at this stage is to create deep connections with the representatives of the audience. To be accepted as one of your own and associated with yourself, you need to speak their language. One way to establish this connection is to create a character or portrait of the consumer. You can read more about this method in our other article.
Before you decide how to write, determine the main purpose of your communication. To do this, you need to turn to the core values of your company: they will help you not only find your voice, but also form a community of like-minded people around your brand. To identify core brand values, try answering the following questions:
Why was the company created?
What makes your brand unique?
- what do you sell under the brand name?
What values do you want to share with your audience?
And just like that, think about what values your audience might have.
If these are self-employed people, they will appreciate time, speed and quality rest, generation Z (those same “digital children”) will appreciate unusualness, originality and hype, older people think more about stability, strength and durability.
Find common values and be sure to scale them to your audience messages on behalf of the brand – “We know you value time. Therefore, in our coffee shop you can always take lunch and coffee with you.”
Looking for communication channels
Determine the communication methods and channels that best suit you. Here, the list can be either standard - content on the site, social networks and the manner of emails and newsletters, or offline - posters at the point of sale, employee responses, inscription on the sign, names of products and service packages. Some of them may not fully correspond to the style of communication, but only retain some of its features and mood.
Perhaps it will be enough for you to work out the “basic set”, or maybe, on the contrary, everything from the inscription on the window and the wishes of a cheerful day from sellers to special author's phrases and appeals. Such components of communication make it possible to make the voice of the brand more charismatic and real, increase loyalty among the audience and strengthen the connection between you.
The voice of the brand is an integral part of the marketing strategy of every company that wants to connect with its audience. It should be relevant to the interests, age, generation of your audience and convey those values that are important to potential customers and buyers.
Changing the brand voice from post to post can only happen when you have a brand strategy, mission, purpose, or brand value that changes dramatically. In all other cases, the voice should sound the same in all channels where you broadcast your messages.
You can test yourself well in terms of TOV in the following way - just ask a few friends to describe your brand in three words. This will give you an idea of how other people perceive, see and hear your brand.
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