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Developing a Brand Voice

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Developing a brand voice
You create a credible brand by staying true to who you are. Hilary Sawchuck

Deciding on a tone of voice then expecting the rest of the company to use it unquestioningly is not realistic, unless you involve people in the early stages of planning. Your vendors, employees, even customers, are more likely to be receptive of something they have had involvement with.

Involvement could consist of focus groups where people actively participate in exercises (such as those listed in previous sections) as a way of generating ideas. It may also be useful to ask people to pinpoint specific examples of copy already existing in company communications that they particularly like or don’t like, and explain why.

For a less hands-on approach, keep people up-to-date with the development of the tone of voice, and ask for comments and feedback. Of course, this process is not just about encouraging ‘buy-in’ but also about getting an indication of whether you have developed a suitable tone of voice. If a lot of negative feedback comes back, you may have to re-think things. After all, the tone of voice should be an expression of the people who make up the company and so must ring true for them.

Create a voice guide to be sent to a few key stakeholders to initially read and digest in the early period of adopting the voice, then refer back to at later dates. In addition, a guide will serve as a critical tool for training new content team members.

Creating a document not only reassures people that the tone of voice is a specific, knowable entity (rather than something fluffy they will never fully grasp), but gives people confidence to write in this new way by setting out rules and guidelines.

Developing a brand tone

Tips for writing a guide:

Write in the tone of the Brand Archetypes you are deciding between. Then, make it memorable.

Be comprehensive. After getting across the essentials, delve into the specifics. While every company is different, here are a couple things that are worth considering:

  • Look at examples of copy used in different contexts - social media, newsletter, internal communication, customer service, marketing materials and sales copy.
  • Develop a "Best Practices" list of words and phrases that you like versus those you don’t like.

Developing a distinct tone of voice for your company reduces the risk of its writing being lost among all the noise in your market.

A tone of voice expresses a unique Brand Archetype (personality), turning a faceless company into a group of people with their own special way of working or, in other words, a brand. It is only through embracing a tone of voice that consistency can be achieved – breeding familiarity and trust within your target audience.

You have decided what your organization wants to say to the world (MISSION).

You have brought your mission to life (VALUES).

Now, it's time to express these values in your communication (TONE).

Keep checking back in with FounderU and Selz as you scale your business and its mission.

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