You’ve chosen a company name and designed the perfect logo—so branding is finished, right? Actually, there’s another key aspect of branding that many companies overlook: voice. A company’s voice is the personality that comes across between the lines in company publications, whether it’s social media posts, printed ads, or commercials. Intentionally settling on a distinctive voice is an important step in establishing your brand.
Here are a few tips for effectively choosing and maintaining a consistent voice for your business:
Consider the personality of your company: where does it fall on the spectrum between casual/fun and formal/professional? Your company’s tone should reflect both your area of business and your ideal target audience. The voice of an insurance business will probably lean towards a serious/formal tone, whereas a floral arrangement business can have a more lighthearted tone. Similarly, if your target audience is older or more educated, you’ll want to use a more formal voice, whereas a younger or less educated audience would respond better to a casual tone.
Jot down a few keywords that you want customers to use to describe your company. If your list includes words like “expert, trustworthy, credible, superior,” then your voice should sound more formal and professional. If your list includes words like “fun, friendly, likable, easy-going,” then your voice can be more relaxed and informal. Your voice should be determined by the relationship you want to have with your customers; the way you speak will affect the way they see your brand.
It’s one thing to decide how you want to sound, but things can get less clear when you actually start writing. Using proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation is always a good idea, but other choices in writing style can get tricky. Here are a few parameters for controlling the way you sound in print:
If you decide that your company’s voice falls somewhere within the spectrum between formal and informal, you should pick and choose which of these guidelines is appropriate for your subject and target audience.
Once you’ve settled on your voice and its guidelines, put them in writing for easy reference and distribution.
Now, make sure to clearly communicate your voice and its rules to everyone within the company. Even small companies can have several people representing them in writing, so making sure the brand’s voice stays consistent between different writers and different platforms helps to establish a permanent and memorable personality for your brand.
Keep in mind that your company “speaks” using many methods beyond just words; images, colors, and fonts also subtly communicate a company’s personality. The voice of the company will be most effective when it’s consistent throughout all mediums.