Defining Your Brand Voice
Are you launching a new brand and wondering about the direction of your copy? With the number of different ways to define a brand tone and style guide, it’s easy to get lost in the mix. Whether you’re preparing for a new launch or simply fleshing out an existing brand’s identity, these helpful strategies will steer you in the right direction.
Think about what your brand is and the customer you want to speak to. An audience of grumpy New Yorkers who prize convenience over everything else will require a different voice than a fitness brand whose customer works out for fun. For the latter, see a brand like Outdoor Voices, where the tone is friendly and emphasizes wholistic wellness. In particular, notice how their copy speaks to the already existing lifestyle of the consumer.
Create a consumer profile for your brand: thinking about the identity of someone who might buy the product will open up new avenues in creative. This doesn’t have to be strictly in terms of demographics, either, but can be expanded to tastes, preferences, hobbies, and other details that help create a more clear picture of the customer and where and how they would use your product.
Create a list of things your brand would and wouldn’t do. You can lay this out in a two column chart. In each line, think of closely related things and decide which version is your brand voice and which one isn’t. In addition to separating your brand concept from others, this might also lead to keywords that you can test with your audience. Looking at brand style guides, you will often find tone defined with “X but not Y” statements.
Another similar way to deepen knowledge of your brand’s voice is to complete a Brand Voice Chart. These charts separate individual traits about the brand, and then delve deeper using a more fleshed out description of how the characteristic applies, followed by “do’s” and “don’ts.”
Change the tone of your brand voice for different platforms and mediums. Your brand voice does not have to be 100% consistent across different mediums — when using different platforms, you can and should, experiment with variations that make the voice seem natural for that medium. For example, social platforms might be more fun and down to earth to encourage engagement, while corporate PR or B2B documents might take on a more professional tone.
Developing documents to guide brand voice is essential at the conception of a new brand or product launch. Because of the ever-changing advertising and marketing landscape, writers must be willing to constantly adapt, and having a set of brand guidelines helps maintain consistency between new and old ventures. Familiarity with your voice and tone, as well as being able to speak to consumer needs, are solid ways to keep customers returning to your product again and again.