Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Maybe your brand is already well-established. Or…it’s an idea living in your head.
Either way, there comes a time as an entrepreneur where you’ll end up wondering how to form your brand voice and tone. Especially when we know how important earning consumer trust has become.
81 percent of people say they’ll buy from a brand they share values with.
Your brand voice is going to be your golden ticket to creating an authentic connection with your audience and generating a river of new sales. But first, you must find it.
What is brand voice and how can you find your own?
Brand voice is the unique personality and tone in which you communicate with your customers and leads.
Luckily, it’s not complicated to learn how to form your brand voice and tone — it just takes a little bit of elbow grease. Follow these steps below to define a brand voice that’s distinct, consistent and directed at your target audience.
1. Look at brand voice and tone examples
You should look at other brand voice and personality examples before you start defining your own. To do this, jot down a handful of your favorite brands and companies and their brand voice characteristics.
Here are two examples from the world’s most valuable brands:
- The Nike brand voice is a stellar example — it’s gritty and inspirational.
- Coca-Cola’s bubbly brand voice features concepts of friendship, family and joy.
Go explore your favorite brand voices and use those examples to establish a deeper understanding of what brand voice is and does.
2. Fill out a brand voice worksheet
You can complete some simple brand voice exercises to help form your tone.
This will help you explore your target audience more deeply, define your competitor’s brand voice and start to uncover the direction of your own brand’s tone.
I put together a no-fuss brand voice worksheet for you to fill out to get you started. Feel free to take a peek at the questions on the sheet and jot down your answers to them when you’re ready.
3. Write down your brand voice characteristics
Here’s the fun(nest) part. Up next, you’re going to drill down your answers and define your brand voice and tone.
To do this, take a look at the words you wrote down on your worksheet for inspiration. What’s the immediate vibe you get from looking at your answers. Fun? Serious? Inspiring? Hopeful? Young? Direct?
Pulling inspiration directly from the words you wrote down is a great start. But you’ll need to get a little more existential with your thoughts around your business. So next, ask yourself:
Which of your brand’s big truths connects the most with your ideal customer?
For instance, let’s say you’ve written down that sustainability is the most important factor for your vegan body wash business. And your target audience is Gen Z. You’ll need to do some research into how, when and where people born after 1996 are consuming topics around sustainable and ethical skincare.
4. Create brand voice guidelines and share them
This is your brand. So, you’ve got to be the captain of the ship that guides others to create in alignment with your brand voice.
So how do you create brand voice guidelines? First, make sure that everyone can access your brand voice characteristics and details in a shareable document. That way, your entire team knows where to go to reference your brand tone when planning, writing and editing content.
Make sure to include a section with similar brand voice examples so your team can get a tangible feel for what you’re imagining (screenshots work great).
Then, make your voice brand guidelines thorough.
Are your sentences short and sweet like Apple’s straightforward brand voice? Include that in your guidelines. Is prioritizing wellness the crux of everything your brand does? Put it in the guidelines. Is your signature color of yellow going to represent your fun brand tone? Put that in the guidelines as well (and good to you for picking one since signature colors can increase brand recognition by 80 percent.)
And since brand consistency increases revenue by 33 percent, you’ll not only need a place to keep your brand guidelines, but you’ll also need a plan to implement them consistently.
5. Be consistent with your brand tone
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve put in a ton of work finding your brand voice and tone. Don’t let it go to waste.
It’s now time to create a documented and sustainable business strategy. A plan that includes details on how to keep tone consistent across everything your business publishes.
You can spend a lot of time and energy trying to find the right way to discover your brand voice and include it consistently in your business strategy. Another option is to invest in a mentor who has already been there. The mentor can show you not only how to form a distinct brand voice and tone, but also how to run your brand without burning out.
Your customers are craving authenticity from you, it’s up to you how you’ll go about delivering it.