Consistency fosters connection in business relationships as it does in personal ones. A consistent brand voice both projects and instills confidence in your company and influences purchasing decisions. In fact, a Lucidpress survey found that brands have seen up to a 33% increase in revenue upon improving this aspect of external communications.
Let’s take a look at how to identify and define your brand voice, how to improve consistency, and what benefits you can expect in exchange for your efforts.
Defining your brand voice
Your brand voice is the language and tone you use to influence how your brand looks, sounds, and feels to your client or customer base.
In order to maintain a consistent brand voice, you first need to determine what it sounds like. The better you and your team understand this, the more effectively you will be able to employ brand voice in external communications.
To clearly define your brand voice, you’ll need to consider the following:
Your company mission. What exactly is your brand trying to achieve? Your brand voice should make sense in the context of both your current products and services, as well as your long-term mission. For instance, if your company is focused on sustainability, your brand voice might reflect an awe of nature and an awareness of environmental issues.
Your company values. Integrity, idealism, boldness—whatever core values are closest to the heart of your brand identity should be reflected in your brand voice. One of Grammarly’s values, for example, is empathy. As such, we emphasize the importance of empathetic language and approach every communication with compassion and respect.
Your target audience. To be effective, your voice needs to resonate with the people you are trying to reach. Crafting detailed buyer personas can help clarify exactly who you are connecting with, including their priorities and preferences for interacting with your brand.
Brand tone is the specific mood or emotion you convey in individual messages. This may vary from one communication to the next—for example, a product announcement is likely to have a much cheerier tone than a response to a customer complaint. In the latter case, a conciliatory tone may be best, but whether it should be formal or informal will depend on your brand voice. Brand voice is how you project your brand personality through your use of word choice and tone. Contrary to tone, your brand voice should be consistent across all communications.
Brand tone is the specific mood or emotion you convey in individual messages. This may vary from one communication to the next—for example, a product announcement is likely to have a much cheerier tone than a response to a customer complaint. In the latter case, a conciliatory tone may be best, but whether it should be formal or informal will depend on your brand voice.
Brand voice is how you project your brand personality through your use of word choice and tone. Contrary to tone, your brand voice should be consistent across all communications.
How to maintain a consistent brand voice
Projecting your brand identity uniformly will make it easier for customers to connect with your company. So how do you maintain a consistent brand voice?
- Create a written style guide. Defining your brand voice on paper helps clarify and unify the rules you and your team need to follow for all external communications. It’s a good idea to have this guide available in print as well as digitally.
- Make the style guide easy to access for employees who write external-facing copy or communicate directly with customers. This saves precious time and effort that would otherwise be spent searching for, or requesting access to, the document.
- Make the style guide easy to understand. Use clear, concise language and organize your document in a way that is easy to navigate. Be sure to highlight any differences in tone, language, or imagery between various channels and situations.
- Revisit and revise your style guide regularly. Language evolves, and so does your audience. If your company’s brand voice feels outdated or no longer suits your brand identity or your customers’ preferences, it may be time for an update.
- Keep your brand voice authentic. Always make sure that your brand voice aligns with your company’s values and services. As many as 86% of consumers say authenticity influences their purchasing choices, according to one survey. Plus, your team will find it easier to maintain a voice that feels “right” for the company.
- Review your external communications. Schedule regular opportunities to check-in across all channels to determine how well current communications align with the brand voice you wish to project.
There may be a bit of an adjustment period whenever you introduce a new style guide or make significant adjustments to your brand voice. But by keeping the rules clear, simple, and easy to follow, you and your team can make the transition as quick and seamless as possible.
The benefits of keeping your brand voice consistent
Maintaining a consistent brand voice may seem like the cherry on top of a sundae—nice to have, but not strictly necessary. In reality, consistency is a critical component of long-term success. Consistent brand representation can quadruple visibility and increase revenue by up to 23%, while a lack of consistency can create market confusion and negatively impact both your brand’’s revenue and reputation.
Keeping your brand voice uniform across channels allows your company to:
- Optimize first impressions with the right messaging—no matter where and how your customers initially encounter your brand.
- Distinguish your brand from others in your industry. Old Spice is an excellent example of this. When they rebranded in 2010, their personal care products quickly became the most recognizable on the market thanks to the unusual yet humorous approach they chose, which was a sharp contrast to the serious tone of their competitors.
- Improve brand recognition by making your messaging memorable. For some brands, a catchy slogan or catchphrase may work well—think about what “Where’s the beef?” did for Wendy’s or “Just do it” did for Nike.
- Build stronger connections with your audience. Customers feel safer trusting brands from whom they know what kind of experience to expect. In fact, an Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report found that 81% of consumers cite trust as a necessary prerequisite to making a purchase.
The more consistent your brand voice, the greater the benefits will be. The best way to maximize both is to make it as easy as possible for you and your team to check your external communications against your internal guidelines. A digital writing tool can help. like Grammarly Business, for example, can instantly check documents against customizable style guides while also evaluating word choice, tone, and consistency within individual messages. It even provides suggestions for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and more improvement in real-time, further facilitating the alignment of content to brand voice.
Your brand voice is your company’s opportunity to show the world its unique identity, mission, and core values. The more confidently you and your team members can use that voice, the more customers and clients will sit up and take notice.