At the Sound of the Tone … State Your Brand’s Voice Message

Find a consistent tone and voice for your brand.

Ask yourself these questions: If I mask all the visual marketing cues on my company’s website, emails and newsletters, would my brand stand out as unique? What impact does my content have on customers?

One of the most common marketing mistakes that new companies make is neglecting to define their brand’s voice and using it consistently across the board. Startups, in particular, often put a lot of their time, effort and money into logos, fonts and colors. It’s not that they don’t have a distinct message to convey to their customers—every business has a vision and a story to tell. The mark most often missed is initiative—differentiating them—to stand out amongst a sea of competitors.

Tone of Voice

Your brand’s tone of voice is what draws people to you and makes them want you over the competition. Tone is all about how you say something, not exactly what you’re saying. To be unique in any form of business (no matter what product or service you’re offering), you have to define what makes your company what it is—why you are the best choice.

As an example, let’s say your company manufactures and sells toothbrushes. With literally hundreds of different types and styles of toothbrushes on the market, how will you convince people to trust your brand? Because in the end, they all really do the same thing—clean teeth.

Oral B is the number one selling toothbrush brand in the country, and it’s not because their products are necessarily better than all the others. The brand’s tone of voice commands respect and presents itself as an authority in all things related to clean teeth. They use keywords like superior, deeper clean, and healthier, and also present content that stands out from their competitors with tag lines like, “Your toothbrush would like to have a word with you.”

Every business’ mission statement should—but often doesn’t—define tone of voice. Often, it’s because so much of the vision focuses on branding look and feel and filled with generic content, not a unique voice.

Many startups mistakenly think they will find a distinct voice over time. Most companies grow and evolve over time, but first impressions are lasting impressions. You need to come right out of the gate with a strong voice in all of your  content.

Make a List and Define Your Style

It might sound cliché, but there is no better approach to finding your brand’s unique tone and voice than to sit down and make a list of words and phrases that describe your company. Once you get past all the generic words you are most likely to use, like ‘dependable,’ ‘honest,’ ‘trustworthy,’ etc., really dig in to find the words that precisely describe how your customers should see, think and feel about you.

Now that you have a comprehensive list, it’s time to define your style. This might be the hardest—but best thing you do to define your tone of voice. Go down your list and explain why it belongs there. Why are you flexible? Exactly what does flexible mean in your company? As you go along, a surprising thing will start to happen. A picture will begin to form—a distinct picture of who you are, why you’re even doing what you’re doing, and how you are going to market your company.

Use Your Voice Messaging to “Pull” Market

Now that you’ve developed and cemented your unique voice in the marketplace, how you can use your unique voice to “pull” market—drawing people in without initially trying to sell them anything. This is called being ‘useful.’

Referring back to the toothbrush example, you could, for instance, write an e-book detailing the benefits of certain types of toothbrushes, why oral hygiene is so important, etc. and use various forms of advertising (AdWords, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like) to give it away for free. Why? Because a certain percentage of those who download your e-book will visit your website or your Facebook page and will consequently convert into paid customers.

Keep in mind, you didn’t push your product, but you pulled people in by providing useful information. Consumers love valuable information, especially when it’s free.

Your strong brand tone and voice message should be used everywhere: website, emails, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. There are many benefits to finding it, developing it, maintaining it and using it in everything that distinguishes you unmistakably to your target market audience.

Spread your voice consistently and people will listen. You will gain trust if everywhere you’re found feels comfortable and familiar. Click here to learn more about my marketing and training system.

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