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How To Create Your Brand Voice Guidelines And Stick To Them + 5 Brand Voice Examples

brand voice guidelines
86% of consumers think brand authenticity plays a key role in their purchasing decisions.

86% of consumers say that authenticity is one of the most important factors that influence their engagement and purchasing decisions.

This highlights the fact that businesses should incorporate branding elements to stand out from the crowd and gain their trust and loyalty.

Brand tone of voice plays a key factor in achieving consistency and turning into a memorable brand.

And creating your own brand voice guidelines can help you maintain the right tone across various platforms.

In this guide you will:

  • Learn what brand voice is
  • Understand the difference between brand voice and tone
  • Discover the benefits of developing a unique tone of voice
  • Learn how to create brand voice guidelines
  • See some of the best brand voice examples

What Is A Brand Voice?

Brand voice refers to the consistent expression of your business’ core messages and how you communicate with your audience and clients.

It encompasses various elements that make up your brand including your personality, attitude, the language you use as well as the values you share.

Your tone of voice is all about positioning yourself in a way that helps your brand stand out from the rest, leave a long-lasting impression and be easily identified.

Creating a non-human voice that represents your brand identity makes sure your message cuts through the noise. It is one of the key factors that allows your audience to recognize you across various channels.

Your brand voice may vary depending on several aspects:

  • The channel you use to share your message
  • The type of audience you refer to
  • The goal you want to accomplish

What Is The Difference Between Brand Voice And Tone?

In addition to developing a unique brand voice, it is also of great importance to understand the meaning and purpose of tone.

While voice refers to your company’s personality, the tone is the emotional inflection you incorporate in various situations. It is the tool you use to adjust your attitude in your message and content based on who you are talking to and what you are talking about.

Unlike brand voice that always remains consistent, the tone can change depending on the situation.

And, to successfully modify it, you should understand your buying persona and discover their position in the sales funnel. These are the key factors in connecting with your prospects and establishing an emotional relationship effectively.

These two terms are very closely related, so you will often hear the phrase “tone of voice”.

Why Should Your Business Develop A Strong Tone Of Voice?

The way you deliver your message to your prospects matters because it is one of the factors that can make or break a deal.

A unique brand tone of voice allows you to form a uniform personality and help you communicate with your potential customers effectively.

Here are the top three reasons why you should focus on establishing a consistent brand tone of voice:

Create A Strong First Impression

It only takes 7 seconds for your audience to form an opinion about your brand. (Forbes)

The perception of your brand is not only based on visual elements like logo or colors. Your brand voice and tone can also play an important role in how your target market perceives your business.

A consistent voice can capture the consumers’ attention and keep them interested in your content and company.

This is why you need to take advantage of professional brand voice guidelines that will turn you into an authoritative and credible business.

Increase Brand Recognition

A strong tone of voice can help you emotionally connect with your audience and turn your business into a memorable brand.

Once your message and content reach your potential clients they will subconsciously associate your business to certain words, phrases and ideas.

Thus, whenever they need similar products or services to those you offer, they will remember about your existence.

Your voice should be consistent otherwise you will confuse your prospects and prevent establishing meaningful relationships.

Boost Sales

Consistent brand promotion across all channels may boost your revenue by up to 23%. (LucidPress)

By using a consistent brand tone of voice across every platform, you are showing your consumers that you understand their pain points and that you are a reliable solution provider.

You are giving them a sign that you conform to your shared values and mission as well as that you live up to your promises that a business makes to its prospects.

This not only helps you strengthen your brand identity but it also lets you earn your audience’s trust which ultimately results in more closed deals and higher revenue.

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5 Tips To Help You Create Brand Voice Guidelines

Here are several tips that can help you establish brand voice guidelines for your company effectively:

1. Define Your Brand

The first and most important step to take when creating brand voice guidelines is to pay deep attention to your company’s:

  • Vision: Think about what your future aspirations are and what goals you want to achieve.
  • Mission: Determine your brand’s existence as well as its purpose.
  • Values: Define your company culture and the core principles that guide your business.

You can learn more about these three key factors in the first part of this guide series.

Then, you should also consider your selling points, the reasons why your clients use what you offer and how they benefit from that as well as what makes you better than your competitors.

All these factors will help you define your brand clearly and emphasize the purpose of your communication.

Nike has a great example of how a well-constructed mission should look like:

[Source: Nike]

2. Identify Your Audience

To understand how to approach your target market and develop the right brand voice and tone, you should discover who they are.

And the best way to do that is by doing in-depth audience research and collecting info about the following key aspects:

  • Demographics
  • Age
  • Education
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Job title
  • Buying motivation and concerns
  • And more

These will allow you to create a buyer persona, help you understand your prospects’ language and what type of clientele you are addressing.

3. Examine Your Written Content

To create brand voice guidelines effectively you should also go through your existing content across all platforms including your website’s blog posts and social media posts.

Make sure you compare different samples to see how your brand voice and tone sound.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and find out whether you like what you hear, and if not what would you improve.

Here are a few more important questions to address:

  • Is my content relevant to the values I want to communicate?
  • Does it correspond to the message I convey to my prospects?
  • What type of tone I’ve used? Is it formal or casual? Does it match my buying persona?

SEMrush has a tool called SEO Writing Assistant that allows you to check the level of formality and highlights the sentences which you can improve to match your voice.

So, if you find it difficult to determine the brand voice and tone you’ve incorporated in your content, this platform can be of great assistance.

4. Inspect Your Visual Content

Developing brand voice guidelines successfully also requires an audit of the images and videos you use on your website and other channels.

You should find out whether the images you use are all within a certain size and whether you use your logo on them appropriately.

Also, ask yourself if the colors you incorporate in your graphics are acceptable to be presented to your buyer persona.

Think about the type of videos you use as well, and discover whether they are relevant for your audience or not.

5. Select Your Words Wisely

Think about the words that describe your business. Then carefully pick the adjectives, nouns, verbs and other parts of speech that you want to relate to your business and also those you would like to avoid.

Using these certain phrases in your content consistently will help you shape your brand voice and tone and serve as a sort of instructions when creating your brand voice guidelines.

Here is an example of how Skype chooses the words they use in their content:

Brand voice guidelines: Slack's preferred words
[Source: Skype]

How To Stick To Your Brand Voice Guidelines Successfully?

The best way to stick to your brand voice guidelines is to document them. Having a formal document will help you ensure consistency in your written and visual content.

What’s more, this process will also help you better manage your team and train new members easily.

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5 Brand Voice Examples To Get Inspired By

Now more than ever consumers want to establish an emotional relationship with the brands they like. However, not every business is able to live up to its values, mission and vision.

Here are the best five brand voice examples that businesses can learn a lot from:

1. Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market is a US multinational supermarket chain that sells healthy products.

We’ve put it on our list of best brand voice examples because of its consistency in combining nutrition with entertainment and playfulness across different channels.

They are super amuzing on Facebook and by carefully choosing the words they use, this company reassures its clients that behind their tone of voice they actually stick to their community values.

This is how they present which of their products will be popular in 2020, according to their clients:

Brand voice examples: Whole Foods Market's Facebook post
[Source: Whole Foods Market via Facebook]
They also use inspiring and playful language when they announce product discounts on their Twitter account:

Brand voice example: Whole Foods Market's Twitter post
[Source: Whole Foods Market via Twitter]
And, they even sound entertaining when they educate their clients about their in-store events on their website:

Brand voice guidelines: Whole Foods Market's in-store events
[Source: Whole Foods Market]

2. Apple

According to Statista, in 2019, Apple was the most valuable brand worldwide with a market share of $961.3 billion.

As such, it is one of the most recognizable companies and one of the best brand voice examples that stand out from its competition.

Its brand tone of voice is consistent, confident and simple.

When you see Apple, you see luxury, at least that’s what their voice makes you feel about it whenever you visit their website:

What is brand voice: Apple's website
[Source: Apple]
Or, when you watch some of their ads:

branding: voice example - Apple's advertisement
[Source: Apple via YouTube]

3. Slack

Slack is a messaging platform and collaboration hub that is a symbol of clarity. Its brand voice and tone, as well as the message they convey, are quite easy to understand.

Their content is simple, clear and concise but at the same time human and friendly. They write for global audiences and anyone can understand their language.

Some of their brand voice guidelines include:

  • Being concise and saying more with less
  • Using common and simple words
  • Avoiding slang
  • Incorporating active voice

Slack is also among the best brand voice examples for conveying their company vision constantly.

We can see this on their homepage:

Brand voice examples: Slack's homepage
[Source: Slack]
And also on their About Us page:

Branding voice and tone example: Slack's About Us page
[Source: Slack]

4. Dove

Dove is a personal care company whose brand tone of voice is strong, confident and empowering.

Their vision is uplifting and encouraging and they have developed a persona that highlights their responsibility to deliver high-quality products.

Dove is also among the top brand voice examples because it empowers its clients to experience beauty and body image positively by using a tone that is inspiring and friendly at the same time.

We can see their consistent voice and tone on its website:

[Source: Dove]
And on their Twitter profile as well:

Brand voice example: Dove's Twitter profile
[Source: Dove via Twitter]

5. Coca Cola

Coca Cola’s unique brand message is to spread joy and happiness among its customers. The company uses a unique tone of voice that is friendly and we can see it consistently in different campaigns and ads.

They have successfully incorporated the voice and tone into their branding strategy and have built a strong brand identity that makes Coca Cola stand out from its competitors.

Their voice is also uplifting and evokes positivity which is why when consumers get in touch with the tone of this brand, they are imagining a real person that refreshes their body and spirit.

We can see this brand being consistent in its video advertisements:

Brand tone of voice: Coca Cola's advertisement
[Source: Coca Cola via You Tube]
And also on their Twitter account:

Brand voice guidelines: Coca Cola's Twitter profile
[Source: Coca Cola via Twitter]

Takeaways

Having a strong tone of voice can help you turn into an authentic and memorable brand which:

  • Creates a strong first impression
  • Increases brand recognition
  • Turns consumers into loyal customers

…and ultimately results in a boost in sales.

To ensure consistency across all platforms and different types of content, create your own brand voice guidelines and stick to them whenever you share a new article or create a social media post.

Identifying your audience, defining your goals, examining your existing content and selecting the words you use wisely are just a few of the key factors that will help you stand out from the crowd.

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