Finding Your Brand's Voice: A GLAD WORKS Guide to Tone
Your brand has a voice. Do you know what it sounds like? This is an important thing to know and it takes some effort to truly hear and understand the tone that fits best. If you haven't already established a voice, or if you think your existing one needs to evolve, we have good food for thought. It's like a crispy, buttery grilled cheese sandwich for the mind.
Ok maybe it's not that good, but it's pretty close.
So basically your tone is the soul of all your communications. Anything you put out there from social media to website copy to brochures needs to have a strong and consistent voice that is authentic and appropriate for your audience. Speaking of audience, do you know who you're talking to, what they want to hear and how they want to hear it?
Start by asking questions
One way we like to sort this out in the marketing biz is to build archetypes to help us get into the heads of our target demographic. We give these pretend people names (Chip and Hillary are our favorites!), create mood boards for them and add everything there is to know about them—right down to their favorite magazine. We take all of these details and use them to build an idea of what they want from a brand. It's incredibly helpful but it's also a lot of fun!
Once we know our demographic inside and out, we start to think about what a brand represents. How does it make people feel, what do we want people to think when they come across the brand, what words describe the brand the best? Knowing the answers to these questions will help bring out and authentic voice that's a natural fit for the brand. Clearly, not every brand will have the same tone. Some brands will have space for some zany wit where others are way more conservative. At this point, you don't have to settle on one voice. You can pick a few that you think will fit and put them all to the test.
Talk to some folks in your new voice
Once you've chosen a few different tones, try them! Reach out to people who understand your brand and ask them for some feedback. Test out a few different voices to see which one they like the most. You might find that some adjustments need to be made before finding the perfect voice but that's ok. Remember that this is the voice that you will use consistently everywhere. Perfection is exactly what we're going for.
People these days like to feel a connection to a brand. They've become so accustomed to being bombarded with messaging that they block out anything that doesn't resonate with them. Obviously, if your tone doesn't hit your demographic right, you'll miss the opportunity to connect with them. The most important thing in making that connection is authenticity. Folks can see right through a fake or forced tone, so it's really important that whatever voice you choose commands attention.