Do you know how to craft an honest brand voice your team can get behind?
Your brand voice is basically the entire collection of communications from a visual, verbal, and written space. Every time you talk, write, post, reply, launch, and somehow connect with other humans, you’re expressing your brand voice. Now that’s a mouthful!
Crafting an honest brand voice your team can get behind doesn’t have to be too much to chew, though.
The thing is, it’s about you—but it’s really about them. When you craft an honest brand voice, internal team members and your external community begin to know, recognize, and trust you. The golden ticket to increasing revenue and reach.
Are you crafting your brand story gracefully, effectively, and with integrity?
We’re often asked how to reach people—truly reach them, and engage them to take action. The truth is, consistency and authenticity are the key to distinguishing yourself from other organizations, and positioning your organization as a leader that inspires others. Folks have a finite amount of money to invest in your cause or your business, so it only makes good business sense that you give them a reason to invest in you.
For your brand voice to be successful, your whole team needs to buy into it. Here are 3 super important and actionable ways to craft an honest brand voice your team can get behind.
1. Establish a brand voice style guide (and stick to it)
That consistency thing we mentioned above? This will help get everyone on the same page about what to say, how to say it, and where.
What to include in your brand voice style guide:
- Main mission or vision. This should be no longer than 3-5 sentences, and will help the entire team get crystal clear on what the purpose is, and their role within that.
- 5-10 key values. Everything builds off of this.
- 3-5 key messages or stories. What do you really want to say to the team about the company?
- Craft the tone. This is the core personality of the company. It is consistent and unchanging.
- Choose 3 key archetypes (i.e. professional, helpful, informal or fun, inspiring, flirty, serious, quirky, politically correct, trendy, and authentic). How do you want to be expressed, and how do you want to make your team or audience feel?
- The tone inflection will adjust depending on the piece of content you’re sharing, and when it’s shared. For example, you might be fun, quirky and authentic in regular communications, but posting on the topic of a tragedy will be notably different than announcing a new funding program. Ya dig?
- Visual elements. Colours, fonts, logos, graphics, social media templates, blog post formatting standards, image sizes, custom Gifys, etc. Any visual representation of your brand should be detailed for all members of the team to employ. Sure, you may have a dedicated art director that oversees this, but empowering the team with these guidelines will take a lot of the pressure off that lead person and help reinforce the brand voice.
- “This Not That” list. This is a list of how visual assets are to be used, and how they are not to be used. It’s also a list of words or phrases you like and don’t like to help reiterate key messages and tone.
- Decide on spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Which spellings will be employed— are ampersands allowed in communications, and how about that ever-controversial oxford comma? Humanizing your content is vital to growth and success. Here you can subtlety reinforce the tone and key messages established above.
Pro tip: remember to be flexible and allow this style guide to change over time. Each year, reflect and revise. Does still align with the organization and your target market? Are the visual elements current? And is your process for implementing the style guide working for the team?
2. Keep your audience in mind, internally and externally
Your brand voice should be consistent across content platforms, as well as internal communications. Knowing who you’re talking to is key.
On social media, it’s important to remember your audiences differ from platform to platform, and what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander.
For example, Instagram is a great place to use 30 hashtags in a comment to encourage discoverability and brand visibility, thereby helping grow your audience and drive traffic to the website. Post a bunch of hashtags in a caption on Facebook though, and you’ll alienate and frustrate your followers. Posts and updates should be specifically tailored to each platform audience.
The same goes for internal communications. How you speak to the whole organization in an email blast is very different to how you’d speak to your boss or in a group chat with 1 or 2 close colleagues.
To ensure your brand voice is honest and appropriate for the audience you’re speaking to, make sure your brand is clear on its values and goals, and keep those in mind through all communications and language. This will not only help your team hear and experience the brand voice first hand, but it will instruct them on how to embrace those values and continue that experience down the customer or investor path.
3. Listen, and actually hear what your audience and team has to say
Again, this lands squarely centre to both social audiences and internal ones.
According to an Oracle report, 43% of social media users only interact with brands to get a direct response to a question or issue. So when someone takes the time to engage with your brand on social, direct messaging, or email, it’s vital you respond as if they were a human standing in front of you at a store. Reply, request more information, and if need be, follow up.
Internally, your team is likely to be more invested in your organization and go the extra mile for you if you make them feel valued as integral members of the team. It’s important to include them and hear their feedback, comments, questions, and ideas.
Of course, not all ideas will work for your goals and mission, but ensuring the team is supported from the very on-set of a project or campaign will enhance the likelihood of reaching your goals while increasing job satisfaction and helping your business stand out as a leader in your niche.
4. And a bonus tip for you… Get excited!
There is one more effective way to craft an honest brand voice your team can get behind—get damn excited! The more pumped up you are about the organization and mission, the more excited your team will be. People pursue and reward passion. So light them up!
Do you want support in creating your brand voice and style guide? Click here and set up a time to chat with us!
At Forge & Spark Media, we aim to bring good people together for good reasons. We work with purpose-driven brands to create and deliver premium, story-driven content marketing that gets results. We also believe in giving back: as part of the Pledge 1% movement, we donate time and talent to helping women and kids in need in our community.