The Single Most Important Aspect to Ensure a Successful Brand
When trying to re-invigorate, re-establish, or create a new brand, there are many aspects that make up the brand composite. Most people might think that the look of the brand, what we call the visual identity, is where you need to concentrate your efforts. Although the look of the brand is definitely important, there is one facet of your brand that is a critical part of the brand’s messaging success–a consistent brand voice.
Creating a tone of voice and style for your brand is one of the most difficult aspects of the branding process. You are not only trying to figure out what your brand to talk about, but also how you should talk about those subjects. Companies like Apple, who are masters of brand storytelling, can define their voice with a product. For example, take a look at the iPhone and you know what Apple is all about. But how do you establish your brands’ voice when you are selling a service or a product that doesn’t neatly packaged? Simply, be consistent.
Like a person, your brand should speak in a consistent manner. Studies have shown that a consistent brand voice builds trust with the target. And trust leads to sales. This psychological mechanism preferring consistency is innate in all of us. For example, I’m sure you know exactly how your mom, dad or best friend talks and the mannerisms they use. That style of talking and those mannerisms become part of their personal “brand.” If they were to talk differently, or in a different style, you’d notice and be concerned.
The same thing is true for how a brand communicates. It needs to be consistent. However, the challenge is that there are many different people communicating on the brand’s behalf. Everyone from the person who writes the company blog to the person who writes the website (and everyone in between), needs to all work as one voice. When they don’t, you have a brand with multiple personalities and a brand that is not trusted.
How to Create Consistent Brand Voice
So, if a brand’s voice must be consistent in all of their communication to be effective, how do you achieve this? How can a brand ensure a consistent voice from their marketing agency right through to their staff? A clearly defined brand guide that outlines the brand is the first step. Then an internal meeting or workshop to ensure that everyone who will be communicating for the brand does so according to the brand guidelines. It is also helpful to enlist a single person, at least at the beginning of the process, to vet communications to ensure they meet the brand guidelines.
A workshop should outline the established brand voice and all its characteristics. It should also develop a guideline for grammar and vocabulary for the brand, especially if the brand has a unique tone and style. And as with any skill, practice makes perfect.
At the beginning, there will be some bumps as the writers start understanding the brand. This is why having a single arbiter to filter all brand communication through is important until the writers get a better sense of the brand. The result of all this hard work will be a consistent voice in every piece of communication that comes from the brand—from a tweet to a print ad— and a consistent experience for customers.