Branding Your Voice & Tone To Engage Your Audience

As Canadians, we have some pretty unique brands such as Tim Hortons, Westjet, McCain Foods, Canadian Tire and Oi Marketing (shameless plug). Each company has a voice that differentiates it from its competitors.

And while having a strong brand voice is essential, it can sometimes be tricky to figure out how to develop the one right for your business.

You’re in luck – this guide will provide you with some tips and considerations on how to build a voice and set a tone for your brand.

Our ultimate goal is to give you something you can share with your team and (hopefully) generate some solid discussion.

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Brand voice is the personality of how a company talks through their marketing efforts.

If you heard someone talking and it sounded like it was your sister, cousin, or best friend, would you be able to tell if it were them? I imagine most people would say yes.

But how can you tell who it is? Well, because they have a voice that’s different from any other. Everyone has a voice that is unique to them and gives you a glimpse into their personality.

People are often guilty of using the same pitch, predictable words and common verbal expressions when they speak; unless you’re Seth McFarland, this is probably the same for you. Our unique voices help us stand out, and the same goes for our brand voice.

Using a professional yet authentic brand voice, you can help your potential customers understand what makes your business different and hopefully establish a connection from the get-go.

It’s fascinating how some businesses have their own voice that they can use to connect with their customers. Whether it be through ads, emails or social media posts, you’ll have an easier time communicating the same message across all channels – if you’ve already honed in on your brand’s voice. It can be funny, uplifting or even more direct.

But if there is a brand voice, what is a brand tone?

What an excellent segway into our next section.

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What is the difference between brand tone and overall tone when marketing?

Let’s pause to think about the tone of voice more personally. If someone close to you was angry, would you know this just by listening to them?

And what if they were happy and excited? Would you know just from listening to their voice?

If you’ve answered yes on both accounts, then you have a clear understanding of what we mean by the tone of voice, or you have high emotional intelligence, a trait that is quite coveted in this day and age.

Emotion is what makes our words have impact.

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Your company’s tone is more about “how” you want to communicate with people and less about “what” you share. For example, suppose your brand is traditionally formal and polite. In that case, tweets making a joke about a “wardrobe malfunction” in an old Superbowl commercial might be seen as an entirely distinct deviation from the norm and people would notice.

And like with the company voice, different companies will use different tones in their communication.

Some companies use a more fun tone; others use a more formal style. It all depends on the brand’s goals.

You don’t need to worry so much about verbal delivery when storytelling in your company’s tone, as it is easier to convey than in writing.

The struggle often lies therein having the right words and sentence structure to get across the right mood with text and copy, such as blog posts or social media posts.

Alright, let’s consider this…

Writing in the second person can sometimes sound more friendly to the reader. Throwing in the occasional “you” might break some of the impersonal barriers that exist for you (see what I did there?).

Third-person punctuation can be considered a good way to sound more professional in your writing. It’s all about sentence and word structure.

The way your business comes across should align with its persona and customer’s tone to get the best results.

You need to make sure your tone is on-point; brands should have a certain level of credibility which can come across in a lot of ways.

Of course, the tone of a brand is an extremely important factor in any communication.

Voice vs Tone: What the heck is the difference?

It’s clear by now that the way your brand speaks should mesh well with how it’s presenting itself, so let’s work together to get them on the same page.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

The brand voice is individual to each company. It defines the company’s core values, perspective, and what you stand for.

It’s your company’s unique identifier.

On the other hand, the tone of your brand is set by how you communicate with your audience.

It’s your company’s written style.

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Your brand voice should be consistent, but it can have different tones that reflect different scenarios. Without changing your brand personality too much, your tone can change to match what’s happening in the story or situation.

Try to think about your personality (mood, perhaps) and how it changes throughout the day.

Although it’s the same personality, you may act differently around family, friends or for a specific work environment like school or at social gatherings.

Look at it this way.

How you speak to your boss is usually different from how you speak to your best friend, capiche?

The importance of voice has become increasingly prevalent as we live in a world where advertisements surround us day and night.

The business world has become more and more overcrowded. There’s a lot of strong competition out there. So it would help if you took your marketing strategy a step further.

A quick interpretation of this is that you should be aware of the fact that people judge your company through its communication with them.

Having a brand that people identify with can also mean being personable and different. Distinctive is good.

Without a brand voice, it’s impossible to maintain both of these. 

It’s important to stay true to your company’s brand voice; it’ll keep you top-of-mind with your customers.

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Customers are more likely to buy from the business they recognize than one they don’t.

You must know your tone for marketing to make sure it matches what is being advertised.

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We’ve mentioned that the brand tone is all about the how and not necessarily the why. It’s about how a business chooses to communicate with potential customers.

It’s about engaging with customers on a more personal, emotional level.
And does this have any benefits, you may be wondering?

The reason it’s tough to make products that people want is that they’re busy dealing with their own life problems, so the question then goes to engagement and building a more personal connection. This translates to a loyal customer base that keeps coming back because people feel their time will not be wasted.

So will this move positively impact revenue? Signs point to yes.

In fact, brands should try to align themselves with an overall tone of voice that is amalgamated in all their communications if they want to increase their revenue!

All of the points we’ve mentioned here will ultimately work together in tandem to ensure a more memorable business, which is always our aim as business owners.

The more consistent tone and voice are, the more recognizable your business is to customers and the more likely they are to buy from you instead of the competition.

Let’s now talk about the finer points of a brand’s voice and tone.

Creating The Voice

You might have noticed that businesses often share a similar ‘voice’. It’s time to find out how to create your own voice to set your company apart.

But where do you start?

Back to the basics: Mission & Vision

In the words of Fredo, let’s go “back to the basics” and examine your company’s mission and vision statements.

Why is this critical?

The company vision should determine what values the company aspires to achieve and its goals.

You can create a thriving brand voice by mixing these.

Wouldn’t a company be in trouble if they hired someone to represent them on social media who didn’t share their vision and beliefs?

Like, Jared from Subway? Cough cough. The answer is a resounding yes.
From this point on, everything else will follow suit.

For example, if authenticity or transparency is important to your organization, you should make that known in how your brand voice sounds.

To reiterate, sometimes people wander to a competing business for their needs if they see the brand voice and company goals don’t line up, so yeah, consistency is key.

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What is a buyer persona, and how does it connect to your brand voice?

Many brands have their voice, and it’s usually pretty clear who they’re talking to.

A brand voice that either does not resonate or is forgettable will be unsuccessful.

So how do you ensure a compelling brand voice?

Before making sound marketing decisions, it’s essential to understand your target audience well.

What is your buyer’s name? What do they like to do in their spare time? What areas of interest do they have? Where can they be found on social media the most? How are their interests different from those of your current clients’ or customers’? What frustrations keep them up at night, and what keeps them happy?

These are just some examples of the questions to answer.

Your buyer persona should influence your brand voice
If you want to grow your audience, you need to spend time researching.

For example, you may find out where else they purchase or a complementary product or service that could be considered for partnership. Whoddathunkit?

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Review Past Articles and Releases

One of the most important things to consider is your company’s past publications when it comes to branding.

Simply put, you need to analyze them.

Did some of your articles catch more attention than others? How about an insight about why some of your previous works succeeded while others didn’t make it?

As you read through the phrases, think about what worked and what didn’t.

Keep a notebook handy to jot down your observations
For instance, you could see that the more humour you infused in an article, the more traffic it received.

Make sure to be consistent with your voice across all content. Identify what elements work best in your brand voice.

What it Will Be vs What it Won't

Name a few things that your business specializes in. That way, you will find out your services and who they appeal to most.

What does this mean to someone who owns a business?

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Sometimes to know who you are and what you stand for, it’s better to define who you’re not.

Or let’s put it another way?

Defining your brand voice is a two-fold task. On the one hand, you have to come up with the perfect tone, and on the other, you need to decide what not to do.

You might not be running a serious or professional enterprise and might want to avoid using a formal voice.

Conversely, you may decide to have a professional voice. Whether it’s more casual or strict, depends on your brand. Clearly, you can see our tone at Oi Marketing is pretty relaxed, but this might not resonate with your clientele.

Evaluate, Review, Evolve

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It’s also not a one-time task. You can’t just create a brand voice and leave it there. Doing so will only lead to your brand becoming stale. Periodic reviews are necessary to stay ahead of the game.

The best way to see if your brand voice is working is to compare before and after results.

Check whether or not any changes in your traffic happen or you if see a rise in ROI.

Even if your company’s voice is working, it is important to analyze any potential sticking points that make sense.

You can use these to maximize your results, and we promise it will be worth it.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to know the tone your brand should be portraying. This will enable you to create a consistent and recognizable brand voice.

Do you want a light, humorous tone, or does a more serious one work better for your audience? We say the former is generally better, but not if your business runs on prestige products, for example.

Once you’re sure about the tone of your brand, make sure that every post stays identity-appropriate. For example, if you want to keep things humorous and light-hearted in your blog posts, you should try to keep it that way on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

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This is an intelligent decision that will make your brand cohesive and memorable

So, let’s hear your voice and tone. Loudly and proudly.

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Oi Marketing

Oi Marketing is a Digital Marketing and Consulting firm located in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, providing Website Design, SEO, Digital Ads, Branding Strategy and Social Media Management services to clients in the Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver, and across Canada.

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