Brand Voice Guidelines: The Secret Sauce of Successful Brands

As a C-suite executive, you know that having a strong and consistent brand voice is vital for the success of your business. But what many business leaders overlook is the power of an effective voice when it comes to setting their companies apart from other competitors on the market. Developing your brand voice guidelines is an essential part of defining and refining a successful brand.

From crafting visual identity to selecting key phrases that define your company persona, there are several elements at play when communicating with customers through your brand’s voice – all essential components for lasting success. 

In this blog post, we will explore best practices related to developing effective brand voice guidelines for achieving a recognizable and credible brand that translates into loyalty from customers, potential partners, and investors alike.

What is a brand voice?

By definition, brand voice is the manner in which your brand expresses itself to the world in various verticals, online and offline. Put simply, your brand voice is your personality.

When people think about your company, what comes to mind?

Whether your personality is perceived as funny, forgettable, or phenomenal, there’s no better time to improve.

Your brand voice is the personality that you take on in your communications. What are you doing about it? Click To Tweet

Why your social voice is important

The time to treat social marketing and engagement planning lightly has passed; the creation of your online brand identity and social voice strategy is no longer a nice-to-have.

Social media presents brands with unprecedented opportunities for visibility, accessibility, efficiency, and growth.

Prosperous brands now grant CMOs, business executives, sales reps, and socially driven employees a shot at influencing the conversation on behalf of the brand. These brands realize that with social media so interwoven into the fabric of our lives, it’s imperative to have an online presence and empower your brand representatives because inevitably, your values will come through in what they say.

And your brand voice is critically important.

Go ahead and sit down, lean in — if you dare — but don’t get too comfortable. We’ll keep you on the edge of your seat with these six online brand voice guidelines that will help refine your existing approach.

# 1. Be Clear

As a marketing leader, it’s important to gather the right information and team to create a clear brand voice.

In constructing your brand voice, first, you need to be open to a wide range of ideas, then you need to focus and ruthlessly prioritize in order to be clear.

As you think about your brand’s voice online, ask yourself:

  • What human qualities should we exemplify or exclude? Be picky
  • How do we extend our brand’s principles socially? What human qualities do we want to exude regularly?
  • How can we integrate the brand voice and style in our social media conversations? Don’t lose yourself.
  • Should our tone be casual, formal, or adaptive as necessary?
  • Should we be stringent on grammar or play it cool?

Once these questions have been fleshed out, your personality will come to life, then your brand will have a clear voice that’s properly aligned with your organization.

When faced with a choice, be clear, not clever. Click To Tweet

A clear voice creates a better experience for your customers that will reflect positively upon your organization.

#2. Be Consistent

Simply because you publish according to character limits, file types and fickle formats on social media does not guarantee your tactics present a compelling brand voice.

The key to crafting an effective brand voice is consistency— in order to become both memorable and preferable, it’s important to ensure that all public-facing messages are congruent.

Your key message, standards, tone, and delivery need to be in alignment, no matter who is crafting your copy. This will help trim down questions and confusion of who manages the content and social conversations when team members come and go.

#3. Be Self-Reflective

Be true to yourself. Stay present. And think fast on your feet.

As tedious as it seems, self-reflection gives you clarity which will ensure that your brand voice doesn’t flip flop when internal changes are taking place. With this clarity, you can refine in real-time, stay open and remain responsive while keeping your brand voice consistent.

You will have a consistent voice in the face of change when you know:

  • Who will engage in social conversations for the brand
  • How you’ll monitor and define the success of your social voice
  • How will you create social voice guidelines for your company
  • Who will be the point of contact for content approval 
  • How you’ll stay consistent with ongoing marketing efforts and activities

#4. Prioritize diversity as you build your brand voice

You have bias and blind spots, there’s no doubt about that, and in business, bias hurts your bottom line. As you navigate the shifting business landscape, diversity in your team is crucial. There’s a hunger for relevance, authenticity, and transparency. Brands that focus on these social dynamics will win.

Diversity drives innovation. With diverse input, you can see blind spots and even help your company lead deeper, authentic conversations. Diversity is also key in the dynamic adaptation which is instrumental in establishing brand relevance.  

Take in various viewpoints as you build your brand voice.

#5. Create a response guide

With so many social profiles and so much content flying around, it can be overwhelming to keep track of it all. One of the best ways to stay on top of your social media strategy while keeping your brand’s voice is to create a social media response guide. This is a set of social media responses pre-crafted based on a wide range of scenarios with a uniform tone and personality. This will ensure your messages are aligned with your brand while allowing you to maintain a certain level of spontaneity to keep your audience coming back for more.

As you strive for consistency, you’ll likely realize some standards do not fit or scenarios may arise for which you did not account. That’s perfectly okay.

Follow guidelines to ensure consistency, but refine in real-time and maintain a certain level of spontaneity to keep your audience coming back for more.

#6. Steer clear of questionable conversations

Your goal is to be open and responsive, yet controlled. When speaking and responding to trending topics, take a step back and consider if it aligns with your brand voice.

If you struggle with which conversations to jump into, here are some helpful questions:

  • Are there any topics that will be off-limits on your social channels?
  • How will we gauge what conversations are best for direct messages or private messages? Will we accept private messages?
  • Will we provide customer support on our social channels? (ie. Snapchat Support)
  • How do we address inquiries regarding our competitors?
  • How do we separate brand opinions from personal opinions?

Going through these questions with great scrutiny will help you create clear guidelines for your team’s success. Remember that it is ok to have healthy spirited conversations, just remember to stay within the guidelines.

The power of social engagement should not be ignored by your company

There are intense and light-hearted conversations going online that have broken barriers, exposed unfair systems, and even inspired sharing victories across borders. Since the power of social media is great, you must be prepared to stay relevant and respond quickly when dialogue comes your way.

Remember, on social media, your brand voice is only as good as your commitment to conversations

Building your brand voice is vital. People will notice and remember you if you take the time to develop a compelling brand voice.

It is essential for established and growing brands to make sure their voice is heard across the digital landscape. By understanding the key brand voice guidelines that make up a strong identity, your message will have a greater impact on customers and resonate with potential prospects.

Remember to bring personality to your brand, stay consistent, and be flexible so you can respond as you get new insight.

Not sure where to start? We can help with that!

Poised, results-driven business professional with a BS in Marketing, BA in Human Resource Management, and minor in Spanish. Her professional experience spans diverse areas including consumer, fashion, academic, non-profit, and social media. At Reactionpower, she’s responsible for leading digital marketing operational processes like the development, implementation, and measurement of campaigns. In her free time, she enjoys museums, watching her favorite shows and documentaries, spending time with family and friends, reading, traveling, and adventures.

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