How to find your brand tone and communicate it in a way that makes sense.
First up: why is brand tone important?
Your brand tone, your voice, sets you apart from your competitors. It makes your business unique.
People tend to trust brands with a strong, recognisable, personable voice that they can relate to.
This doesn’t mean that your tone has to be ‘colloquial and conversational’, but it does have to resonate with your target market.
Hopefully, you’ll likely already have an idea of your brand tone, but an idea isn’t always the easiest thing to communicate to your designers, your content writers, or anybody else who will be creating your brand.
This is exactly why having a solid, worded brand tone is important.
Do your competitor research
You might have the perfect idea. It’s smart, beautiful. You love it. But diving into the sea of competition might make you realise that your business tone is just a touch too similar to another’s. If that’s the case? Don’t worry. This is the perfect time to rethink.
Collate ideas from your competitors, look at at their content sentence construction, their website structures, their colours, imagery, logos, their social media platforms. Use their ideas for inspiration.
Describe who you are in 3 words
You’ve done your research. You’re confident in your concept. You can feel it.
Now? Get it written down so you can communicate it to others more easily.
Think about your mission statement, your core values. If you don’t have either of these yet, it’s time to get philosophical.
Ask yourself (and your team, if you have one):
- Who’s your audience, your client base?
- How will you appeal to them?
- How do you want to come across to the world?
Hopefully, if you’ve started a business, you’ll have already done your research into your target market and so should know a bit about what their needs and interests are (if you haven’t, get researching!).
Use a whiteboard, draw pictures, do whatever you need to do to come up with these 3 words. They’ll form the basis of your brand tone.
Think about brand consistency
Use your three words to come up with a consistent brand tone plan.
- Brand name
- Colour schemes
All of these aspects of your business should be consistent. If your brand is called Joyful Jumpers you’re not going to want a grey colour scheme and serious, dramatic imagery, right?
You might realise that your three words don’t match up with your brand name at all. In that case, do you reevaluate your values? Or, do you go back to the drawing board with your name?
Collate insights and feedback
Friends. Family. Colleagues. Strangers in start-up and entrepreneur forums and, if you can afford it – focus groups.
Let’s face it, you’re gonna be a bit biased about your own project. Try and get some feedback from those close to you and people you don’t know so well. Trust me, stranger feedback is so valuable and you’re probably more likely to listen to it.
Use these insights to create solid brand tone guidelines, this will be invaluable both now, and later on down the line when you start hiring more and more staff. Let them know who they’re joining!
Now, get your content created
Now, you just need to find graphic designers, web developers, writers (wait, what, I’m a copywriter? No way. Better check me out) who will bring your tone to life in the form of website structure, imagery, and written content.
Remember, this is your business. Your creatives are there to bring your vision to life, whether it’s in the form of engaging content or HTML wizardry.
With core values, a mission statement, and those 3 little words, you have the beginnings of your brand tone guidelines: it’s time to really bring your idea to life.
Remember: you can always tweak your brand tone as the years pass, but dramatic changes are hard to make to established brands, so try to love your tone and values from the start.