7 Steps for Establishing Your Voice and Tone Guidelines

Posted inSponsored

Tips and inspiration for creating a consistent, recognizable voice for your brand.

Your voice and tone are how your brand communicates with the world. They affect every single touchpoint between you and your audience, including your website, social media channels, marketing, videos, webinars, and customer service interactions.

In this article, we’ll explore why your voice and tone are so important, offer tips for establishing guidelines for your brand, and share some inspiration to help you get started.

What’s the difference between voice and tone?

Voice and tone are closely related and at times it might seem like the terms are used interchangeably, but they’re not quite the same.

Your voice is always consistent. It’s the words you use, the defining characteristics of your brand, and the overall personality that you want to shine through while communicating with your audience.

Your tone, on the other hand, changes all the time, depending on the situation. When you’re thanking someone for making a purchase, for example, you might want your messaging to feel informal and lighthearted. When you’re addressing someone who has a complaint or problem, however, it’s important that your words come across in a more serious, empathetic way. Tone is the way you’re using your words to convey a message or evoke emotion from your audience.

The importance of voice and tone

Each interaction you have with your audience, regardless of the channel or medium where it occurs, is a golden opportunity to make—or build upon—a connection with them. According to Erin Crews, the Senior Design Manager of Content Strategy at Mailchimp who helped lead the charge on our own brand voice refresh, “a distinct voice makes your brand’s abstract identity more concrete and helps you connect with your audience. It’s an expression of your company’s values and point of view, and it should differentiate you from competitors.”

So, whether you’re a small online retailer, a large B2B company, or anything in between, the words you use and emotions you invoke when talking to your customers are important. Here are 3 key ways voice and tone affect your brand.

Brand recognition

Everything that comes from your brand should look and sound like it comes from, well, your brand. If, for example, the voice you use on your website, on your social media accounts, and in email interactions with customers are all different, you’re sending mixed signals to your audience and making it tougher for them to identify what makes you, you.

A formal set of standards around the way you communicate will allow for consistency in your messaging and help you give your brand a personality that’s easily recognizable to your audience.