If writers-in-training repeatedly hear a piece of advice, it’s to find their voice. Voice is the author’s unique personality as conveyed through his or her writing, whether whimsical, dead serious or (as usually the case) somewhere in between.
For organizations, developing a brand voice is just as important. Voice is determined by style and use of language. Once a brand discovers and establishes its voice, readers expect it in all works by that organization. It’s one of the reasons people seek out a particular brand.
In marketing, brand voice is part of personality.
Your organization’s brand voice reflects a special identity, and it affects how people perceive your organization.
Here are two examples of voice:
Voice 1: Looking for something to do that that gives you happy feet? Come join our exuberant bunch of volunteers as they spread joy to those who need it most.
Voice 2: Helping our organization in its mission to provide for the homeless brings tremendous satisfaction to our volunteers. Please consider joining our team and help others less fortunate.
Neither one of these examples is better than the other. It is up to you to decide who you are as an organization, what your personality reflects and what your brand represents.
Here’s another example of two kinds of voices:
Voice 1: Got milk?
Voice 2: For your health, drink milk.
Again, though the “Got Milk” ad campaign is highly successful, such brevity and wit in content may not be your brand. You decide the personality and brand you want to convey to your readers. Now let’s throw in tone.
If voice is the personality of your company, tone is the attitude you express toward your reader.
Tone is the emotional or persuasive element of your content. It may be confident but humble, warm and friendly, respectful and sympathetic (think funeral homes) or witty and sassy.
Voice and tone work together to influence your readers in a memorable way.
Take some time to find your organization’s brand voice, the tone you want to use in your communication with customers, and the attitude that will best touch and motivate them. Then write your content sticking to the brand voice and tone that will convey your organization’s true essence.