8THIRTYFOUR’s tone is humorous, sarcastic, self-deprecating, knowledgeable without being preachy and to-the-point. If you were to look at your website right now, without any of the branding, would you stand out? Or would you sound just like the other guy?
Companies spend a lot of time on logo development, creative, website development and all the other bells and whistles but live a key part of branding out—tone of voice. What is your brand’s personality?
Our friends at Mailchimp tell us your brand’s tone of voice is how you sound to other people. It determines how you speak to your customers online, on packaging, on social media—everywhere, really.
If you’re struggling to define your tone of voice, start with these 4 steps. We’ll use 8THIRTYFOUR as an example throughout the blog to make our point.
What makes you different?
Start by asking yourself several questions.
- What makes you different from competitors?
- How do you deliver your services?
- What is your culture like?
- How would the community describe you?
Write down three words that describe you. Please for the love of all that is holy, do not put “cutting-edge” or some other buzzword. Think quirky, funny, blunt, bold – you get the drift.
When you really know who you are as a company, you’ll find others in the community describe you the same way you describe yourself. Pretty powerful.
Do it with style
Writer, Ann Handley says if one of your brand values is “unusual”—what exactly does that mean? In what way are you unusual? How does that quirkiness help clients or customers? Do you solve problems differently? Do you have an approach that exemplifies that ideal in the real world?
Create a few sentences that embody the words you identified. For example “8THIRTYFOUR works smarter than the rest.” It’s part of our culture and it describes what makes us different from our competitors. It also happens to be one of our core values.
Your tone and voice and brand attributes can’t just live in your head. You need to map it out and record it, so all your employees can also see how it is defined.
Include the 3 words, several sentences describing your company and examples of how it is put together based on application – email marketing, social media, blogging, PR, etc.
Apply it everywhere
We make sure our tone and voice comes across within every customer touchpoint. This could be invoices, email sign-up confirmations, signage throughout your building..the list goes on. Sit down and map out all the ways you interact with your clients, then apply your tone and voice to EVERYTHING.
We have a sign in our bathroom that says “Don’t do coke in our bathroom.” It’s funny, we’re funny and when you read that sign you know we don’t take ourselves so seriously.
If you need some help, we got you. We love, love, love helping our clients define their tone and voice and it is never boring.