Using Your Brand to Set Your Marketing Voice and Tone

03.27.2014 / Posted in Articles, Branding

You’ve spent hours perfecting your brand promise, values, and attributes. (If you haven’t, start at the beginning of our brand series.) Your actions embody these brand characteristics—and your voice should, too.

To ensure the voice of your marketing efforts always reflects your brand identity, you need a voice and tone guide, much like you need a brand standards manual.

What We Mean by “Brand Voice and Tone”

The voice of your marketing should come from your brand’s unique personality. The tone may vary depending on your audience and medium, but the voice always stays the same.

Think of your brand as a person. Your brand’s tone represents his or her moods and vernacular in different conversations and situations. Yet the same person is always speaking, no matter the circumstance. That consistency is your brand’s voice.

How to Craft a Brand’s Voice and Tone

Use your brand’s promise, values, and attributes to determine its personality traits. Knowing a brand’s personality will help you decide how the brand “speaks.”

For your brand’s personality, you should define about four to eight characteristics. Remember, you cannot be everything to everyone—and shouldn’t try.

Next, use these characteristics to determine your brand’s voice. For example, a top personality trait for one FrogDog client is poise. This brand has class. How does that play out in our communications for the company? Let’s look:

  • The brand never speaks from a place of pretension or with snobbery.
  • The brand treats all people with respect and keeps “above the fray.”
  • Even in addressing customer concerns and problems for which it may not have fault, the brand will never speak from a place of superiority or cast blame.
  • The brand’s voice is not loud, forward, or brash.
  • The brand’s voice is reserved and conservative.

Include in your voice and tone guidelines specific directives on how the brand speaks. Does it use the active or passive voice? Does it speak in the first or third person? Does it use industry jargon?

Using Your Brand’s Voice and Tone in Marketing

Voice and tone should stay consistent across all media.

To help with this consistency and ensure your voice and tone guide is thorough and easy to use, you should provide a section for each type of marketing you plan to do. Each marketing medium places your brand “person” in a different situation, which will evoke a different tone. Providing tone examples for each tactic will be extremely helpful in crafting messages later.

For example, let’s look at social media. Describing how your brand’s voice speaks in this more conversational medium will help guide your efforts. If your brand is a person with set traits, how does he or she sound in conversation? In the client example provided above, we decided that its tone in social media is warm and human without being overly friendly.

Need help identifying your brand characteristics? Enter FrogDog.



Image credit: Image courtesy of Salvatore Ratch0013/


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