Mastering Brand Voice and Tone for Dynamic Marketing

Brand Voice and Tone for Dynamic Marketing

Wondering how you give life to your company? It boils down to your brand voice and tone — how your business communicates. Whether writing a blog post or recording a video, consistent branding helps harmonize messaging across content and makes your business instantly recognizable.

Brand voice is the personality of your business. It can be professional, quirky, friendly, or even inspirational. It transforms a simple message into something customers feel was written just for them.

Tone, on the other hand, builds upon your voice. Think of how a person’s personality changes subtly to reflect the environment around them. Your brand’s tone does the same. It adjusts your company’s voice to fit the medium, mood, and goal.

Voice and tone are two integral parts of your communication strategy, and you need to master both to captivate your audience.

Understanding Brand Voice and Tone

Your marketing efforts are more successful when your content resonates with customers. This is where the concepts of brand voice and tone come into play.

Your voice is your choice of language, the pacing and rhythm of your communication, how you use humor, and even the ways you tell a story. Does your business use formal words or slang? Do you inject wit into your content or just stick to the facts? What about the use of metaphors?

Major companies build their voices around both the identities they wish to forge and the audiences they target. Here are some noteworthy brand voice examples to illustrate this point:

  • Apple: Apple is bold, confident, and direct, but it’s also friendly. While it usually avoids humor, the brand adds warmth to messaging by referring to itself and its audience inclusively as us. Company communications highlight Apple’s innovation by stressing how its products are unique or better.
Screenshot of Apple's Vision Pro operating system with a man using a desktop.
  • Nike: Nike strives to be that friend who inspires and encourages you. Beginning with the iconic “Just Do It” slogan, the brand uses motivational language and an empowering, confident tone.
Nike tweet celebrating Jannik Sinner's Grand Slam victory.
  • Disney: Disney wants to make its audience feel childlike wonder with innocent and whimsical messaging. It uses magical and surreal wording while focusing on universal, inclusive themes such as love and friendship.
Disney tweet with cartoon of a chicken and a duck from The Wise Little Hen.

The Importance of Brand Voice in Marketing

You need a unique brand voice in marketing because your brand’s voice helps you:

  • Differentiate your business: Most markets are crowded, and new technology continues to lower entry barriers. What you say and how you say it can make your brand more memorable than others.
  • Build trust and credibility: Credibility affects business performance in many ways, from convincing new customers to try your products to ranking higher on Google.
  • Maintain consistency across platforms: Whether you’re speaking to your audience through your business blog or a YouTube video, the way you communicate should remain consistent. It’s challenging to do this without having a defined brand voice.
Melanie Deziel tweet about brand identity without names and logos.

A distinct voice helps you connect with your audience. It’s also your ticket to higher engagement and smooth communication.

Enhanced audience engagement

Engaged customers are 90% more likely to buy something. Better yet, they’re five times more likely to shop exclusively from your brand in the future.

Engage your customers by adjusting your brand voice to relate to them.

More effective communication

A well-defined brand voice creates engaging messaging and helps your business convey ideas easily. That’s because your brand voice caters to your audience.

If your audience needs complex jargon broken down into simple terms, be the company that does this. Shape your voice around being informative and approachable to limit the potential for confusion.

Different Types of Tones

Tone of voice is somewhat subjective, but there are ways to use it, making branded communication more straightforward and consistent.

One method used in marketing is the Nielsen Norman Group’s Four Dimensions of Tone of Voice framework.

  • Formal vs. casual: Should you use formal or laidback language?
  • Respectful vs. irreverent: Should communications show respect or be more edgy and playful?
  • Enthusiastic vs. matter-of-fact: Is speaking with passion and energy okay, or should messaging stick to the facts?
  • Funny vs. serious: Is it okay to use humor, or should communications remain serious?

You can also approach brand voice by orienting it to common tones used in marketing that fit E-E-A-T guidelines:

  • Motivational tone: Prioritizes language that inspires and encourages, driving customers to make purchases or complete other actions
  • Serious tone: Avoids humor and slang to give your brand an image of authority and expertise when talking about research or world events
  • Conversational tone: Speaks like a friend to help inform and guide your audience, building trust
  • Professional tone: Conveys credibility and authority through straightforward and polite language

Catering tone to your goals and audience

When targeting a specific goal, consider your audience and work backward. For example, LinkedIn uses a professional tone, avoiding complex language and whimsical metaphors to appeal to its B2B audience.

In contrast, Old Spice has targeted a young audience in recent years, using humor and wit in advertisements. The brand uses bold, catchy phrases juxtaposed with quirky characters, such as Old Spice Man, to project a lighthearted image.

Advertisement for Old Spice with man on horse holding product on beach.

Think about what tone best suits your image and goals while connecting with your audience.

Challenges in Developing a Consistent Brand Voice

Maintaining a consistent brand voice can be more complex than developing proper tone, especially as your business grows. Common challenges include:

  • New brand managers, writers, and social media professionals
  • Expansion of product and service offerings
  • Diversification across new social media channels

New contributors

How well new contributors maintain your brand’s voice depends mainly on training and resources. You can give new hires and freelancers the tools they need to succeed by providing comprehensive training and ensuring they know who to contact if questions arise.

It’s also essential to create brand voice guidelines that outline the language and tone contributors should use when writing communications for your business.

New products and services

You can’t always market all products the same way, especially if you’re targeting several demographics, which requires adjusting your brand voice accordingly.

For example, if you normally sell to consumers but release a product for the B2B market, let your content creators know how to adapt your voice to fit a B2B audience while retaining your identity.

New social media channels

It’s easy to forget how to maintain your brand’s voice when creating content for social media channels. What works for a blog post won’t necessarily feel natural in an Instagram post or TikTok video.

To overcome this challenge, give specific recommendations to match each platform and regularly review the cohesiveness of blogs, social media posts, advertisements, and videos using a formal process.

Crafting the Right Tone for Different Marketing Situations

Brand voice needs to be consistent, but you should adjust aspects such as tone to suit specific marketing scenarios and improve the effectiveness of your copy. As you enhance engagement, your audience is more likely to follow through with intended actions, such as clicking links or subscribing to your email newsletter.

You can adapt your tone to any situation by following these simple steps:

  1. Analyze your audience.
  2. Adjust to the content type.
  3. Review and optimize.

If you market to several demographics, you may need to use various tones of voice.

For example, Old Spice transforms its image from that of an old-fashioned brand by using an energetic and irreverent tone when marketing its newer product lines. This change in tone played a crucial role in “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, where fast-paced and surreal scenarios appealed to younger adults accustomed to internet humor.

A change in tone also helped Airbnb weather the COVID pandemic. The brand used language with a community focus, stressing safety, to help comfort customers and put their minds at ease.

Airbnb webpage highlighting community support during a crisis.

To achieve similar success to these major brands, consider how the following factors apply to your audience:

  • Cultural perspectives
  • Values and desires
  • Demographics and psychographics

Record everything you know about your audience to construct a detailed customer persona. Initially, you should base your brand’s tone of voice on this persona,, customizing it slightly for each communication channel.

For example, TikTok audiences resonate with humor, slang, and memes, while people on LinkedIn prefer a more professional tone. The motives for using specific social media platforms flow through to audience expectations.

Lastly, always track engagement metrics such as view time, click-through rates, likes, and shares. Whenever you tweak your brand’s voice or tone, use this data to gauge the effect.

Integrating Brand Voice and Tone Into Content Strategy

Your brand’s voice intertwines with your content strategy, and you should integrate guidelines for voice and tone into all aspects of content planning.

So, how do you do this? Ensure you have the following essentials:

Brand style guide

Make your style guide the definitive source of information for anyone who plans, writes, edits, or reviews your content. Your guide should contain detailed information about the voice and tone expectations for various types of content.

Content creators will find it easier to understand your brand voice when you give clear examples rather than simply use descriptive language. List specific words and phrases you like, and link to examples of completed blogs or social media posts matching your requirements.

You can also refer to specific public figures or fictional characters to provide examples of the messages and tones you want to convey to help writers understand your voice requirements.

Brand voice chart

A brand voice chart is another effective tool that aids content strategy. It lists the qualities of your voice alongside columns that provide descriptions, things to do, and things to avoid.

Empty chart for documenting brand voice characteristics.

You can use separate charts for each communication channel for more detailed guidance.

SEO considerations that affect voice and tone

Your brand’s voice and tone should match your audience and goals, but you should also consider SEO strategy. 

One key consideration is Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines, which stress the need for content that displays experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Consider how you can match these guidelines through your voice and the information you provide.

You should also consider how to integrate keywords and other metadata into content. Match keywords to your brand voice where possible so the audience these keywords attract is closer to your target customer. Assess the user intent — transactional, commercial, navigational, or informational — and adapt your voice to ensure you deliver what your audience wants.

Diagram showing different types of search intent with icons.

Tools for maintaining consistency

Other tools you can use to maintain consistency include:

  • Content management systems 
  • Voice and tone-tracking software, such as Grammarly Business
  • Social media management platforms, such as Hootsuite
  • Collaboration tools, such as Asana
  • Generative AI, such as ChatGPT

Step-by-Step Guide to Developing Your Brand Voice

Developing the perfect brand voice doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel. Just follow these steps:

1. Define your brand’s core values and personality

What does your brand stand for? What’s its mission? Summarize this information into one sentence and use that sentence to define your business’ personality.

For example, LEGO’s mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. Its personality, stemming from that mission, is playful, creative, and educational.

LEGO brand values and framework outlined with colored tabs.

2. Analyze your audience

Get to know your audience. Create a profile with basic information, such as their age range, location, and interests, alongside the needs you can target and pain points to avoid.

For example, Tesla’s audience is tech-savvy and cares about the environment, so the brand’s communication highlights innovation and eco-friendliness.

Tesla company impact report, metrics on emissions, renewable energy, and recycling.

3. Create a brand voice chart

Create a basic voice chart based on five adjectives that describe your brand while matching your mission and audience. For example: friendly, authoritative, informative, whimsical, and energetic.

Provide descriptions and examples that illustrate how to translate each adjective into the voice and make a list of things writers should or shouldn’t do, to offer further guidance.

4. Develop content guidelines

Construct a detailed style guide. Ensure you include instructions for various platforms and contexts so content creators know how to match voice, tone, and style to any situation.

5. Implement training procedures

Put training and workshops in place to help your team learn how to use your brand voice effectively.

You also need a review process to check adherence to voice guidelines. For smaller companies, one editor may handle this task.

Larger companies or those that target multiple communication channels may need to simplify these reviews through a dedicated QA team and a standardized review process.

6. Optimize

Your voice should be consistent but never completely set in stone. Always be open to optimization. Use tools such as Google Analytics to track engagement metrics and run occasional A/B tests to assess how subtle changes in brand voice versus brand tone affect engagement.

Using Technology and Tools for Brand Voice Consistency

Technology drives innovation while making many tasks easier, and this is particularly true for communication. You can leverage several tools to match the tones of voice you’d like to target or ensure content maintains a consistent brand voice. Here are some of the best tools:

  • ChatGPT: ChatGPT and other large language models can generate content matching tone and voice examples or guidelines. It can also scan content to assess if the voice and tone match a brand’s target audience, but the power of these AI tools extends much further. When training a GPT model to your brand’s style, you can assess large volumes of content to ensure it matches voice requirements, automating part of your review process.
  • Grammarly Business: Most people know Grammarly for its spelling and grammar checks, but the platform also lets you select various tone and style settings. Doing so helps ensure content matches your brand voice and remains consistent.
Screenshot of style guide interface for importing rules.
  • Acrolinx: Acrolinx provides similar capabilities to Grammarly but also includes a more extensive generative AI tool to help match style guidelines while scaling up content creation.
  • Hootsuite: Hootsuite lets you manage most social media accounts from one platform, ensuring consistent communications. The platform includes engagement tools that optimize your brand voice to match specific social media platforms, and you can also use the OwlyWriter AI feature to discover new content ideas or create posts
Graphic showing steps for creating content with icons and captions.

  • Asana: Asana is a project management tool. While it doesn’t assess or improve brand voice directly, it makes these processes (as well as content creation and publishing) easier for everyone involved by implementing a collaborative workflow.
  • SurveyMonkey: Direct insights from your audience are invaluable for optimizing your brand voice. SurveyMonkey is one of the tools you can use to determine whether your communications resonate with customers. You can also survey your audience for future content ideas or website-user-experience improvements.

Future Trends in Brand Voice and Tone

Brand voice reflects your business’ personality, but it’s also a product of the marketing environment. Shifts in the environment readily change how brands communicate. Here are some trends we’ve noticed:

  • Desire for personalization and humanization: People increasingly favor brands with conversational, empathetic tones. They also seek personalized customer service — a shift partly driven by the uptick of AI chatbots.
  • Emphasis on authenticity and transparency: People prefer open and honest businesses, and many brands now follow this trend. For example, Patagonia now discusses its manufacturing processes and environmental impact through “The Footprint Chronicles” to improve transparency.
Collage of diverse workers in sustainable fashion, facts on progress from Patagonia.

New technologies

Shifts in consumer sentiment aren’t the only thing affecting the marketing landscape. Businesses are also adapting their brand voice through the power of new technologies. The most noteworthy include:

  • Augmented and virtual reality: AR and VR enable more vibrant communication between businesses and customers. For example, Patrón Tequila uses VR to give distillery tours. The immersive visuals breathe life into the brand’s storytelling, reinforcing its voice.
Immersive virtual field with purple flowers and distillery tour path, The Art of Patron at the top.
  • AI and machine learning: Advances in AI and machine learning help businesses adapt their voice and tone to specific situations. These technologies also enable personalized real-time communications. For example, Amazon’s Alexa provides targeted information and shopping recommendations through the brand’s helpful, friendly voice.

Don’t miss out on opportunities to communicate with your customers in newer and more personalized ways than your competitors have done. Invest in emerging technology now, and always keep an eye on the horizon, because things can change in an instant.

Discover Expertise to Elevate Your Voice

Mastering brand voice and tone sets you on the right path to establishing strong relationships with your audience and becoming a household name like Coca-Cola or Microsoft. However, consistency is essential.

Integrating your voice into your content strategy is essential to ensure communication matches your brand’s personality, whether you’re reaching out to customers through an email or a Facebook post. It is also important  to follow SEO best practices.

If you don’t have the time to create detailed style guides and project briefs or refine the nuances of your brand messaging, we’ve got you covered. Look into our content strategy services. We can refine your brand’s personality, creating impactful messaging that resonates with your audience and grows your online presence. Our comprehensive services include everything from planning to streamlined production to help you dominate content marketing in every area. 

Rick Leach

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Rick Leach, the Vice President of Content Operations at Crowd Content, is a seasoned professional in orchestrating large-scale content initiatives. At the helm of a dynamic team of content managers, QA specialists, and production assistants, he oversees the team’s production of high-quality content for businesses around the globe. Rick's expertise extends beyond operations management to providing strategic insights on scaling and producing outstanding content, making him a respected voice in the content creation industry.

Rick's journey in the content industry is preceded by more than five years as an Advertising Sales Manager at The Tampa Tribune, where he refined his skills in media sales and advertising. And his entrepreneurial spirit is evident in his successful 17-year venture as the proprietor of an e-commerce business.

On a personal front, Rick's life is as fulfilling as his professional endeavors. A proud U.S. Navy veteran, he enjoys a blissful family life, married with four children and a grandchild. Originally from New England but now residing on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Rick is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.

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