How To Create Your Brand Voice Guidelines and Stick to Them + 5 Brand Voice Examples

Branding
How To Create Your Brand Voice Guidelines and Stick to Them + 5 Brand Voice Examples
Article by Jelena Relić
Last Updated: May 20, 2024

A strong brand voice is a unique personality that grabs your target audience's attention, keeps them engaged, and sets you apart from the competition. It's how you connect with your audience on an emotional level and build lasting relationships.

This guide will show you how to cultivate a brand voice that resonates with your audience and builds brand loyalty. We'll cover everything from the essential first steps of defining your brand identity to crafting messaging that reflects your core values.

What Is Brand Voice?

Brand voice refers to the consistent expression of your business’s core messages and how you communicate with your audience and clients. It encompasses various elements that make up your brand including the language you use and the values you share.

Your tone of voice is all about positioning yourself in a way that helps your brand stand out from the rest, leave a long-lasting impression and be easily identified. It is one of the key factors that allows your audience to recognize you across various channels.

Your brand voice may vary depending on several aspects:

  • The channel you use to share your message
  • The type of audience you refer to
  • The goal you want to accomplish
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5 Tips To Help You Create Brand Voice Guidelines

Here are several tips for creating a brand voice guideline for your company:

1. Define Your Brand

The first and most important step to take when creating a brand voice guideline is to carefully consider your company’s:

  • Vision: Think about future goals you want to achieve.
  • Mission: Determine your brand’s existence as well as its purpose.
  • Values: Define your company culture and the core principles that guide your business.

You can learn more about these three key factors in our guide to brand books.

Then, you should also heed your selling points, i.e., the reasons why your clients use what you offer and how they benefit from that, as well as what makes you better than your competitors.

All these factors will help you define your brand clearly and emphasize the purpose of your communication.

Nike has a great example of what a well-constructed mission statement that echoes your brand voice should look like:

Nike's mission
[Source: Nike]

2. Identify Your Audience

To understand how to approach your target market and develop the right brand voice and tone, you should discover who they are.

And the best way to do that is by doing in-depth audience research and collecting info about the following key aspects:

  • Demographics
  • Age
  • Education
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Job title
  • Buying motivation and concerns
  • And more

These will allow you to create a buyer persona and help you understand your prospects’ language and what type of clientele you are addressing.

3. Examine Your Written Content

To create brand voice guidelines effectively you should also go through your existing content across all platforms including your website’s blog posts and social media posts.

Make sure you compare different samples to see how your brand voice and tone sound.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and find out whether you like what you hear, and if not, what you would improve.

Here are a few more important questions to address:

  • Is my content relevant to the values I want to communicate?
  • Does it correspond to the message I convey to my prospects?
  • What type of tone I’ve used? Is it formal or casual? Does it match my buying persona?

4. Inspect Your Visual Content

Developing brand voice guidelines successfully also requires an audit of the media you use on your website and other channels. Also, ask yourself if the colors you incorporate in your graphics are acceptable to be presented to your buyer persona.

Consider the type of videos you use and discover whether they are relevant for your audience or not.

5. Choose Your Words Wisely

Think about the words that describe your business. Using certain phrases in your content consistently will help you shape your brand voice and tone and serve as part of your brand voice guidelines.

Here is an example of how Skype chooses the words they use in their content:

Brand voice guidelines: Skype's preferred words
[Source: Skype]

How To Stick To Your Brand Voice Guidelines Successfully?

The best way to stick to your brand voice guidelines is to document them. Having a formal document distributed to your marketing or content team will help you ensure consistency in your written and visual content.

What’s more, this process will also help you better manage your team and train new members easily.

5 Brand Voice Examples To Get Inspired By

Now more than ever, consumers want to establish an emotional relationship with the brands they like. However, not every business can live up to its values, mission and vision.

Here are the best five brand voice examples that businesses can learn a lot from:

1. Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market is a U.S. multinational supermarket chain that sells healthy products.

We’ve put it on our list of best brand voice examples because of its consistency in combining nutrition with entertainment and playfulness across different channels. They are amusing on Facebook, and they reassure their clients that they stick to their community values.

They also use inspiring and playful language when they announce product discounts on their Twitter account:

brand voice example - whole foods - twitter
[Source: Whole Foods Market via Twitter]

...And they even sound entertaining when they educate their clients about their in-store events on their website:

Brand voice guidelines: Whole Foods Market's in-store events
[Source: Whole Foods Market]

2. Apple

According to Statista, in 2021, Apple was the most valuable brand worldwide, with a market share of $2.25 trillion.

As such, it is one of the most recognizable companies and one of the best brand voice examples that stand out from the competition.

Apple’s brand tone of voice is consistent, confident, and simple. When you see Apple, you see luxury; at least that’s what their voice makes you feel about it whenever you visit their website:

Apple's brand voice - web
[Source: Apple]

...Or when you watch some of their ads:

brand voice guidelines - Apple's advertisement
[Source: Apple via YouTube]
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3. Slack

Slack is a messaging platform and collaboration hub that is a symbol of clarity. Its brand voice and tone, as well as the message they convey, are quite easy to understand.

Their content is simple, clear, and concise, but at the same time humane and friendly. They write for a global audience, and anyone can understand their language.

Some of their brand voice guidelines include:

  • Being concise and saying more with less
  • Using common and simple words
  • Avoiding slang
  • Incorporating active voice

Slack is also among the best brand voice examples for conveying their company vision constantly. We can see this on their homepage:

Brand voice guidelines: Slack's homepage
[Source: Slack]

...And on their About Us page:

Branding voice and tone example: Slack's About Us page
[Source: Slack]

4. Dove

Dove is a personal care company whose brand tone of voice is confident and empowering. Their vision is uplifting and encouraging, and they have developed a persona that highlights their responsibility to deliver high-quality products.

Dove is also among the top brand voice examples because it empowers its clients to experience beauty and body image positively by using a tone that's inspiring and friendly at the same time.

We can see their consistent voice and tone on its website:

Dove's brand voice
[Source: Dove]

...As well as their Twitter profile:

Brand voice guidelines: Dove's Twitter profile
[Source: Dove via Twitter]

5. Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola’s unique brand message is to spread joy and happiness among its customers. The company uses a unique, friendly tone of voice, and we can see it consistently in different campaigns and ads. Their focus on positivity and optimism is the defining trait of their brand voice.

They have successfully incorporated their voice into their branding strategy and have built a strong brand identity that makes Coca-Cola truly stand out.

We can see this brand being consistent in its video advertisements:

Brand tone of voice: Coca Cola's advertisement
[Source: Coca-Cola via YouTube]

...And on their Twitter account:

Brand voice guidelines: Coca Cola's Twitter profile
[Source: Coca-Cola via Twitter]

Why Is Brand Voice Important?

The way you deliver your message to your prospects matters because it is one of the factors that can make or break a deal.

A unique brand tone of voice allows you to form a uniform personality and helps you communicate with your potential customers effectively.

Here are the top three reasons why you should focus on establishing a consistent brand tone of voice:

1. Create A Strong First Impression

Consumers are quick to form a first impression about your brand. In fact, it only takes seven seconds.

However, the perception of your brand is not only based on visual elements like logos or colors. Your brand voice and tone can also play an important role in how your target market perceives your business.

A consistent voice can capture the consumers’ attention and keep them interested in your content and company.

This is why you need to take advantage of professional brand voice guidelines that will turn you into an authoritative and credible business and help you with consistency in your messaging.

2. Increase Brand Recognition

A strong tone of voice can help you emotionally connect with your audience and turn your business into a memorable brand.

Once your content reaches your potential clients, they will start to associate your business with certain words, phrases, and ideas. In turn, whenever they need similar products or services to those you offer, if your brand voice is appealing, they will remember your message and more importantly, your product.

3. Boost Sales

Consistent brand promotion across all channels may boost your revenue by up to 23%.

By using a consistent brand tone of voice across every platform aided by brand voice guidelines, you are showing your consumers that you understand their pain points and that you are a reliable solution provider.

This not only helps you strengthen your brand identity, but it also lets you earn your audience’s trust which ultimately results in more closed deals and higher revenue.

Brand Voice Template

If you’re looking for inspiration for your own voice, look at our brand voice template:

Voice Type Description Do Don’t
SeriousA tone that conveys a sense of gravity and importance, often used in professional or formal contexts.Use clear, precise language and facts to build credibility.Avoid slang or overly casual language that could undermine the message.
HumorousA light-hearted tone that aims to entertain or amuse the audience, making the brand appear more relatable and friendly.Incorporate wit and clever language to engage the audience.Don't offend or alienate audiences with inappropriate jokes.
InspirationalA motivating and uplifting tone to inspire the audience to act or feel more positive.Use motivational stories and empowering language.Avoid cliches or overly vague statements that don't inspire.
FriendlyA warm and welcoming tone that makes the brand feel approachable and supportive to the audience.Use conversational language and personal pronouns.Don't be overly familiar or invade the audience's personal space.
AuthoritativeA confident and knowledgeable tone that positions the brand as a leader or expert in its field.Use confident language and cite expertise or credentials.Avoid coming off as arrogant or inaccessible.

Brand Voice Takeaways

Having a strong tone of voice can help you turn into an authentic and memorable brand that:

  • Creates a strong first impression
  • Increases brand recognition
  • Turns consumers into loyal customers
  • Boosts sales

To ensure consistency across all platforms and different types of content, create your own brand voice guidelines and stick to them whenever you share a new article or create a social media post. The very best branding companies ensure their clients' brand voice is always on par.

Identifying your audience, defining your goals, examining your existing content, and selecting the words you use wisely are just a few of the key factors that will help you stand out from the crowd.

FAQs

1. What is the difference between brand voice and tone?

While voice refers to your company’s personality, tone is the emotional inflection you incorporate in various content. It's the tool you use to adjust your attitude in your message based on who you are talking to and what you are talking about. Unlike brand voice, which always remains consistent, the tone can change depending on the situation.

2. What are the elements of a brand voice?

The elements of brand voice are:

  1. Personality: Set of human characteristics attributed to a brand, such as friendly, professional, playful, authoritative, or innovative. The personality of the brand should reflect its values, target audience, and industry.
  2. Tone: Tone refers to the mood or attitude conveyed in the brand's communications. It can vary depending on the context or audience but should always align with the overall brand personality. Examples include sincere, optimistic, humorous, formal, or casual.
  3. Language: The choice of words and phrases a brand uses in its communication. Depending on the brand's audience and message, it can include industry-specific jargon, slang, or technical terms.
  4. Purpose: Every piece of communication should have a clear purpose, whether it's to inform, entertain, persuade, or engage the audience. The brand's voice should consistently reflect this purpose, ensuring that all content aligns with the brand's overall objectives.
  5. Consistency: Consistency is key to establishing and maintaining a strong brand voice. It ensures the brand is easily recognizable across all platforms and touchpoints, from social media and website content to advertising and customer service.
  6. Adaptability: A brand's voice should be adaptable enough to suit different platforms, audiences, and situations. This flexibility allows the brand to maintain its personality while effectively engaging with diverse audiences.

3. How do you structure a brand voice?

To structure a brand voice, follow the next steps:

  1. Identify your brand's core values and personality
  2. Understand your target audience
  3. Analyze your current voice
  4. Define clear voice attributes
  5. Develop detailed guidelines for each attribute
  6. Include do's and don'ts
  7. Apply the voice across all channels
  8. Train your team on the brand voice
  9. Regularly review and revise the voice guidelines
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