The Power of Brand Consistency - get your tone of voice right

As a small business owner myself, I know that building a strong brand is crucial for success in today’s competitive market. However, brand consistency goes beyond having a memorable logo or a catchy tagline. It encompasses every aspect of business, including the tone of voice we use. Maintaining a consistent tone of voice across all of our interactions, from staff to customers, is essential for establishing a cohesive brand identity. Before we explore why brand consistency matters and how it can positively impact your business, let’s define what branding is.

What is Branding?

Business branding refers to the process of creating a unique and distinct identity for a company or organisation in the minds of its target audience. It involves developing and promoting a consistent set of attributes, values, and characteristics that differentiate a business from its competitors. Branding encompasses various elements such as the company name, logo, tagline, colours, typography, imagery, messaging, and overall brand experience. These are called branding ‘touchpoints’.

#designtip – take note of your business branding touchpoints. Are you missing out on a potentially great touchpoint? Look at email signatures, social media post graphics, signage etc.

Your Brand Tone of Voice

Brand tone of voice refers to the unique personality, style, and manner in which your brand communicates with its audience. Just like people, brands have distinct voices that shape their identity and influence how they are perceived. It’s the way a brand expresses itself through words, whether in advertising, social media, or customer interactions.

A friendly and informative brand tone of voice conveys warmth, approachability, and helpfulness while delivering information in a clear and engaging manner. It establishes a connection with the audience, building trust and loyalty. A well-crafted brand tone of voice ensures consistency and leaves a lasting impression, fostering meaningful relationships with customers.

A consistent tone of voice builds trust and credibility. When your brand consistently communicates its values, personality, and mission, it becomes easier for people to understand and connect with your business. Whether it’s a customer browsing your website, an employee interacting with clients, or the CEO addressing the team, a consistent tone ensures that everyone speaks the same language. This unified voice creates a sense of reliability, professionalism, and authenticity, which builds confidence in your brand.

#designtip – What kind of personality does your business have? Is it communicated in a consistent tone of voice? Jot it all down.

Branding That Stands Out

Brand consistency helps differentiate your business from your competitors. In a crowded marketplace, standing out is vital. By maintaining a unique and consistent tone of voice, you create a distinct identity that sets you apart. Customers will recognise your brand and associate it with a specific experience or emotion. Consistency in how you communicate allows you to reinforce your brand’s core values and leave a lasting impression on customers.

Consistency also improves internal communication. When everyone in your organisation speaks in a unified voice, it fosters a sense of belonging and purpose. Employees understand the brand’s vision and can effectively represent it in their interactions with customers and clients. Moreover, a consistent tone of voice facilitates a smoother workflow and enhances collaboration among team members.

#designtip – how do you involve your team in your branding? Are you all on the same page in how you understand and communicate your brand? Get together and have a branding brainstorm!

Creating Your Branding Team

Building a consistent brand requires the active involvement of your entire team. That’s why I encourage you to engage your team in a collaborative process that empowers everyone to contribute their insights and expertise.

By giving them the tools to share their thoughts, inspiration will flow and ideas will flourish. Enabling them to uncover the core values, unique selling points, and personality traits that define your brand will foster a sense of ownership and synergy.

This shared understanding of your brand will serve as a solid foundation for your future branding efforts. With a united vision and clear direction, your team will be equipped to deliver consistent and compelling messages to your audience.

#designtip – prepare your team to be involved in your branding by recording your thoughts on how your brand is currently communicated, what’s working and what isn’t.

Defining your Brand Personality, Values and Mission

To achieve a consistent brand image, it’s essential to start by clearly defining the personality, values, and mission of your brand. This process not only helps you establish a strong identity but also ensures that your brand resonates with your audience.

Take some time to think about the emotions you want your brand to evoke and the key messages you want to convey. By understanding these aspects, you can shape your brand’s perception and create meaningful connections with your customers.

Your brand’s vision outlines the future you aim to create, while your mission defines the strategies and actions you’ll take to achieve it. It’s crucial to craft concise and impactful statements that truly reflect the essence of your brand. Involving your team in refining and finalising these statements fosters a sense of ownership and commitment, ensuring everyone is aligned with the brand’s direction.

In addition to your vision and mission, it’s important to establish a set of brand values that embody the principles your business upholds. These values serve as a compass, guiding your actions and decisions, and they also shape your brand’s voice. Your values should go beyond mere buzzwords. They should be integrated into your company culture and operations, influencing how you conduct business and interact with clients and customers. By living your values, you build authenticity and trust, which are essential for brand consistency.

By following these steps and involving your team in the process, you can create a cohesive and consistent brand that truly reflects your company’s identity and engages your target audience.

#designtip – create a document that outlines your branding personality, values and missions and make it accessible to everyone on your team.

Getting Ready to Broadcast Your Brand

Once you’ve identified your brand personality, ethos and values and explored them with your team, it’s time to consistently apply your branding across all of your branding touchpoints. Use the Brand Persona/s you created to keep the messaging on track. Your brand touchpoints may include your:

•  website
•  social media content
•  print media
•  email marketing
•  signage
•  product packaging
•  media communications.

If you engage the services of external agencies it’s crucial that you communicate your changes to them in a clear and concise manner. I recommend sending them a set of branding guidelines that communicate in detail how your branding should be used.

Communicating Your Brand Internally and Externally

Effective communication is key to maintaining brand consistency. This means expressing your brand’s description and tone of voice consistently both internally and externally, ensuring a unified message across all points of contact.

Regular training sessions, team meetings, and internal communications are excellent opportunities to reinforce the essence of your brand and equip your employees with the necessary tools to represent it consistently.

When communicating externally, it’s essential to convey a consistent brand message to customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Whether it’s through marketing materials, website content, social media posts, or customer interactions, maintaining a consistent tone of voice fosters trust and establishes brand recognition. Make sure your brand’s tone of voice aligns with its personality, values, and target audience.

By prioritising effective internal and external communication, you can ensure that your brand’s message remains clear, cohesive, and engaging across all channels.

#designtip – work closely with your team to create a simple Brand Communications strategy that everyone can follow and incorporate into their work.

Reviewing Brand Communications

Remember, brand consistency is an ongoing effort. Regularly review and assess your brand’s communication across various channels, such as social media, emails, and customer service interactions. Seek feedback from customers and employees to ensure that your tone of voice aligns with their perceptions and expectations.

#designtip – schedule a twice-yearly Brand Communication review with your team to explore how well your brand message is being shared online and beyond. Survey clients and customers for their thoughts too; you could offer an incentive to encourage more feedback!

Brand consistency, particularly in relation to tone of voice, is essential for small businesses. It builds trust, differentiates your brand, and will help keep your team on board. By consistently communicating your brand’s values and personality, you create a memorable and authentic experience. So, embrace brand consistency as a powerful tool in your journey toward success!

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* Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash