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Helping employees find your tone of voice

This week I got to talk about one of my favorite topics at this year’s GaggleAMPAMPlify Conference: Helping employees find your tone of voice on social media. I have long advocated for embracing a unique tone of voice to build your brand.

Now, we get specific!

For those of you not at the conference, I’m happy to provide the highlights here.

What do we mean by tone of voice? One way I like to describe it is by looking at humans. We have faces that help us distinguish ourselves from one another. If I were to show you a photograph of this woman:

…and we immediately think of Oprah Winfrey!

Play this recording:

And of course, I’m guessing you immediately know who it is! (Answer at the end if you do not!)

Brands are no different. Every brand creates a face through its logo, color palette, font, etc. The most well-articulated brands have a tone of voice that is unique to them.

CAVEAT: Like everything in branding, tone of voice is subtle, sometimes as subtle as the boys in our cover photo (so, adorable). But like them, there are ways to tell each other apart. Take these two competing brands:

Voice One:

Introducing our new PRODUCT NAME Salad. Because you probably don’t have a private garden with all kinds of fresh ingredients.

It is the PRODUCT NAME, or does summer taste this fresh? Don’t answer. Just sip.

Voice Two:

We brought BBQ back with a sweet & savory twist in our NEW Sweet BBQ Bacon #SignatureCrafted Recipe. Try it today!

You’re a key player in NEW #SignatureCrafted Recipes. With flavors like crispy onion, & tangy BBQ in every bite.

Voice One is Wendy’s. Voice Two? McDonald’s. Both types of copy are perfectly fine; however, both have a distinct sound that helps reinforce the subtle differences in their individual brands.

Tone of voice is an important element of building brands as they help:

  • Drive consistency

  • Create cohesion

  • Reinforce competitive differentiation

  • Enable employee engagement.

 

Before you can help your employees find your tone of voice, you have to find it yourself. Look no further than your brand strategy. If done correctly, it will tell you why and how you do what you do in a way that is relevant and competitively differentiated from other options customers have. It will also guide you to the personality attributes that bring it to life.

You should also look at your competitors to “hear” how they sound, and determine what option you have to sound unique in a way that is consistent with who you are as a brand.

Once there, provide all resources your employees will need to use it in their adventures in social media: such as training that includes an understanding of the brand strategy, before and after, a review of competitors’ tones, and guidelines! Specifically, what can they do?

What goes too far? And finally, where can they get help.

We certainly hope you know where you can get help bringing your brand’s voice to life if you need it. In this post, I’ve just touched the surface of the talk I gave at AMPlify. If you want to hear more, please let us know. Easily done!

(The voice? Jack Nicholson!)

Douglas Spencer
Spencer Brenneman, LLC
Copyright 2017

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