If your brand was a person what would it say, and how would it say it?
It’s no secret that good branding builds businesses that last, but what really is a “brand voice” and how does it contribute to customer experience? A brand voice communicates your company’s values, brand identity, and position within the market. In essence, that voice is your company’s personality expressed through its communication.
From a content standpoint, a brand voice is fundamental to the creation of all customer-facing material — it’s usually detailed in a set of guidelines, for writers and editors, outlining the company’s style, personality, and attitude. As such, brand voice is much more than just a marketing buzzword. It’s an anchor for your business and brand.
Whether it’s a support article or a social media post, the personalization of your content through tone and voice leaves an impression on your customers. So, if your company wants to communicate successfully, it needs to define its voice.
The components of a successful brand voice include:
- Consistent expression of voice, style, tone, and terminology
- A unique personality reflected in all communication with your audience
- Clear content strategy and governance
The Voice Creates the Experience
Alignment of your brand voice with your content guidelines creates consistent communication to your customers. As such, an aligned brand voice is recognizable. Ideally, customers should identify your brand without your logo present because your tone, voice, and style build a robust brand identity. And the consistency of your messaging should make your brand voice easy to spot. This creates great customer experiences and is the foundation of customer relationships. Whether it’s via social media, emails, or your FAQs, when you maintain your brand identity across all your distribution channels, you create parallel experiences for your audience.
What’s more, brand voice positions your company in the marketplace — it shows which characteristics make you stand out from competitors. You can affect how customers perceive your brand, and differentiate it from others. Few companies can afford the repercussions of off-brand messaging in a crowded marketplace, which means unifying writing teams to write in one voice is a must. It’s so easy to see why brand voice matters!
What Are the Challenges?
Even though some companies have an established brand voice, their traditional approaches to content governance limit its effectiveness. Often, brand voice guidelines are buried in a virtual mountain of content documents or hidden in a collection of online folders and not easily accessible. How can your voice be effective if it’s rarely or inconsistently applied? That’s where content governance comes in!
Alignment and Compliance
Both in-house writers and external agencies need to align to the same brand voice, and for many big companies that’s difficult. Teams of content writers can be spread out across the world — so they need more than a PDF style guide to stay aligned to your expected content standards. With external agencies and freelancers thrown into the content creation mix, it’s challenging for companies to align brand voice without a clear strategy for content governance.
Even if the PDF style guide is used regularly, editors spend the majority of their time correcting grammar mistakes instead of adding high-value guidance. Old-fashioned methods of content governance make maintaining brand voice difficult for writers and editors, and even more difficult to onboard new staff. On top of that, the chaos of content production can create legal risks if content isn’t carefully governed —a nightmare for any company.
Inconsistency and Trust
Inconsistent messaging (including terms and keywords) is inevitable if there’s no internal alignment of brand voice, and this can be damaging for your business. If your content creation ecosystem lacks clear governance, you might notice a random assortment of voices and tones — lacking consistent language use and vocabulary. And the last thing you need is for your target audience to see you as unreliable or, worse, untrustworthy.
A Sproutsocial study found that the most sought after brand characteristic, by customers, was honesty. Brand recognition and trust require consistency and repetition, so efforts fall flat without a clear content strategy. An established and maintained voice prevents mixed messaging and the lack of trust associated with it. It also offers your audience an authentic way to understand your company’s core values and brand personality, giving them even more reason to trust you.
Consistency is Key
When you establish and use your company’s brand voice consistently, the resulting benefits really show why it matters! It’s easy to achieve a uniformity of style, tone, and attitude when you apply a content governance solution. The time content creators save, on aligning content to your values, means writers and editors are freed up to spend their time on high-value work. This makes the content creation process more efficient. What’s more, it’s easy to onboard new writers and align externally produced content to the voice that best resonates with your audience.
Here are some top tips you can use to make sure you’re maintaining your brand voice across your entire content workflow:
- Put it all in writing: a thoroughly outlined set of strategic content guidelines that define your brand voice; including style, terminology, and attitude.
- Have a plan for execution: you need a clear strategy of content governance — once you have your guidelines, how will you implement them across your enterprise?
- Put your content to the test: when you proofread your text, ask yourself, without your brand logo present, would your customers recognize your brand’s voice?
- Monitor your tone: as the emotional inflection applied to a brand voice, the tone of your content should be adjusted to suit its different forms — social media posts, knowledge articles, or nurture emails (to name a few!) — while still sounding on-brand.
- Keep track of your content: analyze how your customers engage and interact with your content through metrics, so you can understand how customers respond to your brand voice.
If you have teams contributing to your enterprise content asset, you need to align your writers to one (or more) sets of strategic guidelines so that content is consistent and recognizable. This makes sure all customer-facing material is aligned, and protects your company against poorly crafted content. A consistent brand voice makes your company easy to identify, and authoritative in its field of expertise. That’s why aligning content to your brand voice is essential to successful content marketing.
When your company maintains its brand voice through content governance, it can increase efficiency and maximize budget. By using an automated solution for content governance, your company can boost operational efficiency across the whole content ecosystem. And it also makes it much easier to implement brand voice on a local or regional scale. That being so, you can also reduce your cost to create content, by taking advantage of AI and automation to fuel efficiencies across the content workflow.
Also, a modern, technology-driven approach to content governance protects your company from the repercussions of wrong or non-compliant content. It reduces, or even eliminates, the legal risk associated with content. A win-win!
What’s the Solution?
The bottom line is that maintaining brand voice is important, and all companies need to have a strategy in place that checks for consistent vocabulary and style. Effective content governance is a must for any business, and the Acrolinx Platform is the solution to provide it.
As an enterprise solution, Acrolinx optimizes the content production engine. Automation bears the brunt of time-consuming editing for quality control standards, while enabling writers to focus on higher-value work. This streamlined process can save you time and money. Our content governance platform learns how your company writes, while capturing your content standards and your brand voice. This automated integration of governance into the content creation process results in consistent and compliant content — all in a way that delights your target audience. Want to know more? Let’s talk.