Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

How to define your brand voice

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As more and more brands tweet, Facebook, blog and publish their stories and content on various other old and new channels, it’s also important that you think about your brand’s voice.

Your brand voice is how you sound when you write tweets, respond to Facebook questions, respond to emails and how your blog posts are written, for example.

What should your brand voice be?

Your voice should reflect your style and way of doing business. If you have a fun, quirky coffee shop that caters to new technology lovers your brand’s voice should fit that audience.

Perhaps your brand’s voice could be defined as:

Fun, quirky, on the cutting edge, but not offending.

If you are a serious attorney’s office your brand voice should reflect that. It might be defined like this:

Serious. Informational. Trustworthy, but not chatty.

In my definitions I like to use two to three words that describe the brand (Do This) and one “but not ..” example (Do Not Do This).

It helps people communicating publicly for a brand (especially when there is more than one person) to have a bit of guidance that can be easily referred back to.

An example for United Way in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where more than a dozen people communicate publicly through branded channels:

Serious, but fun. Not silly.

Same set-up here. United Way’s work is serious, but there’s still room to have fun and share information in a fun (conversational) way.

For my own personal brand, I share most of what I have to say on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and my blog at, where you can also find links to the first three networks.

I never actually sat down and wrote a formal plan on what my voice would be. It has definitely evolved from just chit-chatting to more focused. I would describe my own voice now as:

Sharing, personal, chatty and responsive but not overbearing.

Defining your voice

These questions might help you define your voice:

1) How would you describe your typical customer?
2) How would you describe a customer group that you would like to engage but haven’t been able to?
3) How would you describe the atmosphere in your business environment? This could be in your store, over the phone, etc.
4) How would you describe how you want your business to be described by the public?

The answers could give you a clue to what your brand voice might be. Let’s take a look at potential answers and how they might help you. (This example is totally made up and does not reflect an actual business that I know of.)

1) Older. Established business people. Connected. BlackBerry users who recently switched to iPhones.
2) Younger business people, who are up and coming. We think they know of us but aren’t extremely loyal, yet.
3) Friendly. Business-like. Helpful. Cordial.
4) Helpful. Easy to work with.

Potential brand voice:
Easy-going, helpful and conversational, but not too casual.

That exact voice might not work for your exact brand, but you probably get the idea on how to take a stab at defining your brand’s voice.

The more unique your brand voice is the easier it should be for customers, advocates, etc., to feel connected to you. Isn’t that much better than everyone sounding the same?

Don’t forget

No matter what your voice might end up being, remember to be clear about what can be shared publicly, what can’t be shared publicly, and which content could go either way depending on the situation.

Related links:

Coca-Cola’s Content Journey

MailChimp’s Voice and Tone Guide

Disclaimers: The information provided in articles is for informational purposes only and not personalized advice. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time it's published. Enjoy and best of luck telling the best stories in your organization and life!

Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I’m Christoph Trappe.

I’ve written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs.

If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I’m always happy to chat!

Thanks for reading!

– Christoph

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