Brand Communication: Voice, Tone & Style

May 14th, 2020

When Good Karma Works asked me to write a brand communication guide, I happily jumped at the opportunity. In a previous life, I worked in marketing for an institution where brand communication was tightly curated and implemented. Having a guide made all my writing tasks manageable and believe me, it will do the same for you. Fast forward to today, I specialize in helping other businesses tell their amazing stories.

BRAND COMMUNICATION: VOICE, TONE AND STYLE

Brand communication for your wellness business is all about defining three things: voice, tone and style. This trio can be applied to literally EVERY piece of written content for your audience—from a casual Instagram post to your more curated homepage copy.

So what are they exactly? What’s the difference between the three? And how will it help towards the success of launching your wellness business?

Your Brand Communication Breakdown

Below you’ll get the breakdown for how to define voice, tone and style as well as examples from our own brand communication guide here at Good Karma Works—this is the insider stuff!

Voice

Define your brand voice

Your voice is a description that reflects your brand character and core values.

It is unique and does not change.

Ask yourself: Who are we as a business? What is our purpose?

Our brand voice

We are female, business savvy professionals who specialize in creatively empowering other wellness professionals to create and grow their businesses.

Tone

Define your brand tone

A description that adds to the personality of your brand. These are key adjectives.

Include what you are and what you are not.
Tone changes depending on the situation and the channel of communication.

Ask yourself: How do we stand out from the rest? How do we communicate to our audience so they feel understood, connected and valued?

Our brand tone

We understand the challenges of running a wellness business. We relate to customers’ concerns and passions because we also experience them. We are warm, compassionate and kind.

We know our stuff but we are never patronizing. We explain technical concepts (UX-website user experience, for example) with a clear, straight-forward and playful tone.

We focus on the positives and use encouraging phrases. We celebrate customers’ unique qualities and nudge them gently towards accomplishments. We are strong, strategizing cheerleaders.

Style

Define your brand style

Stay consistent and clear in your messaging and writing style.

Defining your style includes rules related to grammar, abbreviations, numbers, etc.

It can also include guidelines on word choice.

Our brand style

Use American English spelling not British. We use active voice (for example: Jane logged into the account. NOT: The account was logged into by Jane).

We write dates like this: June 1st, 2021 and money like this: $1,000.

We avoid trendy phrases like “Yas Queen!” but welcome phrases like “You are rockin’ it!”

We use emojis only on social media, but not on newsletters or on our website.

Words we love to use: warriors, gem, empowering, wellness, lifestyle, soul-driven

BENEFITS OF HAVING A BRAND COMMUNICATION GUIDE

You will create content that is clear, consistent and on brand.
Consistent writing will build brand awareness and a closer connection with your audience. With this guide, there will be very little doubt about the tone of voice you would use when writing copy for a social media campaign or responding to a client inquiry. If you work with a team, you will be finishing each other’s sentences in no time.

You will save time and money.
If you are outsourcing copy to freelance writers, include this guide with the project brief. If the guide is clear and the writer good, you should have few draft reviews before hitting publish. If you are writing all content copy yourself, soon enough you will be writing content as quickly as a simple text!

Your audience will thank you.
Your customers have a problem, something they need solved or a craving they need filled. And By George, you offer the solution! The clarity of your communication will answer their questions, leave a lasting impression and excite them to click ‘buy’. They will recognize your brand amongst others and they’ll choose you every time.

APPLY YOUR BRAND COMMUNICATION GUIDE TO:

Blogs
Website copy
Newsletters
Emails

Video scripts
Social media
Paid advertising
Landing pages

Job descriptions
Event descriptions
Speaking presentations
In-person meetings

Tips for creating your brand communication guide:

-Look at how other businesses communicate and find examples that you like and dislike.

-Focus on your audience. Ask yourself constantly, what is their language?

-Read your content out loud. Do you like how it sounds?

-Apply the guide to a piece of communication you wrote in the past. Is it better? Does it more closely represent your brand?

-Revisit the tone and style section regularly to change, expand and condense.

I hope this illustrates how essential it is for your business to have a voice, tone and style guide. Just as our teammate Rachel Papernick described in our resource article Design Brief 101: How to Brief with Success, “It’s all too easy to skip it, but it’s kind of like not doing a warm-up before that big workout—you’re gonna regret it later!”

About the Author
KISSLEY LEONOR

Kissley Leonor is a content designer and editor specializing in helping small businesses tell their amazing stories. She is also a private chef, focusing on plant-based catering for wellness events and families. Three things that are always in her fridge: miso, ginger & butter.

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