Most companies are focused on creating a powerful visual identity, but many of them forget an important detail: the creation of a verbal identity compatible with their brand personality.
After creating a unique identity and defining a brand personality, they should consider the way that personality is going to be communicated.
The answer is easy: their personality is transmitted through what they show (visual identity), what they say (verbal identity) and what they do (brand behavior).
This article is focused on the voice tone of the brand, the one that’s forgotten in most strategies but no less important than the image since it plays a precise role in the creation of a strong brand.
Obviously, companies without verbal identity reflect it in loss of communication. It ends up without creativity and coherence compared to their visual identity.
What is the verbal identity of a brand?
People can notice how different business people speak, the way of speaking says a lot about someone.
Same happens with brands. That’s why a verbal identity is a branding tool that allows the strategical communication of messages, aligned with the value and personality proposal to build the way their public perceive and associate them.
In a nutshell, it’s how a brand should be expressed.
Among its benefits, a brand can differentiate itself from the competition, be consistent with its strategy and avoid any mistake when communicating values and attributes. Having a verbal identity will improve brand positioning and reputation, and of course the connection with the target audience.
So it really is worth contemplating.
How is the voice of the brand created?
First of all, brands must have a message matrix, a guide able to define the messages for each one of their audiences (target audience, ideal client, team, board of directors, suppliers, press, etc.) to build the perception they want to have.
This serves to fill the brand with content. How to transmit with the audience its attitude and personality or how the brand sees life in general.
It also can be useful to prepare a list of main and secondary messages for each type of audience. The message matrix defines the best ideas to transmit and the final copy will be determined by the time and channel it will be launched on.
That means it’s not just about making a list of messages that “look good”, but to define what the brand expect others to understand with those messages.
In this way, anyone encharged to communicate the brand messages will have clear ideas about what to share.
Just thinking about the best way to communicate is not enough. Brands have to think about what they want to others to understand, not only from their objectives as a company but from the specific context in which the audiences are (according to the needs, motivations, desires, expectations and so on)
The voice is the verbal extension of the brand personality, the voice verbally transmits what the brand is like.
Imagine the brand as a character. What would it be like if it were a person? Would it be someone extravagant or discreet? Then how would it speak? Would it have a thin or rough voice? Velvety or shrill? Would it be a hoarse, shrill or seductive voice? Childish, juvenile or mature? Would it have any particular accent? The clearer the personality of a brand is defined, the easier it will be to define how it’s expressed.
Voice tone is well known as the way the brand expresses itself according to the environment or the situation. The voice must always be the same because it’s the one encharged to communicates the brand personality, while the tone can be adapted.
The tone is composed of with words and expressions used. What words are commonly used? Does it use crutches? How does it express itself in a sad situation? There is a tone for each particular situation.
To choose the right communication tone for each situation, brands should always consider: What is the final goal of that communication? What do you want to achieve?
Here some examples of objectives.
- Awake curiosity
- Teach how something is done
- Entertain/Get fun
- To sell
- To thank
- Calm an angry customer or user
- Empathize with a client or user so that they feel heard and cared for
- Recognize an error
According to one of these objectives, the tone of the communication may be:
So most companies have to understand what is the situation, know the target of their brand and the channel used to write or speak.
All these elements must be defined in the verbal identity manual, which must be proposed by the group of people who work in the company. Why? Because the voice should always be the same and without the risk of communicates and expresses differently.