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Finding your voice: Why a messaging strategy is worth the investment

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Our team is passionate about the value of great design, but when it comes to brand development, design is only half the story. The other half? Messaging. A clear voice and tone are vital to giving your brand a distinct personality and ensuring that your values and key differentiators are clear.

Think of your design as a nail, and your copy as the hammer. You need design to make a sharp first impression, but the hammer to drive it home. Together, they empower you to tell your brand story and connect with your target audience.

 

What are “voice” & “tone” and how do they differ?

Though voice and tone are often addressed as a pair, they play distinctly different roles in brand development. Not unlike how you would describe the voice and tone of a person, your voice is what you say, while tone defines how you say it.

Your voice comprises your personality, identity, and attitude.

It should be a distinct expression of who you are as a company, set you apart from competitors, build trust and likeability, and help customers connect with your brand. It also sets a clear direction, standards, and priorities for messaging, and ultimately informs all written content to ensure consistency. 

Your tone (much like when you speak), changes situationally.

It’s the difference between addressing an audience about an upcoming product launch versus sharing a product tutorial—using the same voice, one tone is excited while the other sounds instructional. Most importantly, tone encompasses the specific grammar standards, vocabulary rules, and recommended approaches needed to execute your voice goals.

 

Why are “voice & tone” crucial to your brand strategy? 

They tell your brand’s (unique) story.

People don’t just buy products; they buy into a story. Voice and tone help craft a narrative that is unique to your business. They set standards for how your story is told, help differentiate you from competitors, and express your values—and they’re crucial in defining your company’s personality. In fact, voice and tone not only drive interest in your story, but enable you to communicate it authentically to the audiences you prioritize most.

Voice and tone set standards for how your story is told, help differentiate you from competitors, and express your values.

For example, does your company value sustainability and transparency? Or do you prioritize product quality above all else? These are completely different stories, and your voice and tone will reflect those decisions to support your brand across each piece of content you produce. 

They create connections with your target audience.

Your words are a powerful tool for connecting with your audience. Using your voice, you can tell your clients how your values align with theirs; how your product improves their lives; and how your company can relate to their lifestyle. It’s an important avenue for showing your audience that you understand their needs, desires, and priorities.

Your voice and tone create a personality for your brand that your audience can relate to—it’s almost like making a new friend.

Your voice and tone create a personality for your brand that your audience can relate to—it’s almost like making a new friend. If they resonate with your voice, tone, and messaging, they’re more likely to forge a lasting connection. 

For example, do you leverage trendy and casual language to connect with a younger audience, or target more mature buyers through clever and sophisticated copy? Carefully deciding what direction your voice and tone take makes you more relatable to the audience you need to reach. 

They create consistency.

People trust consistent messaging. Having a well-defined brand voice and tone ensures that your company sounds the same across every publication. Whether a long-form blog post or an email subject line, your voice determines which words and phrases fall in-line with your intended image. 

This is especially helpful when multiple writers or teams are responsible for executing your voice. A clear set of guidelines can make or break your success when collaborating with external partners, onboarding new employees, tackling new projects, or simply divvying up the work across teams. Guidelines provide both general recommendations and detailed standards for writers, serving as a “source of truth” for edits and messaging decisions to ensure consistency.

A clear set of guidelines can make or break your success when collaborating with external partners, onboarding new employees, or tackling new projects.

Of course, brand consistency doesn’t stop with the copy team. Your voice and tone guidelines also help designers, art directors, and everyone in-between gain a clear understanding of your brand across your organization, establishing a strong and reliable personality with every piece you publish.

 

Conclusion

Many small businesses overlook the value of voice and tone in brand development, but the truth is that without a clear voice, your brand is incomplete. Investing in voice and tone gives your company a competitive edge; it’s what sets you apart in your industry and is crucial to forming lasting connections with your audience. Above all, voice and tone support your business goals with the strategic messaging you need to advance your brand.

If you still haven’t defined a voice and tone, we can help. Our in-depth discovery process unveils unique insights that we use to define your tone, create a unique personality for your brand, and determine your most critical messages. Most importantly, our content and design teams work together to ensure your visual and messaging strategies align so all elements of your brand contribute to a cohesive image and a compelling story.