Do you ever find yourself drawn to people who emit confidence - people who are self-aware and have a very clear understanding of who they are in themselves?
Most of us are - whether we realize it or not.
So why should it be any different when building a brand?
After all, a truly effective and influential voice rings true because of where it comes from - knowing who you are and what you believe in.
In doing so, you may become so good that they can't ignore you.
Let's get down to basics and define what makes a voice, how tone can dictate feelings, and why they are important for your brand.
Voice is like your personality - it never changes.
Every headline on your brand website, every email you send, or piece of collateral you provide creates a voice for your brand. It tells your brand's story while simultaneously creating a relationship of trust with prospects.
This focus on maintaining consistency is key for effective branding. Everything about voice and tone comes down to how you interact with your audience.
CoSchedule said it best... "Developing brand recognition with consumers requires consistency and repetition".
Target audiences are prone to confusion when your brand messaging changes frequently, so keeping it consistent is crucial.
I had never considered the distinction between voice and tone until I dipped my toe in the pool of content marketing strategies.
One way to decipher the difference between the two would be to think about your most sarcastic friend. It's never so much about what they say as it is about how they say it. Tone can make or break whatever message you are attempting to communicate.
If done properly, tone can be a powerful force that builds trust with potential customers.
If done poorly, it could mean losing a potential client.
Tone influences everything.
By setting the right tone for all touchpoints, you're more likely to create an environment that breeds trust. Maintaining consistency lets prospects know when they are interacting with your brand. This gets a little tricky when your brand serves various industries, but it's always possible.
One brand that successfully leverages its unique voice is Chubbies. If you're a dude, you probably know what Chubbies are, and maybe you are even wearing some right now. Chubbies checks the three boxes of tone done right:
The co-founder of Chubbies, Rainer Castillo, makes an important distinction in a recent interview - saying, "a realization for us from day one was that it's really important to treat your customers like your friends... I think when you read an email from us, the tone of that email, the way it's written, it's as if Tom had written that email to a friend".
In figuring out which tone works best for your brand - it depends... on your company, your products/services, your content, and your target audience. What approach do your prospects respond to better? Informal content? Professional-speak?, or perhaps somewhere in between?
For Chubbies, they targeted their audience by reaching out to guys on college campuses that had enough of a following to be campus brand representatives and created worthwhile relationships with them.
Perhaps my favorite examples of Chubbies nailing its voice and tone is the story of when a customer service rep received an email from a customer saying his car had been broken into and all of his Chubbies had been stolen. Chubbies then replaced all of his shorts and purchased karate lessons for him to keep it from happening again. Castillo's vision of treating customers like they're his friends comes across as authentic, different, and special.
Different tones resonate with different audiences, and it is important to remember you are never writing for yourself.
Back to my initial observation, individuals who emit confidence stand out among the rest of the crowd.
Brands, too, want to stand out in a sea of competitors. But that doesn't happen by following the same footsteps as everyone else.
It may get the job done, but it won't create a lasting impact.
Understanding your customer and how they interact with your brand is one way Chubbies has been so successful.
So, do your homework, figure out what your audience is looking for, and tailor your message to fit their needs. You'll have diehard brand fans like Chubbies in no time.