Whiplash Team, 2nd April 2021
Speak to me, and I’ll tell you what you’re like
The brand’s verbal identity and tone of voice define, in part, its personality. That is why in the strategic branding process it is necessary to pay special attention to how the brand speaks to its audience.
Words are the crystallisation of ideas. They are the expression of what we think. Thus, our way of expressing ourselves, how we articulate messages, what words we choose, the tone of voice we use, reflects who we are, what we do, how we think, where we come from. It is part of our identity and a manifestation of our personality. The same thing happens with brands.
Its personality is expressed through the visual elements that identify it, such as the logo, the colours or the fonts it uses, but also through what it says and how it says it. For this reason, when building a brand, taking care of verbal identity, voice and tone is so important. Finally, there are the actions: the brand’s way of acting is also an expression of its personality, and it must support its discourse and be consistent with its story.
On the other hand, how a brand speaks defines its way of interacting with its users, with its suppliers and, ultimately, with everyone who engages with it. Verbal identity and tone of voice are key in shaping all brand communication and will determine to what degree it will be more or less close, or emotional, or if it will use a sense of humour to make its message more effective.
But, for a brand being an effective communicator this is not enough. The brand must be influential. It must get its audience to listen. It must convince. It must motivate. It must inspire.
To do so, a defined verbal style is necessary, which always uses the right words, which builds trust and demonstrates the interest and connection of the brand with its audience. If the brand is youthful and fun, for example, its verbal style cannot be corporate or overly serious. No one can imagine a Kit Kat ad that says, “Take a well-earned rest” instead of “Take a break.”
Thus, the objective of creating a verbal identity is to offer the brand a tool that allows it to transmit its verbal messages in a unique, differentiating, and strategic way. All this with the intention of creating the desired perception in their audiences, aligned with the personality, value proposition and purpose of the brand. And without losing focus on the audience.
The voice of the brand, like that of each person, is unique. But you can modulate it, that’s what tones of voice are for, they can be adapted to circumstances and audiences to communicate your messages effectively and efficiently.
Brands that manage to be influential put their users at the centre of their communication. They show them that they are important and that their problems, needs and concerns do not go unnoticed. They are brands that address their audience directly, frankly and without using generalities. They speak the truth, without euphemisms, with clear and direct messages. They use exciting and inspiring concepts, and they do not bury them under a bunch of wacky or fuzzy words.
Regardless of how your brand’s voice is, the attributes it has or the tones your brand uses, to motivate its users, to be influential, the brand must consider all these traits. You must employ them consistently, consciously, and coherently, always keeping in mind that communication must be aligned with your purpose and must be consistent with your actions.