This post was originally distributed within our Substack newsletter
Is your brand a parrot or a goldfish? Maybe a labradoodle or a lion?
Giving your brand a personality made up of emotional traits and behaviors helps to humanize an otherwise characterless entity.
Your brand’s visual identity is something people can see and judge. Your brand’s personality governs the emotions that your audience picks up from the way your brand communicates.
To build brand awareness with your audience, produce content that exhibits a consistent set of traits that your buyer recognizes and appreciates.
Create a memorable character that guides how your audience interacts with your company by focusing on your brand’s behaviors. Think about how your brand acts by giving it a consistent personality.
Three elements make everything your company communicates sound like its coming from the same person: voice, tone, and style.
Voice is what most clearly defines your brand’s personality. If your brand were a person, the way they speak would tell you a lot about who they are and what they stand for. For example, think about how an academic might speak compared to a comedian or a gameshow host.
What characteristics do you want to enter a customer’s mind when they are asked to describe your company and its products?
It’s important to define both what your brand’s voice is and what it isn’t. For example, you might use an expert voice but never be condescending. Some brands want to be casual and informal but without sounding sloppy.
The voice of your brand will determine the types of words you use and the characteristics of your writing—the sentence length, pace, and rhythm that’s most natural for the voice type you’re using.
Importantly, the voice of your brand should never change, no matter what type of content you’re creating. Audiences are easily put-off by a schizophrenic brand.
Unlike voice, the tone you use will change depending on the type of content you’re producing and the intended audience.
A more casual brand might adopt a playful tone for an upbeat article about competing products but use a “friendly uncle” tone when sharing advice on how to select the right solution.
Even a formal voice can change tone—for example, serious for an article about something dangerous but straightforward and instructive when presenting the results of a case study.
Adopt a more cautious tone when writing for buyers early in their buyer’s journey, since they don’t know you very well, than for established customers who know you quite well.
Style determines the look and feel of your content. It includes the little things that make your message flow, such as punctuation, grammar, and formatting.
It can be a huge task to get everything right, every time while producing content as diverse as technical papers, blog posts, social media posts, website copy, and videos.
Inconsistency, like having some section titles capitalized while others are written in sentence case or failing to spot basic grammatical errors, can leave readers questioning your professionalism. They might also wonder whether those inconsistencies could be indicative of poor product or service quality.
There are several published guides to help you get things straight, including the Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style. In addition to correcting your grammar, they cover topics like formatting, capitalization, and when and how it’s appropriate to use industry-specific jargon and acronyms.
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