The Ultimate Guide to an Engaging Brand Voice and Style Guide in 2023
We’re going to let you in on a secret: The secret to branding is consistency. It doesn’t matter what you do or how you do it if you aren’t consistent with your brand voice, style, or visuals: It could ruin the overall appeal of your brand.
According to The State of Branding Consistency Report, if you’re consistent with your branding, you can increase your revenue by up to 20%. This tells us that consistency is a must-have in today’s digital world. No matter what voice, tone, or colors you use: As long as you are consistent across all channels, you’ll give your customers the confidence they need to shop for your brand and keep coming back for more.
To master the art of brand consistency and ensure your entire team is on the same page, you’ll want to have an engaging brand voice and style guide. This is a guide you can use for all projects and digital marketing initiatives you have planned for 2023.
We’re here to walk you through everything you need to consider when building an engaging brand’s voice and style guide so you can set your brand up for success.
Let’s take a closer look:
What is a brand style guide?
A brand style guide includes a set of standards that comply with your branding guidelines. This will include everything from colors and visual choices to grammar and tone suggestions. The brand style guide is there to help any partners, new hires, and team members understand what they can and can’t do with content associated with your brand.
Not only does it help you establish your stylistic choices, but it also specifics your target audience. By defining your ideal target audience, you can easily create standardized content that effectively communicates with them.
Every business needs a brand style guide they can utilize to maintain brand consistency across all channels and keep their target audience engaged across all channels you use for marketing purposes.
Establish Brand Identity
Your brand identity is just like your own personal identity. It includes all of the nitty-gritty details that make your brand special. From the colors you choose, to the blogs you write: Your brand identity is every element used to help your audience connect with you.
Know Your Mission and Vision
Think of your mission and vision statement as the definition of your business. It’s why you do what you do. It’s the answer to the question you aspire to answer with your products and services.
For example, JetBlue’s mission statement is “To inspire humanity — both in the air and on the ground.” Not only does it connect with what they do, but it aims to build a stronger relationship with its audience by showing they are so much more than an airline business.
Get creative and have fun, but make sure it’s clear and concise.
Have a Brand Story
Think about some of your favorite brands. Why do you love them? What made you purchase once, twice, or even three times? Is it the product, or is it the story? In today’s day and age, the consumer demands more than just a great product. They also want to connect with your company and feel good about the products they purchase.
That’s where your brand story comes in.
Your brand’s story says a lot about where you’ve come, your plans, and what you hope to accomplish in the next 5, 10, or 20 years. Your brand story is also a tool to help you strengthen your connection with the consumer and persuade them to continue doing business with you. Even if you don’t feel like your brand story is special, you can tie it in with your purpose and values.
Identify Brand Voice and Tone
Ask yourself: If your logo wasn’t paired next to your content or messaging, would your customer be able to identify you? Would they know who is writing, what you’re selling, and what your purpose is? Your voice and tone have the power to engage with customers and help you maintain consistency across different digital marketing channels.
Your voice and tone are all about how you position your content on the internet and use it to build relationships with your audience. It’s a tool that helps new customers connect with you and keeps your current audience coming back for more.
Without a brand voice, you may find it hard to establish credibility and be identified as an authoritative source of expertise. You could run into problems with maintaining high engagement rates or positioning yourself as an industry leader.
Here’s how you can identify your brand voice for your style guide:
Look at your Current Content
Take a look at the content you currently produce. Pull a random sample of social media posts, emails, blogs, and even landing page copy that embodies your brand. What makes you different from your competitors? What do your competitors do that you’d like to do differently? What do you like and dislike about what you’re currently doing?
When you’re building out your style guide, you may want to grab 2-3 examples of content that expertly pairs with the vision you have for your branding. You can also grab a few examples of what not to do for comparison.
Describe Your Brand Personality
Next, you’ll want to choose a few words that describe your brand’s voice. Are you funny and quirky? Authoritative and professional? Friendly and conversational?
If you find it challenging to think of what words pair with your brand, you may want to take a few steps back and look at your values, mission, and brand identity. Everything your voice and tone say about you should connect with your goals. You should have at least 2-3 words that you believe expertly describe your brand.
Lastly, you’ll want to look at what other brands are doing in your industry. The competitor analysis may not be included in your style guide, but it will help you fine-tune the details of tone and messaging. During your competitor analysis, you’ll want to review their approach to each different digital marketing channel. Make a list of what you like and dislike, then use your findings to adjust your brand’s voice.
Know When To Use The Right Voice
Not every digital marketing channel is created the same. That means you don’t need to stick to the same voice and tone you always pick. No, we aren’t telling you to break all the rules. You still need to maintain a level of consistency. However, if you have a professional and authoritative voice, you don’t need to always stick to the professional tone for everything you do. However, you’ll need to decide when and where this is appropriate.
Let’s break it down.
Let’s take a look at Wendy’s. Wendy’s is a popular fast-food chain with over 3.9 million followers on Twitter. On Twitter, they are known for their fun and witty personality. They quickly respond to complaints, comments, and messages that mention Wendy’s, with light-hearted humor.
However, you won’t get that same voice and tone on LinkedIn, where a professional approach is necessary. On LinkedIn, they go by The Wendy’s Company. They share photos of their corporate team, business updates, and other corporate-related news. The content they create wouldn’t resonate with their audience on LinkedIn, and vice versa. In their style guidelines, they can establish different boundaries by channel and provide their team the flexibility they need to engage with customers on each platform.
Develop Ideal Customer Personas
Personas help you understand your target audience. This is important to keep in mind because everything you do should lead back to your audience’s needs.
For example, if your audience is Gen Z between 18-22, you may want to take a more playful approach to your content. However, a professional tone may be a better fit if you look to connect with individuals over 45 in the travel industry. This also applies to the channels you choose to market with, the content you create, and the visuals you use.
Take some time to look at your current audience and the audience you hope to make a stronger connection with in the future. You’ll want to consider how they spend the day, what sources they get their news from, and all of the little nitty-gritty details about their likes and dislikes. All these details can help you rethink and revise your brand’s tone and voice.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need to consider to build your customer personas:
- Demographic Data: Age, Gender, Income, Where They Live, Family Size
- Professional Information: Where They Work, Job Title, Education Background
- Psychological Data: Goals, Challenges, Necessities, Personality, Motivations
- Interests: Brands, Shopping Interests, Sites, Publications
Other questions to consider:
- How did they find your brand?
- Why do they purchase from your business?
- What kind of person are they?
- What do they want?
- What do they not want?
With this information, you can create well-developed customer personas that accurately describe the individual you’re looking to target.
For example, let’s say you are a shoe brand focusing on high-end apparel options.
Here’s what one of your personas might look like:
- Age 32 years old
- Working professional that lives in New York City
- Director of Marketing for a well-known publication
- Wants easy to style, high-end heels she can wear to work every day
- Is always on the hunt for comfortable heels she can wear on the subway
- She occasionally goes out with friends on the weekend and meets with coworkers for happy hour
This is just an example. You’ll want to build out at least 2-3 personas and use them to help develop effective marketing campaigns.
Identify Logo and Brand Style Rules for Multiple Scenarios
This is where you explain how you want your brand to be visually represented. You’ll want to take some time to consider your visual choices and values and decide how you’d like this to be shown through the design.
Most companies have at least a few logo variations. Whether it’s different colors, styles, or structures, you’ll want to clearly label when and where each logo is supposed to be used.
Colors are more complex than you might think. We no longer live in a time when you can say red and white are your colors. There are now over 122+ different variations of just that color.
You should always include your core color palette. Define your color guidelines and establish primary and secondary colors. Depending on how many colors you choose to include, you may also want to address how and when colors should be used. Lastly, always add the HEX, RGB, and CMYK codes to ensure the correct colors are used.
Fonts are an integral part of any brand’s branding. You’ll want to clearly label when and where each font is used. This will help your team or partners understand the different use cases for each font.
Get More From Your Branding With Brandastic
Consistency is all about the way your brand presents itself. The content you create, the words you choose, and your approach to marketing all play a part in the experience.
We’ll be the first to say: Creating an engaging brand voice and style guide isn’t as easy as it may seem. From the different font uses to establishing your brand messaging, you might skim over must-have details if you aren’t careful.
At Brandastic, we want to help your brand engage with your target audience and build a put together brand guide you can count on. Our team of branding professionals will help ensure your message is always consistent, engaging, and effective.
Contact us today to learn more about our branding services.