Two things I ask clients to describe during our copywriting brief is the personality of their brand and the tone of voice for the copywriting piece. It’s important to consider (for longer than a minute or two) because the personality of a brand gives people (potential clients) something to relate to. It turns a business into a point of connection.
It also helps to govern what you say, how you say it and where you say it.
Why should you bother defining a brand personality?
A brand is a living entity and you need to think of it as such. Your brand communicates what you stand for, and makes you unique. It helps your target customers distinguish you from your competitors; and the connection is much more emotional than you might think.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is attributed to have made this statement:
Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room
It’s not necessarily something you can control.
But when you take the time to assign personality traits to your brand (or your client’s brand), you create a profile that lets you cross check your communications to make sure they are unified, consistent and “on brand”.
Discover brand personality: think human
The tone of voice in your marketing and business communication is your brand personality in action.
Your brand personality might be just like you, but it might not. To find the voice of your business you need to start by asking yourself: if your business were a person, what would it be like?
A very simple exercise to answer that question is to assign 3 human values that represent how you want your business to be experienced.
Copywrite Matters is knowledgeable, creative, and approachable. I use these values to guide how I write about my business and how I communicate with my clients and peers.
It’s also worth digging a bit deeper and thinking about:
- What’s really important to your brand?
- Who does your brand aspire to be and what is it impressed by?
- What blogs does your brand like to read and why?
Some people will tell you to also think about what kind of car, food, and hobbies would your brand like… I personally think that’s a bit of arse but whatever works to help you flesh out your brand personality!
The point of this is that the more you can flesh out about your brand personality profile, the easier it will be to speak in a consistent tone of voice.
Find the voice of your business
The next step is to translate those personality traits into a real voice, the voice of your business (or your client’s business). You need to consider vocabulary, grammar and style.
Another useful exercise is to decide where your brand personality might sit between these extremes.
Just like a person, your brand might have different voices for different audiences but you they should always be guided by those high level brand values. Consider how the tone might change in different circumstances such as the first time you communicate with a client versus how you talk to the most active members of your social media communities.
Differentiate your voice
You might find that when you first do these exercises you (or your client) pick broad-brush values that don’t really differentiate your business. Professional. Reliable. Cost effective. This is especially the case for B2B brands.
The next step is to find out what these words mean in real terms. How does a customer experience this personality trait? When you get that explanation happening, you can usually find some more interesting and relevant brand words.
At the end of the day, you can differentiate your business through the integrity of your voice so it’s important that you are committed to the values you assign.
Do you think of your business as having a personality? Have you taken the extra step of profiling it? Let me know what you think!