The tone of voice we usually use gives people a picture in their minds of who we are, what we stand for, and where we’re coming from. If your very ladylike Grandma suddenly started using language more suited for a rapper, you’d find it a bit jarring. The same is true of your association – your brand voice helps your members to recognize and relate positively to you. But how do you go about building and maintaining it?
Why Brand Voice Matters
Your brand voice is vital when it comes to making your communications sound authentic and authoritative. Follow these three tips to start building yours:
- Ask yourself, “how do I want my association to be seen, and how do others see it?” Do you want your association to be seen as professional, reliable, modern, or friendly? It’s important to take into account how your members already see you, which you can find out by sending a survey or asking questions. Of course, if you don’t like how they see you, now is a good time to work on changing that.
- Listen to your members. How do they communicate on social media, forums, or at events? Is the tone generally relaxed, formal, friendly, or something else? Now imagine your association as a person joining that conversation. How would you communicate to fit in well?
- Set limits alongside your guidelines. A simple but effective tip for building your brand voice is to add a limit to every positive word you choose for your association. For example, you might want your association to be “friendly, but not over familiar” or “professional, but not stuffy.”
How to Keep Your Voice Consistent
Once you’ve found your brand voice, everyone who communicates on behalf of your association needs to keep it consistent. Simple reminders can help a lot with this. Posters, printouts, or a folder full of tips can all be used to remind staff how your brand voice sounds. A list of words that work and words to avoid, examples of how to order sentences, and even examples of how not to do it will all help your association staff to use your brand voice when communicating.
Building a brand voice is one of the most important things you can do for your association’s public image and to foster good communication with your members. What you say matters, but how you say it has equal weight, so start paying attention to your association’s voice today.