Just as a company implements a branding guide to ensure consistency across the organization, it’s also critical to develop a voice and style for your organization to be consistent in its messaging. Your brand’s voice is vital to communicate your differentiation effectively and to speak directly to and emotionally connect with your audience.
What Is A Voice And Style Guide?
While visual branding guides focus on logos, fonts, colors, and other visual styles, a voice and style guide focuses on the verbiage, terminology, and tone used by your brand when people are listening or reading about you.
There are several aspects to a brand that you should incorporate into your voice and style guide:
- Personas – what are all the cultural, demographic, education, and geographic traits of your target customer?
- Perception – what is the perception that you would like your personas to have about your brand?
- Mission – what is your brand’s overall mission statement?
- Tone – what is the tone of voice you wish to use to resonate well with your audience? Do you want to be informal, positive, energetic, unique, playful, inspiring, etc.
- Synonymy – what words are synonymous with your brand, products, or services that you want to be utilized frequently?
- Antonymy – what words should never be used to describe your brand, products, or services?
- Hyponymy – what terminology is specific to your industry or organization that should be consistent?
- Custom – what terminology is custom to your brand, product, or service that no one else utilizes?
An example: One of our key clients owns a site where you can order dresses online. The dresses are moderately priced but of high quality, we use terms like affordable over cheap… which would have a negative connotation of quality. We also state no-hassle returns rather than hassle-free returns. While they both have the same meaning, having the word free throughout the site would set the wrong tone when we’re speaking to the personas visiting the site – adult women.
Writer: The AI Writing Assistant For Teams
Many people incorporate the voice and style guide along with their visual branding guide so that new employees or contractors can be consistent in developing content for the brand. It may be neatly incorporated into a PDF that’s distributed when requested. While that sounds useful, it’s not very actionable since only people interested in your consistency of voice would put your voice and style guide to use.
- Autocorrect and autocomplete for spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.
- Snippets – personal and team snippets for common phrases or text that are used over and over.
- Recommendations – recommendations for improving your writing.
- Terminology – a terminology management tool for approved, pending, and disallowed terms.
- Writing Style – readability targets, capitalization, inclusivity, confidence, and clarity customization.
- Team Roles – roles and permissions for developing your terminology and voice settings vs users that need to apply them.
- Styleguide – a hosted, published, and sharable styleguide for your organization.
Writer works in Chrome, Microsoft Word, and Figma. They also have a robust API for integrating their tool into your editorial processes.
Disclosure: I’m an affiliate for Writer and I’m using my affiliate link throughout this article.