The most important thing to focus on: consistency. Every piece of content you put into the world should use words and phrases that truly represent what your brand stands for. And a Brand Tone & Style Guide is the first vital step to getting you there.
In this article, we cover the following:
What is brand tone & style?
We’ve defined brand tone & style as follows:
“Tone & style is not just what a brand writes and speaks — but how: the words, phrases, sentence structure, and tone we use to influence people's perception of us. It's an opportunity to communicate the values we represent, influence just how accessible and influential our brand is, and, most importantly, build an incredibly strong relationship with the people we are talking or writing to.”
And here’s what it can do for your business:
💸 Drive sales
- Written content (done right) builds the baseline for SEO and can drive people straight to your website.
- What do you do when you’re not fully convinced about a product or service? Read the fine print — well-written copy will persuade you to buy it anyway.
- Writing is your opportunity to drive home those key points that set you apart from the next brand — aka, your USPs.
- Valuable content adds value to your products and services, giving people one more reason to buy from you.
💪 Build an incredibly strong brand
- When we use a conversational tone and avoid complicated words and phrases, it builds trust. People like a brand that talks to them like a human, not a college professor.
- It’s also a great way to show a brand's personality.
- Using a similar set of words and phrases, as well as tone & style across your channels, creates consistency — which makes the UX on your website that one bit simpler.
- Your product or service isn’t unique? You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel, but what you can do is create a USP with a tone & style that stands out from the rest.
Why is having a Brand Tone & Style Guide important?
At Say it right, we’re all about creating high-quality content, which is why we never dive straight into writing.
Before we start, our clients go through a content writing setup month. This is all about diving deep into the brand and creating a tone & style guideline. Having one is important because it:
- Sets the baseline for all content we create moving forward.
- You always have something to turn to for rules of thumb.
- It makes briefing easier — whether you’re briefing us, a team member or another external.
- It’s a hell of a lot more efficient if you make these decisions from the get-go and avoid hiccups later down the line.
We update these consistently while writing. Things change quickly at a company, which is why yourBrand Tone & Style Guidewill always be a living document.
No matter how you’re getting your content written, developing brand tone & style guidelines is a process we’d recommend to anyone. Because how often have you turned to a colleague and asked them whether the company name comes in all caps or what font the company prefers?
How do brand voice and tone affect relationships?
A great brand tone & style builds trust and transforms your audience into brand advocates. And we even have the numbers to prove it: a good 62% of surveyed customers revealed that they would use the same brand for four years or more simply because they felt they had a relationship with it and found it trustworthy. And if that’s not an argument, we don’t know what is.
But enough talk. Here's how using a consistent brand tone & style works in action.
Our best brand tone & style examples
We’ve put together some examples of tech companies with different brand tone & styles, which we’ve helped put into action. Here they are:
Relaxed, humorous, warm
Kaleido AI’s general tone and style of communication help them come across as a friendly neighbourhood expert in their niche — keeping some humour and fun in the process of educating their audience. Their blog posts are usually warm, conversational in tone and use colloquialisms over any formal language.
Other brands using a similar tone & style include Mailchimp, Slack and Innocent Drinks.
Here’s an example of a blog post written bySay it right from Kaleido AI’s remove.bg domain — demonstrating their relaxed, warm, humourous tone of voice.
Professional, warm, mature
XUND establishes its credibility with abrand tone & style that's both warm & professional.
This brand knows its industry in and out, cites authoritative sources and deals in facts and figures. They often share thought leadership posts, white paper content, case studies and original research to stand out in the competitive B2B tech industry. You’ll find a similar brand tone & style from management consulting firm McKinsey, fellow AI-powered healthcare companyMedicus AI and software company enliteAI.
Relaxed, warm, mature
Here's another Say it right client, TRIGO, which uses a relaxed, mature tone & style combination.
This style is great for brands that want to build awareness and simplify complex topics within their industry — while coming across as approachable authorities. Their tone & style balances being both friendly without being too relaxed and professional without being uptight. They’re likely to share engaging, informative blog posts, articles, infographics and other forms of content summarising original research with a focus on simplicity and accessibility.
Here's an example of aSay it right-authoredsuccess story, where we cover just how TRIGO built BFI Burgenland's custom software — and how it impacted the business.
Brand tone & style is one aspect of your brand’s overall personality — at Say it right, one of our core services includes helping our client partners find theirs.
We’ve mentioned how we've developed a customisable Tone & Style Guide for all our client partners before we get started with writing their content. So here's an example of a tech company that specifically used Say it right tone & style guidelines to develop their own — and put it into practice.
Say it right tone & style guidelines: Userbrain
Userbrain is an online tool which provides quick, affordable and simple user tests for product designers, marketers, founders and developers. Here are some pointers from the Say it right tone & style guidelines which we implemented in their website copy.
General tone and style of communication
Here’s how Userbrain defines the general brand tone of voice they found best represented them to their audience:
- formal <------------------------------------x-----------------------> informal
- professional <------------------------x----------------------------> relaxed
- serious <--------------------------x-------------------------------> humorous
- reserved <--------------------------------------x-----------------------> warm
- mature <------------------x------------------------------------------> youthful
And here’s how you can see their relaxed, warm, informal brand voice and tone in practice on their company blog:
Being able to describe your product in one sentence — or two or three— segments your communications across different audiences. With a little help from us at Say it right, here’s how Userbrain expresses its USP in a simple, snappy way the minute you turn up on their website:
And here’s a more detailed explanation of what their service is about and who can benefit best from it:
Sharing your brand’s origin story is a great way to connect with your audience. Userbrain sums this up neatly on their About page, which elaborates on what inspired them to take action and what problems they’re trying to solve for their audience.
Rather than describing what they do and why they do it over hundreds of pages, Userbrain expresses its brand story in a way that captures attention and interest in just a few seconds. With just a few scrolls, a site visitor immediately gets a feel of Userbrain’s brand voice and personality and the feeling they’re trying to give their audience.
All this — and more — comes from putting some thought into what style of language and communication suits your brand best and practising it consistently.
Create your own Brand Tone & Style guidelines — with Say it right
That’s it — our breakdown of brand tone & style, why it’s important and how to go about building one. As a CEO, marketer, content or copywriter, you may have found that keeping your brand tone & style in check isn't an easy feat — especially if you have more than one person writing.
That’s why we’ve put together a Brand Tone & Style GuideNotion template, together with a video to walk you through creating one step-by-step: