Words make you think. Tone makes you feel.
Sometimes it’s not just about what you say, but how you say it. As shared recently in “Finding the Voice of Your Organization’s Brand,” an organizational voice that is authentic, credible and reflective of your brand is crucial to shaping perceptions, driving brand behavior and enhancing employee engagement.
Authentic brands are built from the inside out. It takes effective employee communication, with the right tone, to turn brand promises into great customer experiences. So, talk to your employees like you want them to talk to your customers.
To do this effectively, you must first find the Voice of the Brand. But how do you begin on this journey?
First, look at your organization’s aspirations and inspirations. Aspirations include your organization’s logo, tagline, marketing and advertising, annual report, and mission and vision statements. Inspirations include industry and organizational pride, business drivers and anything about which people in your organization are passionate. Inspirations can be discovered through focus groups, 1:1 interviews, observing employees in the work environment, and reviewing employee feedback.
Once you begin to understand the aspirations and inspirations of your organization, you can begin to develop the Voice of the Brand. Here are some small steps to begin bringing the Voice of the Brand to life:
- Style Guide: Create a brand vocabulary in a style guide and ensure it is used in all broad-based organizational communication. For most modern organizations, you’ll want a style guide that supports a warm, conversational, and authentic partnership tone. For a partnership tone, your writing style should be in first person and include short and simple words, contractions and positive expressions.
- Glossary: Create a glossary of industry and organizational terms and include the brand vocabulary. Share the glossary with the entire organization.
- Graphic Design: Ensure the look and feel of all internal communication reflects your organization’s brand. Published branding guidelines can help drive consistency.
- Guiding Principles: Devise guiding principles that codify the brand philosophy as it pertains to internal communication.
- Leverage Media: Think about how to articulate the Voice of the Brand in each communication channel. Look for ways to focus on the things employees are proud of and passionate about. Look for ways to model and celebrate brand behavior.
- Feedback: Positive and negative reactions from employees will let you know when you are on the right track as you begin to implement the Voice of the Brand. Look for messages that resonate with your organization’s employees.
Advertising slogans are promises made – brands are promises kept. Those promises can’t be kept without effective employee communication delivered in the right tone. Tone is crucial to branding because great brands aren’t about what we think – great brands are about how we feel about them.
Other Resources on This Topic
Learn more about finding and creating your organization’s Voice of the Brand in my book, “Maximizing Internal Communication: Strategies to Turn Heads, Win Hearts, Engage Employees and Get Results.”
Paul recently spoke on this topic at the ALI Strategic Branding Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. Here are the slides used in that presentation.
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