Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Consistency in your voice

Consistency is one of the unchanging laws of marketing and branding.

Inconsistency will erode awareness, loyalty, integrity and trust. When most people mention consistency, they mean visual consistency and there's no doubt that is critical. Making sure your materials have a recognizable look and feel to them is critical to your brand's success.

Today, however, let's focus on a different kind of consistency - you actual voice.

You've heard the old axiom “how you say something is more important than what you say.” That doesn't just mean the words you use. It's also about the attitude, tone and style. Have a clear idea of what your company's voice is. Regardless of how many different writers are involved, your materials should always be in the same voice. How do you "sound" in your communications pieces?

~ Are you formal?

~ Conversational?

~ Do you use short, choppy sentences or long, descriptive paragraphs? In other words, cadence.

~ Do you strictly adhere to grammar and style rules or do you take some liberties? What about slang or industry jargon?

What does each of those choices say about you?

Don't assume the right answer is based on industry stereotypes. Imagine the tone and style differences between a corporate law firm and a law firm that specializes in family law.

Your voice goes beyond the written words. What is the attitude of your radio promotion? How about your signage? Is your voice consistent in how you answer your phone? The signature line on your e-mail? What about your press releases and sales promotions materials? Your on hold message? Is it positive, distracted or just blah?

Think of all the ways you communicate to your customers, potential customers, employees, and vendors. How consistent and strong is your voice? Trust me, it matters.

-Thanks Altus Agency for the insights and thoughts presented here!

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