Brand voice both embodies and expresses your brand personality and core values through the words you use in communicating with your audience.
What is a brand tone of voice?
Brand tone of voice is a consistent way of conveying your brand’s message to your audience.
It’s a part of a brand expression that together with more tangible visuals define your brand identity.
Many brands call tone of voice as communication best practices.
The way a brand looks is just as important as the way it sounds.
Words are an important part of your brand identity and when used effectively, they can shape the way your brand is perceived.
So besides defining how your brand looks (visuals), it’s also important to define how it speaks.
That’s why your brand needs a definitive style of writing and speaking, often referred to as tone of voice.
First, let’s look at some tone of voice examples on famous brands.
And next, I will show you how to develop your brand voice.
Starbucks has a clear and concise brand guidelines available online, with a section dedicated to its tone of voice.
The Starbucks voice is functional and expressive.
Starbucks’ brand voice guidelines consists of many examples on how to design different applications.
The functional tone is used primarily for way-finding and ordering with a goal to keep the copy clear for maximum legibility.
While the expressive tone is where the Starbucks brand personality really comes to life.
The expressive voice is used to tell a passionate coffee story, wherever it’s possible.
Using both functional and expressive tones allows the brand to create more space for relevance, connection and joy.
Sometimes the copy will make you smile, other times it will clearly navigate you in purchasing experience.
Uber’s tone of voice provides a set of core elements to define quality writing across all touchpoints.
The Uber brand voice is considerate, simple, bold and consistent.
Uber brand voice guidelines show you a bunch of examples on how to write copy (before and after).
Uber’s voice expresses the brand’s essence signaling what the brand is, what it stands for.
Considerate means that writing should be audience-first.
Simple & Direct refers to writing in a straight-forward and easy to understand way.
And consistent obviously tries to unite the experience across all departments, countries and languages.
So that they can all together create the feeling: “that sounds like Uber.”
Uber voice style guide is much more comprehensive than Starbucks’ is.
You’ll also find supporting tone of voice, together with additional tools and even editing tips.
MailChimp speaks to its customers in a tone that is usually informal, but not inappropriate and never snobbish.
The Mailchimp brand voice is clear, genuine and with a bit of dry humor.
MailChimp's brand voice guidelines brilliantly explain how to use offbeat humor and a conversational voice to write empowering content.
Clear means that MailChimp strips away all that jargon, hyperbolic language and value clarity above all.
Genuine voice helps to relate to small businesses and their challenges speak to them in a familiar, warm, and accessible way.
Mailchimp’s tone is usually informal, with a bit of dry humor that might be a bit weird, but not inappropriate and never snobbish.
The Mailchimp content style guide also advises that if you want to make a joke — forced humor can be worse than none at all, so if you’re unsure, it’s better to keep a straight face.
In the guide, you’ll also find helpful tips and key elements for writing using the brand voice.
Harley-Davidson is a perfect example of how a more aggressive tone can be used for the right brand.
The Harley-Davidson voice is strong, confident and aggressive.
Some brands try to speak in a pleasant and cheerful way or with a playful and fun voice, but Harley is definitely not one of them.
Harley-Davidson tone of voice challenges the reader to show that they are worthy of handling one of their motorcycles.
The brand clearly fits the Outlaw archetype, therefore their personality is rough and rugged, so it’s their voice.
They show their personality through a unique and consistent tone of voice that speaks well to their target audiences.
This type of voice resonates well with rebellious, bold, and fiercely independent customers (or wanna-be).
Everything about their marketing evokes confidence, freedom, patriotism, and masculinity — just look at their website and the headlines they use.
Clap if you liked it 👏