29 questions that will lead you to your voice and tone

Incorporate these questions in your branding process or conduct a group interview with key personnel before writing the microcopy (UX writing).

These questions will help you find your brand’s or product’s voice and tone and sharpen your messages and CTAs.

Still not sure what you need a voice and tone for? Read this before you go on.

*** This list is from Microcopy: The Complete Guide

Part 1. The Brand, Product or Service

The vision

  • What change does the brand aspire to promote in the world? How will the world be a better place if it succeeds?

The answer lies in the future, and doesn’t necessarily need to be attainable, but rather serve as a beacon to point the way and highlight the ideal outcome.

The mission

  • What are you doing to fulfill this vision? How are you promoting the change?

The answer relates to the present, and should concisely describe the principles that guide your actions and the main areas of action.

Values

  • What values are important for the brand to maintain and act accordingly?
  • What values are important for the brand to promote in the world?
  • From these values, which are the five most important for you and the brand?
  • Describe each value in a few words. What does it mean to you and what does it mean to the brand?

The personality of the brand

  • If the brand was a person, and they walked into the room, what are the three things we’d think about them at first sight?
  • If they sat down to coffee with us and we got to know them better, what else would we discover about them?
  • If the brand was a person: How old are they, how do they dress, what is their marital status? When they open the newspaper, what section do they read first — Sports, Arts, News? Which type of smartphone do they use — Galaxy or iPhone? What are their hobbies and areas of interest?
  • Do they have a sense of humor, and if so, when do they use it?
  • What are they absolutely not?
  • Which famous personality does your brand remind you of?

Part 2. The Target Audience

Needs and problems

  • What practical problems are solved by your product/service?
  • What emotional worry or stress will your product/service directly ease or solve for them?
  • What other related, but more general worry or stress does your target audience have?

Hopes and dreams

  • What do your users want to happen because they used your product/service?
  • What excites them about the idea of the product/service? What hope does it give them?
  • What are the important values in their lives that will be furthered because they used your product/service?
  • What promise does the brand offer? What does it promise to deliver over time?

Objections and concerns

  • What could be the reasons that someone who needs your product or service, and who knows your website or app, won’t end up using it? What could prevent them from trying it out?
  • What are the main concerns users might have throughout the process (before starting, during and after)?
  • What could confuse or not be fully clear to users?

Preferences

  • Who are the main competitors of the brand?
  • Does the brand have competative advantages with genuine value for users?
  • Your users could have received a similar product or service elsewhere — why should they come to you?

The relationship between the brand and its users

  • What is the relationship you want to create between your users and the brand?
  • What do you want your users to feel when they are on the website or app, or in the brand’s presence?
  • What do your users like to think and feel about themselves? Which self-perceptions do you want to encourage?
  • When asked about your brand, what do you want your users to say about it?

*** Read all about designing a brand’s voice and tone in chapter 1 of Microcopy: The Complete Guide ***

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