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How You Say It Matters—Defining Your Brand Voice and Tone For Your B2B Website

WebEnertia

Define your Brand Voice, Web Design San Jose

The excitement around developing a new website is often very visually focused. From templates and photography to iconography and color palette, everyone wants to know what it’s going to look like. But just as important is what it’s going to read and sound like. How do you define your brand voice for B2B?

For B2B companies, your website is one of the deepest explorations of your brand voice. Establishing an ownable brand voice is another way to ensure that your site stands apart from your competition and connects more compellingly with your visitors. In addition to what you say, how you say it matters. That “how” is your brand voice. And while some companies have taken the time to craft a distinctive voice and define the tone that voice takes across different channels, many have a generic online voice that sometimes feels at odds with their look and feel.

Getting started on brand voice (and brand platform, if necessary) early can help make sure your site development project stays on schedule.

Brand Voice and Visual Style – The Web One-two Punch

Visual style and voice should work together on your website to create a differentiated brand for your company. Both should reflect your brand personality and in concert create a more complete expression of who you are. For example, you don’t want a cold, clean, clinical visual style for your site if your voice is warm and friendly. This kind of schizophrenia can do real damage to your brand by giving your visitors the distinct impression that you don’t know who you are or are trying to be something you are not. Voice and visual style are two sides of the same coin.

Brand Voice and Visual Style, Web Strategy San Jose

Your Brand Platform – The What, Why, and How

So, how do we get there? We start by building your brand platform. Having a clear brand platform is essential to developing a differentiated voice for your website. We kick things off with either an in-person session with the full team using interactive exercises or individual interviews to gather existing and aspirational perspectives. Then, our workshop-based approach at WebEnertia brings together all the key brand decision-makers in your organization to give initial input and hash out the resulting components.

This is roll-up-your-sleeves, critical thinking work that we try to make fun, rewarding, and wholly reflective of your company. And most importantly we facilitate conversations that help create a brand platform that helps you clearly articulate your:

  • PURPOSE (THE WHY)
  • PROMISE (THE WHAT)
  • POSITIONING (THE HOW)

While, ultimately, these brand elements drive more of the content of the brand story, they are also critical to developing the brand attributes that are at the heart of your voice.

Brand Platform, Web Development San Jose

Your Brand Attributes – The Personality

Think of your brand attributes as your personality traits and the essential ingredients of your brand voice. They are how you show up in the world and should be uniquely you. When trying to define brand attributes, many companies get stuck in the should—what should we be like? How should a market leader sound? But what makes companies different is the same as what makes people different—the unexpected combinations and seemingly conflicting characteristics that are uniquely you. This is how we get the kind of dynamic tension that can make your voice powerfully unique. Our approach to developing a company’s core brand attributes and their descriptions is designed to uncover this kind of depth. And the result serves as the starting point for your voice.

Brand Attributes, Web Marketing San Jose

Your Brand Voice – Bringing the Attributes to Life

One of the most rewarding parts of the brand platform effort is when we transform your brand attributes into a fully functioning voice. While developing your attributes, we start to shape the flavor of your voice in the extended description of each attribute. At the same time, we outline writing style choices that relate to each attribute (e.g., language choices, pacing, grammar directives, etc.). These elements provide a broad brush direction for your voice.

Where the rubber truly meets the road is when we start actually writing copy for your site. This is where we apply that stylistic advice, find the right balance between the attributes, and give your story its own unique treatment. We recommend starting with a high-level page like your home page or about us (or both) to really give your voice room to stretch and take shape. Again, this is an iterative process where good feedback and understanding of what you’re uncomfortable with will impact how distinctive a voice we can develop. Ultimately, your voice belongs to your organization, so you have to own it throughout the development process.

Think of your voice as something that should sound uniquely like your company while still having elasticity, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a strong brand voice that will help you stand out in the digital world.

Your Brand Voice is Alive!

One of the things that’s always important to keep in mind is that just like your brand, your voice is a living and breathing thing. It will need to grow as your company grows and your offerings expand. It needs to align with the times as our world changes. And it needs to flex for different mediums (this is tone). Think of your voice as something that should sound uniquely like your company while still having elasticity, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a strong brand voice that will help you stand out in the digital world.

Ready to Find Your Voice?

If you are considering a refreshed website and want to make sure your brand voice helps you maximize impact, WebEnertia can help. Getting started on brand voice (and brand platform, if necessary) early can help make sure your site development project stays on schedule. Do the foundational work first and you’ll be rewarded with a stronger website in the end.

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