Your voice is a reflection of your unique personality. It tells people what kind of person you are in the same way as your fashion choices, facial expressions and body language. Brands work in a similar way. Voice and language, like stunning design, play a crucial role in building brand personality.
For small businesses, voice is usually inherent or pretty easy to determine. With only 30 people in a company (of which only 1 or 2 may be writers), it’s easy to write communications in the same voice. Everybody knows everybody, they all understand one another and maintaining a uniform voice for the brand becomes second nature.
As a company – and its writer base – grow, it becomes harder and harder to keep the voice consistent. The team has to take time to deliberately define the voice, ensuring everyone knows what they’re aiming for with the materials they produce.
Skipping this process can cause you to lose touch with your users. A definitive voice is not something to be overlooked. It is an integral part of the brand’s personality; it helps to create a sense of character and make your brand one that people feel connected to and want to engage with.
At Wix, we experienced BIG growth in a small period of time. We discovered we really needed to put our inherent, natural understanding of voice into a written guide when we started the “It’s That Easy” campaign for our first Super Bowl ad back in 2015.
With the ambition to create as many materials as we could for marketing, UX and more, we needed every writer to be aligned and moving in the same voice direction.
We started off by setting 8 principles to write by:
1. Be honest
2. Keep it simple
3. Show how it works
4. Explain why it’s good
5. Say it, write it
6. So what?
7. Be human
8. Spice it up
It worked well for us… until we started to grow even more.
We realized that we had to dig deeper into what the voice of our brand was – how it would sound if it were the voice of a person. So we brought all of the writers at Wix together in joint sessions to decide on what our brand’s voice should be. We shouted out ideas. We researched other brands. We argued. A lot.
And the end result was something the entire host of writers felt strongly about: 7 phrases that define the voice of Wix. The sense of community created in these sessions was invaluable, and because we did it together, each member of this Guild feels ownership over the Wix voice.
This was only the beginning. Over a 6-week period, we put together a 120-page book that outlined the philosophy, methodology, goals and glossary (in every language) of our Writing Guild. We broke down the tone, state of mind, structure and writing tips for each and every content type we have at Wix – we were surprised at how many there are!
A brand’s voice should be clear in every piece of communication they create. When people can clearly identify a brand’s voice and the personality that shines through that, they begin to trust in the business. And they’re more likely to choose more interactions with that brand, through sales, using the product, and even interacting on social media.
Building our voice and tone book not only helped us move forward to achieve consistency, it gave us a sense of pride. We suddenly felt like a grown-up brand.
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