As a B2B organisation you may think that it is not really suitable to inject too much personality into your brand. You want to be perceived as a professional, reliable business, after all. But choosing to remain aloof and distant in your marketing materials will not help to engage your audience, or allow them to build a relationship with your brand.
In our experience, creating a personality and a recognisable tone of voice for your B2B brand is a must. After all, it’s individuals like you and I who buy your products and services, and we like to be engaged on a personal level.
There is no simple formula to creating the ‘right’ tone – it’s up to you what it should be. The most important thing is to make sure that you are consistent in how you apply that tone, once you have decided upon it. That means within all communications, across all channels, in all pieces of content.
Here are some things we recommend you do as part of the process.
Revisit your brand values
Go back to basics and remind yourself what your company stands for. How do you want to position yourselves against the competition? How do you want to be perceived by the outside world? Your answers will help you to determine the characteristics you want your brand to demonstrate in your written marketing materials.
Review the market and the competition
What works well for other companies? What do you admire about them? It’s not about replicating or copying anyone else – it’s about being aware of the market as a whole and learning. This exercise might help you to decide what you DON’T want your tone to be, as much as what you do want it to convey.
Consider your audience
Put yourselves in the shoes of your target audience and consider what makes them tick. Think about audience personas (more on that in our blog post here) and imagine you are addressing an individual in your communications. What tone of voice would you use in a face-to-face conversation with that person? Keep that tone in mind when you are writing your external materials.
Create a style guide
Once you’ve determined the right tone of voice for your brand, you need to make sure the whole company knows about it. After all, it’s likely there is more than one person creating external content in your business. Be clear about what is acceptable and unacceptable writing and create a definitive guide that the whole team can refer to. Make sure you include specifics about acronyms, product names and terminology that come up again and again in your business. That way everyone will follow the same standards for consistency and clarity.
General writing tips
To make sure your writing is engaging and easy to digest, here are a few general recommendations.
- Avoid the passive voice in your sentences. An active voice builds a stronger connection between your content and the reader.
- Keep sentences short. I don’t think there is a golden rule or magic number, but if a sentence feels too long and unwieldy when you read it back, it probably is.
- Use sub headings to break up your text. They act as signposts for the reader and make your content seem much less daunting to read.
If you would like any help finding the tone of voice for your business, we’d be happy to help. Get in touch to discuss it further.