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Tone of Voice Isn’t Optional

Three critical brand elements you can’t achieve with visuals alone.

In the digital age, it’s tempting to skimp on messaging in favor of bold, flashy visual design. But words and their meaning matter — perhaps now more than ever.

Beautiful brands, much like beautiful people, run the risk of appearing shallow and flat when they don’t have anything to say. Put a different way, think about how you react to verbal cues from a close personal friend versus a casual acquaintance. Both people are speaking the same language, but the way they’re speaking it makes all the difference in how you react.

If you’re wondering what your current message is doing to help (or hurt) your brand, start by asking yourself three vital questions:

Do audiences know you?

It’s critical to establish uniformity, especially in the early stages of brand building,. Not to be confused with regurgitating the same message over and over, consistency means setting a reliable tone with certain words, phrases, cadences and subtext that signal to readers or listeners that they’re interacting with you, and not a competitor.

Do audiences like you?

Let’s face it, the popularity contest didn’t magically end after high school. In business, just as in life, approachability matters. If people find your brand substantive, interesting — dare we say, even a little bit flirty –they are going to feel that much comfortable interacting with you on a repeat basis.

Do they trust you?

This is not rocket science: People will be more inclined to buy things from you if they believe you have their best interests at heart. The most successful brands achieve this by backing up statements with evidence. (Think: testimonials and stories that underscore value.)

The bottom line is brands shouldn’t choose between great-looking visuals and solid messaging. Great brands understand that having one without the other amounts to having no brand at all.

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