Previously, we discussed the process of giving your brand a unique voice, a key element of your brand’s identity.
Voice is how you project your brand’s personality to your target audience. By honing your brand’s voice to match the other elements of your business and conveying this voice consistently, you build trust with your audience.
But what if you’re not consistent?
What if your company experiences turnover and you lose the employees that conveyed your message and your voice?
Planning for Change
Currently, the country is facing unprecedented times, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reporting that roughly 33 million Americans have quit their jobs since the spring of 2021. This is a combination of older Americans choosing to retire early, secondary earners stepping away to stay home with children, or because, due to health conditions, people no longer feel safe working in a face-to-face environment.
Regardless of the reason, many businesses are facing challenges attracting and training new workers.
When on-boarding new employees, it is important to ensure your brand’s voice is apparent. The best way to teach your staff about brand voice is to include a written style guide within your training materials. By establishing guidelines for your brand’s voice and conveying those guidelines within your training materials, you will eliminate the likelihood your content will take on the voice of the writer.
But, What Is a Written Style Guide?
A style guide is a handbook containing the guidelines on how to represent your company in both graphics and language. The purpose of the style guide is to ensure your brand’s voice is presented in a clear and cohesive way when your company has multiple contributors.
So, what should be included in a style guide?
Start by clearly defining your organization’s mission statement and values. Next, identify the guidelines of your company’s brand voice. This includes items such as tone, style, and syntax. When relaying your voice, include guidelines on the level of formality, narrative style, sentiment, persuasiveness, clarity, and assertiveness.
Discuss what grammar standard employees should use and include references to any basic rules from your chosen manual, whether it’s the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, The Chicago Manual of Style, or another guide applicable to your specific field.
Be sure to incorporate references for punctuation, capitalization, citation format, and typography. You may even consider including compliance if your staff handles technical documents.
Although graphic guidelines are typically outlined in a separate document, it is a good idea to include a brief review of your brand’s design strategy within the style guide.
Related: Finding Your Brand's Voice - How to Create a Unique Content Style
Make sure the style guide is accessible to all the members of your staff.
Although your marketing department handles much of your content creation and messaging to your audience, other key staff members will interact with the public. It is important for all staff to follow your style guide so as not to erode trust.
By providing guidance for word choice and tone, you can maintain consistency in your message and voice across all communications, like blog articles, technical documents, memos, and even emails.
Set aside time, within your training and with your staff generally, to explain how to use the style guide.
Be sure to explain what makes the style guide important and where your staff can find the style guide. By helping your staff understand your company style guide, you can empower your team with the knowledge of how to write for the business.
By following these simple steps and creating a style guide, you can ensure your brand’s voice remains consistent through tough times, providing your audience with a brand they can trust.