Your firm needs a voice and tone guide, a collection of technique, positioning, and words and phrases that anyone in your company can use to create work that is on-brand.
This is you: > Voice and Tone Guide!!? I’m not going to sing anything!
This is me: > Not with that attitude you're not.
But the fact is, your company's brand is stronger when everyone has agreement on how they speak and react to the outside world, and to each other. That's what the voice and tone guide is for. Trust me. This isn’t one of those wonky “marketing is everyone’s responsibility” tools. This is ground zero of controlling your brand and ensuring that your staff knows how to represent your company's brand.
This is you: > No. You should just write my letters for me.
This is me: > I can’t. I’m too drunk.
Why am I so drunk? Because I read your letter to the pheasant hunters who want to use your company’s property on the weekends. It drove me to drink. You can’t call people with guns names like that. And as a rule, you should avoid describing the company’s property as a “valued real estate asset” to anyone.
See, if you’d had a Voice and Tone Guide, you would have known what words, phrasings, and positioning to use when you wrote your letter. You would have known to position the response to the hunters around the safety and support of our clients. You would have known to offer the hunters alternative solutions because we’re well known as collaborators and supporters of the hunting arts. You could have used one or two of our stock letter templates to get you started, and most of the work would have been done for you. You would have known to use “hunter-first” language.
You would have known. You could have known. But you didn’t. And now there is a group of angry pheasant hunters running around town telling people that your company “kicked them off the land” because you told them “they are not safe people” and that they would damage the "real estate."
I’m not the only one who thinks you should have a voice and tone guide. Here is a list of five links that are almost literally the first five links that Google give you:
- Mailchimp’s vaunted Voice and Tone Guide
- Buffer pays homage to Mailchimp’s Voice and Tone Guide
- A simple tool to guide tone of voice
- Rocket Media complains about the popularity of Mailchimp’s guide, kind of.
- Harriet Cummings ‘Finding Your Brand’s Voice’ is the best of these articles.
Enjoy those links. I’m going to make some coffee and try to sober up. I have a make-good letter to the local Pheasant Hunters Society that I have to come up with now.
Hey: Just so you guys know, I'm not really drunk-- but I do really write voice and tone guides for companies. Hit up PrettyGoodContent.com for details.