How to Forge a Unified Brand Voice

Think about the brands you love. You trust them because you like their product, and you probably know how they’ll communicate with you. Now, think about the brands you avoid — how many do you dislike simply because their voice or messaging annoys you?

For most people, a company’s message plays a huge part in whether they buy its products or use its services. But maintaining consistency is easier said than done, especially at large organizations. Enterprises often have numerous people creating content that bears the brand’s name — which is great for production, but when content passes through so many hands, it shifts with every iteration.

CEOs and executives at enterprise companies need to prioritize brand consistency to take on their competition and draw in loyal customers.

Consistency Begets Trust

Telling the same story over and over helps your audience remember you. And with 67% of customers saying they will continue to buy products only if they trust the company behind them, establishing that rapport is imperative.

Strong brands outperform weak brands year after year. Dollar Shave Club, which continues to dominate its market, has its brand voice on lock. It’s blunt and witty, and its loyal subscribers love that. More important, it’s easy to identify. The same is true for Nike — you know its “Just Do It” slogan and inspiring messaging before you see the signature Swoosh.

Creating a Unified Voice

The good news is that avoiding fragmented enterprise messaging isn’t impossible. These four strategies can help your enterprise create a strong, transparent brand that customers trust.

1. Know your story and stick to it.

Just like in love and friendship, your organization must be compelling to win people over. Your story is your view of the world, and people stick around when they believe in what you’re saying. You have to inspire people and get them to share your story with their networks. This is how the human brain operates; we want to connect with those who have the same “why” as us.

2. Create a brand style guide.

content style guide is an essential part of any brand identity strategy. Your style guide should include details about how your voice sounds, use of terminology and jargon, punctuation and spelling preferences, and any other particularities. The guide will help keep everyone on the same page about your brand story and voice, from members of the C-suite to internal writers to agency partners. And once it exists, make it easy to access — it should be everywhere your writers work.

3. Make the most of content AI.

Content governance is one of the hardest tasks in an enterprise. Advances in content intelligence technology can help flag and replace old messaging. Some platforms can also use your particular style guide to score content against your content guidelines and suggest fixes. They can also flag biases in copy and help remove them, ensuring no customer feels excluded when consuming your brand’s content.

4. Create brand allies.

Task your team leads to identify your brand voice and messaging champions. They could be anyone — engineers, project managers, copywriters, salespeople. They’re the people who say, “No, that’s not on brand. We can do better.” They keep voice, terminology, or stories top of mind to ensure things aren’t shifting unintentionally.

Building long-lasting relationships with your customers is like building relationships with friends: People are more likely to hang around someone they trust. Inconsistency makes relationships shaky, while a consistent, memorable, relatable message helps establish that bond. It can be the difference between success and failure.

May Habib
May Habib is co-founder and CEO of Qordoba, a content intelligence platform that helps everyone at a company write with the same style, terminology, and brand voice. She is an expert in the fields of natural language processing, machine learning, and next-gen content management technology. May graduated from Harvard, is a member of the World Economic Forum, and is a Fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.