Watch your tone!

There are a lot of things that make your financial institution and brand unique - your logo, your community relationships, your areas of expertise. These things, and others, contribute to the way you present yourself to current and potential members. One of the most public means of identifying your brand is the tone and manner in which you communicate. Whether this is internal or external, every piece of communication you create should always sound uniquely you. To make sure you’re keeping a consistent brand voice, it may be time to consider setting guidelines to set standards across all of your platforms and touch points.

When details are what it comes down to, your ability to speak well to your audience could hinge on things such as how you format your hashtags, or what you call each branch. These are the image issues that should not be left to chance.

There are two main benefits of setting tone of voice guidelines. First,it should make communication about your brand easier, and second, the tone should empower your entire team to feel confident ownership of the brand’s voice. Providing a set of standards will ensure new employees get up to speed quickly, while tenured  employees are given a reference point. Messaging should not be the responsibility of just one person.

Step 1

Get started by making a list of all of your communication methods - from the most minor, such as a website error message, to the most extensive, such as a call center script.

Step 2

Next, consider your tone and realize that it may not be the same across all of these platforms. An inspiring tone might be appropriate in some contexts, but maybe not all. Some of these ‘tonal values’ will come front and center, while others will be more supportive.

Step 3

Suggestions and recommendations can do wonders to save your team’s time. Writing best-practice examples, and even worst-practice (!!!) examples are worth their weight in gold to demonstrate how to put the guidelines into use. Here is where you can highlight the good and the bad. Add an explanation about why it works for your brand and strategy.

Step 4

Moving forward with tone of voice guidelines does require keeping them fresh and useful (including new channels and up to date examples, making sure they are part of new employee on-boarding, ensuring mass distribution (maybe even a workshop to discuss with the team), and it would be a perfect reason to create a brand champion or ambassador who can help shape the overall tone of voice and messaging.

While there are a lot of aspects of your brand and your business that may speak for themselves, there is always room to improve your first impression. Standardizing your tone of voice, values, and style is just another way to make sure your entire team is putting the best - and same - foot forward each time.

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