• John Robb

Who’s Your Brand’s Spirit Celebrity? (Or, How To Quickly Find The Tone Of Voice For Your Brand.)

Take a second and think about all of the people you love to spend time with that have no personality…

How about all the people who remind you of watching paint dry that you’d love to receive emails from once a week... twice a week… every day?

Unless you’re an anthropologist studying the effects of boredom on a human’s will to live, I’m going to guess it’s a pretty short list… of zero people.

Well, ecommerce brands are no different.

Your brand’s tone of voice is essentially your brand’s personality.

And that ‘personality’ can be the difference between people looking forward to reading your emails, becoming loyal fans and repeat customers... and those emails dying the death of a thousand unopens.

So, how to create a tone of voice that helps you stand out from your competition?

The problem I found with a lot of “how to create a tone of voice” guides on the internet is that they simply ask you to write down a list of words that describe your brand.

Now, I love words. They put clothes on my back and food in my cat’s mouth. But don’t get me started on lists of words that describe a tone of voice…

I freakin hate them.

Because… let’s say you write down a list of adjectives that describe your brand.

“My brand is quirky, authentic and passionate.”

Awesome. But what does that actually mean?

Pee Wee Herman is quirky, authentic and passionate…

Gordan Ramsey is quirky, authentic and passionate…

And Hannibal Lector… yep, he’s quirky, authentic and passionate (about washing down a mouthful of human brain with a nice chianti).

See the problem?

The same three adjectives just described a besuited man-child, an expletive filled chef, and a sociopathic cannibal…

In other words, three completely different personalities.

So here’s what I like to do instead…

Write down your list of adjectives AND THEN use those adjectives to come up with your brand’s “spirit celebrity.”

A spirit what?

Say your brand creates software that helps project managers instantly get a snapshot of all the moving parts of their projects.

And the adjectives that spring to mind when you think of your brand are dependable, calm and extremely knowledgeable.

Now take it a step further and ask yourself, “If my brand was a celebrity who would it be?”

Well John, I’m thinking... Chuck Norris.

F%&k yeah you are!

See how much more personality that immediately gives your brand?

Dependable, calm, extremely knowledgeable, takes no prisoners, doesn’t mince his words, will kick any project management woes straight in the nuts...

As a brand you could be dropped in a metaphorical jungle with only a stick of gum and a great beard and still teach your customers how to deal with this week’s project management emergency!

What was three words has now become a three dimensional personality.

And once you’ve settled on your spirit celebrity they can become your guiding star for everything you write to your email list.

“How would [spirit celebrity] talk about this problem?”

“Does the description of this solution sound like [spirit celebrity]?”

Is what I’ve just written consistent with [spirit celebrity]?”

And, if you ever decide to hire a copywriter to write your emails (I know one that might be available) rather than give them a list of words, you can give them your spirit celebrity and immediately communicate your tone of voice to them in three dimensions.

So, here’s a round-up of a better way to discover your brand’s unique tone of voice:

+ Write down 3-5 adjectives that describe your brand.

+ Choose your brand’s “spirit celebrity” - a famous person or character that pops into your head when you think of those adjectives and your brand.

+ [BONUS STEP] Look at your competitors… do any of them remind you of your spirit celebrity? If they do, and you want to stand out (hint: you should want to stand out) go back to the drawing board and think some more.

+ Place a picture of your brand’s spirit celebrity near your writing machine of choice (I like a macbook, but maybe you prefer writing with crayolas on slices of wonder bread… I’m not here to judge ).

+ Before and after you write your next email to your list ask yourself, “How would [spirit celebrity] talk about this?

+ Enjoy having a consistent tone of voice people love.

For more tips like this, or if you’d like help finding your brand’s spirit celebrity so you can separate your brand from the competition, head over to johnrobbcopywriter.com