The speed and convenience of experience in the B2C industry are increasing the expectations in the B2B space. Customers today want better, faster experiences, and B2B brands produce significant benefits when they put time and effort into the kinds of customer experience strategies that B2C brands are executing every day.

For so long, B2B brands have seemed like the serious older brothers of consumer brands. Those “serious” B2B brands must differentiate themselves from competitors. One powerful tool for doing that is developing a distinct brand voice that does double duty – a brand’s voice must make the brand stand out, and also forge an emotional connection with its audience. And it’s in this “emotional connection” department, whether via direct communication with customers through email or social media communication, where B2B brands can take a lesson from their fast-and-loose B2C brothers. That’s not to say that B2B brands should imitate B2C voices, but there are indeed lessons to consider.

Whether it is with unique simplicity, phonetic vocabulary, or inspirational language, each has mastered the ability to connect with their audiences in a parallel voice that stimulates trust and brand loyalty. Their values dictate every word choice, every message, and retains the recognizable personality that’s present in every packaging label, website page, and social media post. This provides B2Cs with the freedom to be broader and more daring, but this isn’t a technique B2Bs should entirely avoid.

The tone of voice is not what you say, but how you say it. And that matters more in B2B communications than we perhaps realize. Your business is selling a product or a service to another business. But ultimately, it’s not the business deciding to buy; it’s a person. Focused content helps you to stand out from the sameness of traditional B2B marketing, where lists of products, services, and numbers are the usual fare.

The tone of voice shouldn’t be neglected. Much like a logo is poured over, amended, tweaked and polished to perfection, your brand voice should be treated with the same diligence. It is a crucial component in your inbound strategy and content creation. Below you can find five tips for creating a winning B2B brand voice.

 

  1. Define your personality

The fundamental step is to figure out what you stand for, what you value and what you’re like to work with. Not what’s popular in your industry, not which buzzwords you see cropping up most often, this is about who you are.

Your brand’s voice is already there—it exists in your company, the reason it was founded, and how you manage yourselves in your daily work. Don’t worry about creating it as you only need to uncover it. This is why it’s so important to start uncovering your brand’s voice and defining it with a set of rules that each person who works for your company can follow.

The voice you use to speak to your customers, through B2B blog content or otherwise, is an expression of who you are as a company. If there’s a disconnection between how you present yourself to your clients and the experience of working with you, you’re setting yourself up for problems. Ultimately, you’ll attract the wrong clients for your brand completely, while your ideal audience heads off elsewhere. Your brand voice should be the core of how you talk to customers – and the reason why the customers who want that in their provider will come to you. Focus on the things that underpin the way you think and work: be proud of being experimental and innovative and doing things differently. If that’s who you are, then own it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Be authentic

 

 

 

Merely telling people why they should buy from you isn’t enough.  Don’t tell your audience why they should do business with you, show it. Remember, your audience should be able to recognize your communications in the absence of any branding or logo. It should be evident who is speaking.

Delivering good content is about evoking a reaction, behavior or emotion. Well-written authentic content rather than corporate jargon will add character and personality to your brand. Slang is a barrier to communicating effectively, simplify with a conversational tone (if appropriate).

The primary and most obvious lesson is to speak to people in layman’s terms. There is an antiquated notion out there that even contractions and personal pronouns are unprofessional and undercut the integrity of B2B communications. But just as “professional” doesn’t have to mean “corporate robot,” “casual” doesn’t have to mean “4 a.m. text message.” Maintaining authority and professionalism doesn`t mean restraining the use of informal language, but don’t overdo it. You may not have the scope of B2C companies, but you can use it in the right capacity to break down barriers and put your audience at ease.

Injecting humor into communications is the second lesson B2B brands can learn from the B2C space. Being witty is OK. It’s OK to acknowledge an apparent irony, especially if you know that your audience is already making the joke. Everyone appreciates humor – especially “insider” humor. It demonstrates a certain self-awareness that relates a business directly with its audience, and it brings them closer emotionally because they feel like they are in the joke. However, consider that humor is admittedly risky and not universal, especially across languages and cultures. So, while a light, witty touch is a quick way to warm up a communication, going for full-blown laughs might have an alienating effect. While B2C brands can lean hard to crack smiles, B2B brands with a broader audience should stick to smart wordplay.

 

  1. Editing

Keep your revised brand voice in mind, and go through your existing content to look for pieces that no longer serve your business. What do you need to change according to your new brand tone?

Start with editing. Go through all the pages on your website, and get rid of words and phrases that are too intangible to mean anything. If you’ve got a complicated business with lots of pages, try to edit at least three pages here. Notice which phrases you find yourself replacing often and what you replace them with. Cut down what you are saying to the absolute essentials and nothing more. This is particularly important on static pages. Wordiness is just laziness in print. You cannot afford to slack off when it comes to getting your brand voice to shine through your writing.

Take note of the long words you tended to default to before, and what you replace these words with. See how much stronger the writing and brand voice come across with the shorter words in place which help with understanding. While this may not have the most noticeable impact on your brand voice, you will see how your brand’s personality start to poke through when jargon isn’t there to cover it up.

Another trick to use is varying sentence lengths. It will inject flow and rhythm into your content and make it more enjoyable to read. It will not make you appear any less authoritative; it’ll build and sculpt your tone, making you more approachable and recognizable as a business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your business isn’t overly serious, using an “improper” colloquialism here and there can go a long way. Don’t be afraid of colloquialisms; they aren’t what people expect to read on B2B websites. However, since they are a part of natural and comfortable speech, they break typical B2B patterns and help readers to feel like they can relate to you and your company. Be attentive while using colloquialisms if you are an international brand.

Write down the colloquialisms that you see as a fit for your brand, make notes about why they fit, along with why you decided to publish them. Further, even if you don’t use colloquialisms at all or that much, knowing which ones fit into your brand’s personality can help new writers for your company understand and connect to the “feeling” that you’re going for while writing. Also be sure to give your new brand guide to your content creators so that they can incorporate your changes into future content.

 

  1. Consider the audience

There will be changes in your overarching tone, dependent on mood, medium, and audience. However, you should consider your customer’s journey. A potential lead in the consideration stage will expect a very different communication to a repeat customer in the delight stage. The right amount of variety will complement your authenticity. It is common sense, but an established and well-practiced tone of brand voice will tie everything together effortlessly.

A top hack to creating an engaging brand voice is to listen to how your customers speak. Read comments, visit forums, monitor your social feeds. Attentively listen to how they talk during meetings and conferences. Take your discoveries further and implement them into your tone. This way, you can be sure you’re on the same wavelength when communicating, and you’ll know which linguistic features make them tick. Identify your buyer personas and create a tone of voice that resonates and appeals. The best business brands represent everything the company stands for, underpinning what their customers are looking for.

 

  1. Be consistent

One of the most critical features of your tone of voice is consistency. Steering away from your guidelines can cause disharmony and confusion, making your readers feel uncomfortable and disconnected from your company. Consistency creates certainty and helps your buyers build trust in your brand. Your tone should be demonstrable of your reliability and flexibility. Continuity will come naturally if you’ve chosen attributes that are truly reflective of your brand. Don’t overthink it, and don’t mimic others. The moment you stop sounding like you, your potential and existing customers will doubt your ability to be a consistent supplier.

Finding your brand voice is not something that you do once and then forget about. As new competitors and products appear in the market, it is crucial to stay aware of how your voice sounds to your customers. For example, many B2B companies produce new voices for new products, but they don’t renew their overall corporate voice to match their future aims. Gradually inconsistencies in your brand voice will add up to a host of mixed messages, as your clients will be unsure about your products. Such a lack of a consistent voice eventually leaves customers confused about how you can help them. You need to evolve your brand voice over time to keep pace with customers, industry and product changes.

Conclusion

B2B voices can be so dull and dry that your audience can become desperate for something that’s even slightly juicy. Just because it is B2B doesn’t mean it has to be boring. B2B buyers are still people, and they want to be informed, engaged and entertained.

You will find that just starting to work on uncovering your B2B brand’s voice will create an avalanche effect of inspiration. You will quickly get going and start figuring out how to put your company’s personality into words.

In conclusion, the lessons B2B companies can learn from B2C’s focus on customer experience are a bit mixed with the most significant takeaway being this: Try something! Just don’t try to be someone you’re not. Don’t expect to find your brand voice in a day and be publishing viral blog posts by tomorrow. It is a long game, but one that is worth it.

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