Why having a clear voice is crucial for tech companies
You’ve sprinted to build your MVP. You’ve assembled a capable team to support and scale it. Now you need compelling messaging to convince customers to care.
Time to call in the writerly talent.
Your content team is responsible for translating all those tech specs you worked hard to perfect into poetic language anyone can understand. Or in the case of lean organizations without dedicated writing teams, it’s everyone’s job to create content on behalf of the brand.
No matter who’s behind the keyboard, it’s a shared responsibility to create compelling communications that will resonate with your target audience.
And it’s not just what you say. It’s how you say it.
Starting with your organization’s voice.
While each member of your team has their own unique voice and writing style, every pitch deck, webpage, and piece of marketing collateral should feel like a clear reflection of your company’s personality. But shifting the mindset from communicating in individual voices to communicating with a singular brand voice takes practice—and creative buy-in.
Codifying your company’s voice in personality and writing guidelines is a great first step.
We’ve spent 10+ years helping enterprise SaaS and open source companies find their voice. Without fail, the strongest, most compelling communications come from organizations who invest in getting them right from the start. Putting equal stock in both what they say and how they’re saying it. Honing not only their messaging strategy, but also the style and nuance behind those messages.
It’s a step that may feel more like a luxury rather than a necessity for fast-moving, rapidly innovating technology companies. But we see otherwise. When newsfeeds and inboxes are flooded with dry tech specs and product feature lists, your voice sets you apart.
Here are a few reasons why having a clear brand voice is so important for tech companies.
Why the best messaging comes from teams who are bought-in and communicate with confidence.
And why you should never underestimate the role personality can play in conveying the value of your offerings.
The larger your team, the more easily your voice gets diluted
If you’re a leader in a large enterprise, chances are you employ more than one writer on your staff. Which means you’re likely managing many writers and freelancers—potentially dispersed around the world or distributed across teams—all creating content on behalf of the organization.
Each writer has their own unique perspective and style. They probably come from different schools of thought (AP vs. MLA, journalistic vs. poetic). They’ve likely been hired to focus on specific channels or products—which means they’ve got their own priorities that may be at odds with priorities at the brand level. And they definitely have opinions about Oxford commas—not to mention em-dashes.
See where this is going?
The more cooks you have in the kitchen, the higher the likelihood that your company’s voice could be diluted or miscommunicated.
Creating a resource for your team that summarizes your brand’s voice is hugely important for large enterprises. It creates a single, irrefutable source of truth your writers can continually reference—ensuring everyone is following the same rules when it comes to communicating your story.
Make sure your voice guidelines are easily accessible for your team. Include them in your brand book, on your intranet or wiki, or wherever you keep your brand and marketing materials. Be sure to revisit and (re)train on them frequently. And don’t forget to keep them updated as your organization grows or evolves.
An erratic voice confuses your customers
You’ve probably felt it before. The jarring, unpleasant experience of navigating a website that feels like it was written by multiple people. It cheapens the brand and makes the whole user experience feel disjointed. It comes across as unprofessional and unpolished. And it makes you lose trust in the proficiency of the organization—and the technology and people behind it.
That’s how your customers feel when you muddy your brand voice.
It’s crucial for enterprise tech companies to maintain a clear, consistent voice to create a seamless customer experience. Particularly for organizations with multiple divisions or product lines (which are likely owned by different teams and stewarded by different writers), each extension of your parent brand should still feel like part of the whole. Remember, it all bubbles up to the top.
This is where those clear and codified voice guidelines come in handy.
Even if the focus of your messaging strategy shifts between your B2B and B2C product lines, your community and enterprise offerings, or your end-user and executive audiences (and it should), your voice should still feel cohesive. You’re just simply playing with different shades in the same palette of your brand’s voice.
A unified voice rallies your organization
Consistency in your voice can help create cohesion across your entire organization. Giving every person in your company a single identity to internalize and get behind. And creating stability and clarity throughout each brand touchpoint.
We call this phenomenon speaking as a “chorus of voices.” And it starts with your content creators.
Much like a vocal chorus, it’s what happens when every brand communication feels harmonious. Where every content creator—professional writer or otherwise—adheres to your company’s voice guidelines while also feeling empowered to infuse them with their own perspective and subject matter expertise.
The process of creating your voice guidelines is also a great opportunity to rally your team. Bringing your writers together (even digitally will do!) for a voice workshop—where they can discuss, refine, and codify your personality and voice—gives them a chance to collaborate and nerd out about all-things-content. While finessing prose may be your developers’ worst nightmare, chances are your writers live for it.
Bringing your team together in a workshop setting can also help your writers feel included in the creation of a core component of your brand. A feat which can often feel inaccessible for more creative types, particularly in product- and engineering-driven tech companies.
By shaping a foundational aspect of your company’s identity, your writers will in turn feel a sense of ownership and accountability for your company’s voice. And of course, they’ll feel confident that they can execute on those guidelines to help you promote, market, and sell your tech—because they had a hand in shaping the strategy behind it.
When clients come to us looking to assess and improve the efficacy of their brand voice, we almost always start by auditing a broad sampling of their written and recorded materials. Blogs, social copy, marketing collateral, internal training documents, pitch decks, etc. We ask ourselves questions like:
- Does the brand’s voice feel consistent throughout these materials?
- Is the voice resonant? Engaging? Easily recognizable?
- Could I clearly summarize the brand’s personality based on what I see in these materials?
- Will the brand’s target audiences trust this voice?
When there’s a disconnect, we know it’s time for a voice tune-up.
Sound like something your organization could benefit from? We can help. Shoot us a message. Let’s talk through your voice, together.