The difference between messaging, tone of voice and brand identity

The difference between messaging, tone of voice and brand identity

Posted by Claire Rowe
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There are certain things that can set your business apart from the rest. Your messaging, tone of voice and brand identity are some of those things.

Your messaging represents your business’s underlying beliefs and values. Tone of voice gives your writing character, authority and can help to propound your brand messaging. Brand identity, however, isn’t how you see yourself; it’s how others see you.

Together, these form the DNA of your business and make you stand out amongst your competition. However, many businesses fail to distinguish the differences between each term. Although they’re branches on the same tree, they should each be treated differently.

So, what are the differences between messaging, tone of voice and brand identity? Let’s get started.


Your messaging values (should) encompass how you’d like to be perceived both internally and externally.

So when you’re developing your messaging, you need to consider these three things:

  • Customer perspective. What’s important to your customers? If your messaging doesn’t speak to their needs, you may lose their interest or trust. Try to survey or interview your existing client base, note down the common topics or keywords and try to understand what matters to them.
  • Internal perspective. It’s important to get an organisation-wide input into your brand messaging. What do your employees think your business’s values are? What do they think makes your product or service unique, different or valuable to your customers?
  • Marketplace perspective. Where do you position yourself in the marketplace? What makes you stand out amongst other similar businesses within your chosen industry?

Once you’ve discussed these areas, you can start to create and solidify your messaging.

Tone of voice

Think of your tone of voice as your business’s personality.

As with your messaging, you can find helpful information from your customers, colleagues and your industry to help you to create your tone of voice. This information can then help you to write important content, such as social media posts, blog articles and premium downloadable content.

But remember: whether you want your tone to be educational, serious, light-hearted or authoritative, it’s important that you keep it consistent. After all, 90 percent of consumers expect their customer experience to be the same across all channels. If you’re unable to do this, your visitors may perceive your business as being untrustworthy, unreliable and, well, inconsistent in your identity.

Further reading:  

Brand identity

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This can be anything from how your customers perceive your business and how you communicate, to your logo, images and ‘visual’ identity. Your visual and brand identity must, again, be communicated consistently throughout your website, social media channels and any other platforms you’re using. If they’re not, you’ll only be confusing your customers and making it hard for them to remember you.

Have a think about the following questions:

  • What do your customers think of when they hear of your business? Don’t be afraid to ask your customers what their initial and current perceptions of your business are. This could be anything from colours, design and your logo, to your credibility and trustworthiness.
  • Is your logo easily recognisable and understandable? Your logo is your business’s face. As a result, it’s important to get the design aspect right. Choosing the right colours for your logo can help increase brand recognition by 80 percent.
  • Do your colour choices correlate with your industry, messaging and logo? The right colour choices can improve the readability of your content by 40 percent. What colours are you using? Do they enhance your messages or make them more difficult to comprehend?
  • Is your brand authentic? Trust and reputation is everything. Around 90 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that they deem authentic.
  • What did/does your business’s past, present and future look like? Where has your business come from and where do you hope to see yourself in years to come? Use your history and your aspirations to help shape what your brand identity should look like.

Further reading:

The power of three

Now you’re aware of the differences between messaging, tone of voice and brand identity, it’s time to focus on improving them in equal measure. All three of these, combined, can help to make your company trustworthy, memorable and one step ahead of your competition.

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