We’re right- and left-wingers who meld in the middle. We like quinoa and kale, but we also devour donuts . . . That’s a snippet from a past version of our About page. There’s more to it—more about how we like cats and dogs or how we’re tea and coffee drinkers. And, while I wrote it, I eventually said to myself, “That’s not us. That’s not our voice.” Many companies run into the same issue on their websites: they force out a voice—and, in turn, a reflection of a culture—that's not uniquely or truly theirs. If you’re considering how to enhance your brand’s voice and make it more authentic, here are five tips to help you along the way. Tip 1: Know Your Own People Your people are your voice. I thought I knew us (i.e., TrendyMinds' team members) pretty damn well, but what I failed to do initially, before writing that oh-so-amazing “quinoa and kale” copy of yore, was actually ask my fellow team members a few simple questions: What do you like about working here?How would you describe your team members?What sets your team members apart, and what sets our process or style of work apart from other companies? Notice I didn’t ask them, “What’s our voice?” Nay. That’d confuse people. Trust me. I found out that we’re hard workers who bend over backwards for clients while having fun with them and each other. In short: we can’t really be summed up as people who devour donuts (although we don’t shy away from the glazed rings of glory) or like cats. Instead, our own people viewed us entirely differently from what I had originally thought. Don’t you want to know what your team members think? Tip 2: Speak to Your Audiences Differently yet Consistently Your website probably has different pages with different purposes, and that could mean different audiences. For example, we’re talking to two main audiences on our website: Prospective clientsJob applicants We wanted to speak to both of them using second person (i.e., you). After all, our website visitors—like you—are people with a purpose, so we want to be direct.For our purposes, we’re choosing to talk to prospective clients in a straightforward, confident manner. We want to convey our skills and services, along with how we think, without sounding vague or arrogant. In the example above, we view ourselves as an agency of hard workers willing to step—sometimes literally—into our clients’ customers’ journeys. When we talk to job applicants on our Careers page, on the other hand, we’re a bit looser and more informal with our voice. We like to have a bit of fun with an easygoing sense of humor, so conveying that in our voice is key. We want people to join our team, but we want them to know that we’re a fun company to work with. Are you speaking to different audiences in different ways while making sure you sound like the same company the whole time? Tip 3: Sound Like You Normally Talk . . . . . . instead of how your industry talks. Depending on how you want to truthfully present your company, this tip may or may not work for you. In the past, we’ve focused on content filled with industry buzzwords and trending topics instead of reflecting on how we actually talk in day-to-day conversations with our existing clients.In the image above from our site, we didn’t say something like: “Our passion is optimizing omnichannel campaigns to open doors.” Why not? Because that’s not how we talk. I see this all the time on websites, these lofty, buzzword-filled phrases promising the ideal product or service when all they really do is leave you confused and underwhelmed. Try making your voice accessible by sounding more conversational (if that fits your authentic voice). Do you sound like you normally talk? Would it be the right choice for you if you shifted your voice toward or away from jargon? Tip 4: Don’t Worry About Being 100% Different Moms like to say their children are totally special and unique, which is true . . . but it’s not that true. When it comes down to it, we all share characteristics with other people; the same is true for your company. But you don’t have to worry about being 100% different on your website. Really, it’s ok! To give you some personal examples from images in this blog, we’re not the only agency that . . . Steps into the journey with clients’ customers ORTakes risks, works hard and has fun We'd be crazy to think we're the only hardworking agency out there, right? By all means, consider your competitors’ websites, but don’t rely on the voices they present as sole indicators of what yours should be. If you do, you’ll tear your hair out trying to write your messaging. Are you trying to be 100% different? Tip 5: Trim the Fat in Your Style Guide Yes, you should have a style guide. And yes, it should include voice attributes. However, I’ve seen 100-page style guides that have expansive “our voice is this, not that” tables, and let me tell you, it’s a crapshoot. Take the example below:Imagine you’re a copywriter adding a new page to a website. You study the 10 voice characteristics above, but where do you even begin? Do you include all of the characteristics and omit others? Is there a hierarchy you should follow (i.e., be young, smart and humorous first, but avoid being quirky if it doesn’t fit)? When do you cross the line from quirky to just plain weird—or from inventive to extreme? If your mind is taking you through these spiralling questions, my suggestion is to pare down your list to two or three keywords. Not everything has to be written in stone. Remember, your website lives in a constantly shifting digital environment; you should build in room for your voice to change. Is your style guide too complex and rigid? Whether you’re considering rewriting copy on your website or changing the way your messaging sounds in digital ads, Facebook posts or videos, review the tips above to get started on presenting your brand’s authentic voice. Don’t force it. We hear you can hurt yourself that way. Have some questions for us or ways that we might be able to help you strategize content? Reach out to us, or check out our specialties in marketing services.

Digital Marketing

Stop Forcing Your Brand’s Voice on Your Website

Blog Author

Nick Pasotti | July 21, 2016

We’re right- and left-wingers who meld in the middle. We like quinoa and kale, but we also devour donuts . . .

That’s a snippet from a past version of our About page. There’s more to it—more about how we like cats and dogs or how we’re tea and coffee drinkers. And, while I wrote it, I eventually said to myself, “That’s not us. That’s not our voice.”

Many companies run into the same issue on their websites: they force out a voice—and, in turn, a reflection of a culture—that's not uniquely or truly theirs.

If you’re considering how to enhance your brand’s voice and make it more authentic, here are five tips to help you along the way.

Tip 1: Know Your Own People

Your people are your voice. I thought I knew us (i.e., TrendyMinds' team members) pretty damn well, but what I failed to do initially, before writing that oh-so-amazing “quinoa and kale” copy of yore, was actually ask my fellow team members a few simple questions:

  • What do you like about working here?

  • How would you describe your team members?

  • What sets your team members apart, and what sets our process or style of work apart from other companies?

Notice I didn’t ask them, “What’s our voice?” Nay. That’d confuse people. Trust me.

I found out that we’re hard workers who bend over backwards for clients while having fun with them and each other. In short: we can’t really be summed up as people who devour donuts (although we don’t shy away from the glazed rings of glory) or like cats. Instead, our own people viewed us entirely differently from what I had originally thought.

Don’t you want to know what your team members think?

Tip 2: Speak to Your Audiences Differently yet Consistently

Your website probably has different pages with different purposes, and that could mean different audiences.

For example, we’re talking to two main audiences on our website:

  1. Prospective clients

  2. Job applicants

We wanted to speak to both of them using second person (i.e., you). After all, our website visitors—like you—are people with a purpose, so we want to be direct.

Example of content from our Homepage (2016)
Example of content from our Homepage (2016)
Example of content from our Careers page (2016)
Example of content from our Careers page (2016)

For our purposes, we’re choosing to talk to prospective clients in a straightforward, confident manner. We want to convey our skills and services, along with how we think, without sounding vague or arrogant. In the example above, we view ourselves as an agency of hard workers willing to step—sometimes literally—into our clients’ customers’ journeys.

When we talk to job applicants on our Careers page, on the other hand, we’re a bit looser and more informal with our voice. We like to have a bit of fun with an easygoing sense of humor, so conveying that in our voice is key. We want people to join our team, but we want them to know that we’re a fun company to work with.

Are you speaking to different audiences in different ways while making sure you sound like the same company the whole time?

Tip 3: Sound Like You Normally Talk . . .

. . . instead of how your industry talks.

Depending on how you want to truthfully present your company, this tip may or may not work for you. In the past, we’ve focused on content filled with industry buzzwords and trending topics instead of reflecting on how we actually talk in day-to-day conversations with our existing clients.

Example of content from our About page (2016)
Example of content from our About page (2016)

In the image above from our site, we didn’t say something like: “Our passion is optimizing omnichannel campaigns to open doors.” Why not? Because that’s not how we talk. I see this all the time on websites, these lofty, buzzword-filled phrases promising the ideal product or service when all they really do is leave you confused and underwhelmed. Try making your voice accessible by sounding more conversational (if that fits your authentic voice).

Do you sound like you normally talk? Would it be the right choice for you if you shifted your voice toward or away from jargon?

Tip 4: Don’t Worry About Being 100% Different

Moms like to say their children are totally special and unique, which is true . . . but it’s not that true. When it comes down to it, we all share characteristics with other people; the same is true for your company.

But you don’t have to worry about being 100% different on your website. Really, it’s ok! To give you some personal examples from images in this blog, we’re not the only agency that . . .

  • Steps into the journey with clients’ customers OR
  • Takes risks, works hard and has fun

We'd be crazy to think we're the only hardworking agency out there, right? By all means, consider your competitors’ websites, but don’t rely on the voices they present as sole indicators of what yours should be. If you do, you’ll tear your hair out trying to write your messaging.

Are you trying to be 100% different?

Tip 5: Trim the Fat in Your Style Guide

Yes, you should have a style guide. And yes, it should include voice attributes. However, I’ve seen 100-page style guides that have expansive “our voice is this, not that” tables, and let me tell you, it’s a crapshoot. Take the example below:

Imagine you’re a copywriter adding a new page to a website. You study the 10 voice characteristics above, but where do you even begin? Do you include all of the characteristics and omit others? Is there a hierarchy you should follow (i.e., be young, smart and humorous first, but avoid being quirky if it doesn’t fit)? When do you cross the line from quirky to just plain weird—or from inventive to extreme?

If your mind is taking you through these spiralling questions, my suggestion is to pare down your list to two or three keywords. Not everything has to be written in stone. Remember, your website lives in a constantly shifting digital environment; you should build in room for your voice to change.

Is your style guide too complex and rigid?


Whether you’re considering rewriting copy on your website or changing the way your messaging sounds in digital ads, Facebook posts or videos, review the tips above to get started on presenting your brand’s authentic voice.

Don’t force it. We hear you can hurt yourself that way.



Have some questions for us or ways that we might be able to help you strategize content? Reach out to us, or check out our specialties in marketing services.