What KPIs should you track for your brand tone of voice?

A strong verbal identity for your brand isn’t a ‘nice to have’. Your brand language is working everywhere, all the time. But sometimes, people focus on their content marketing KPIs and don’t look for how effective their brand voice is. What are the KPIs for a brand voice that you need to keep an eye on?

wall of words for strong voice

Why it’s important to have a strong brand voice.

Your brand voice isn’t just what you say on social or on your website. Your brand voice is at work on your  packaging, customer service, CEO speeches, Investor Relations, and 3rd party promotions. Defining an effective brand voice can help you reduce your spend, it’ll save you time reviewing and rewriting work and because brand language is the fastest, most adaptable marketing tool you have,  a strong brand tone of voice means your business can respond to fast-emerging opportunities.

Don’t confuse Content Marketing KPIs with Brand Voice KPIs. 

Most content marketers will look at 10 or more KPIs as part of their content strategy. These include:
Unique Page Visits
Time on Page
Comments and Interactions
But sometimes, we see teams forgetting to work out how hard their voice is working.
In our experience over the last ten years creating the tone of voice guidelines and copywriter training for start-up and global businesses from b2b, b2c, luxury, tech and everything in between, there are only 6 brand voice metrics which lead to an improved business bottom line. There are 3 input measures – things you can adjust directly in your team. And there are 3 output measures – things you need to keep an eye on so you know your brand voice is working hard enough.
To start, here are the 3 input brand voice KPIs you need to watch for.
(If you’d like to read the 3 output metrics to keep an eye on, carry on reading or scroll to the bottom for the link.)

words create tone of voice for brands

3 (quick) key input metrics you can monitor to create an effective brand voice

1. Brand Voice Alignment

Every brand voice has to be differentiated if it’s to stand out. But it also has to be authentic and a true amplification of your brand. Without this, you’re either not being listened to, or consumers have the wrong idea about your brand.
Take a look at this graph – where would you put your brand voice?

brand voices have impact

What it means: If your brand voice is anywhere other than the top-right quadrant, then you’re spending more budget than you need to  just to get noticed and you’ll be spending even more money to create engagement.
How to measure: In brief, you need to measure how the brand’s tone of voice matches the brand’s values, and you can do this by hand-scoring a sample of your brand writing. Have 3 or 4 different people audit the brand voice values. (Make sure none of them were involved in the copywriting!) If possible, get someone from outside the business to take a look as part of that team.
Remedies to make your brand voice more effective: There are a couple of questions we normally ask when a brand tone of voice isn’t measuring up to the brand values. First, we look at whether the brand values are clear and still relevant. After that, we look at how deeply the copywriting team understands the brand values. Finally, we ask whether a little bit of copywriting training couldn’t have a big impact.
Special note: You’ll have variance between different channels. It’s worth plotting your brand voice on a separate graph for each channel.


2. Time-to-publish

Modern brands have to be able to move at the speed of the world around them. And since the world’s not going to slow down anytime soon, making sure you can publish rapidly means you can make your brand voice help drive your business.

measure your brand voice with time to publish metric

What it means:  A short Time-to-Publish means that your writing is agile, you can produce more and as the world (or your competitors) move faster, your brand won’t get left behind
How to measure: As well as the obvious time between brief and final publication, look for how long it takes your customer experience and social media teams to respond to enquiries – is it faster or slower than the average of your competitors? Is it faster or slower than the brands you admire?
Remedies to make your brand voice more effective: There are 3 areas we always look at here: the briefing process and the copywriting feedback process. Finally, we know that, “Language changes fast, writers don’t”. Is there some copywriting training you could create to deal with the specific issues you’re facing?
(See here if you’d like to read more about copywriting training.)
Special note: as always, look for variance; this time, between departments. Find the team with the best Time-to-Publish metric and compare it to the team or department that’s taking longest to publish.

how to measure your brand tone of voice


3. Cost-to-Write

What’s stopping your brand tone of voice from being more effective? Is it the budget you have or the demands on your team? If you have a limited budget, this is the metric to look at:

what's the cost of a new brand voice?

What it means:  Not all channel’s copywriting costs the same to produce. There can be as much as 10x difference in the costs of running different brand writing teams. Looking for which are your most cost-effective teams (and checking in-house vs agency writing costs) can show you a lot about how to make your brand voice more effective.
How to measure: Look at the total cost of each team in each brand writing channel. Don’t forget to make an estimate for the amount of time you spend overseeing that writing team or channel. Look for the total amount of copy they produce. Divide the total amount of copy by the total budget for each channel. That gives you a good rule of thumb. You can be more sophisticated if you want, look at the ‘cost/desk’ of your internal teams, to make sure you’re factoring in all the overheads of employment- but be careful as there are other hidden values in having your own copywriting team.
Remedies to make your brand voice more effective: If there’s a big divergence between the cost-to-write and the time-to-publish metrics, then you could be overspending in one channel. You can’t hire the best writers, so you have to look at improving the skillsets and improving your writing processes.
Special note: Of all the metrics, this is the one that can produce the biggest changes in a marketing or customer experience team’s effectiveness. But be careful, not all channels are equally valuable, so factor that in as well.

what metrics to watch for an effective brand tone of voice

The output metrics and KPIs for your brand voice are equally important.

Read more about the output metrics you need to watch to see how effective your brand voice is, in this blog post. But in brief, keep an eye on these metrics if you want to make your brand voice more effective:

3 key output metrics worth monitoring to create an effective brand voice:

  1. Brand voice awareness
  2. Perception of brand voice values
  3. Thought Leadership perception

If you’d like to hear monthly updates on what’s happening in brand language, scroll down to the sign up button below. If you’d like to find out more now about how your brand voice can help you out-perform your sector, arrange a chat with Chris by clicking on the big red button.

About Verbal Identity

We are writers, strategists and linguistics experts: super-specialists in the magic and mechanics of language. We know how language creates thinking. And how – if you shape the language of your company, your comms and your customers – you shape what people think and do, read more…

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