How to Develop a Brand Voice for In-App Communication

August 5, 2016

2:30 pm

You have a great idea for an app, and you are in mid-development. One of the challenges that you face is finding the right brand voice for your app. Finding the right voice is important for your marketing efforts. It is also important when you are working on your in-app communication.

How is your app going to interact with users? It’s important to make the right decision here. A good brand voice has a positive impact on the overall impression people get from your app. It’s also an important part of your overall branding strategy. Here are four strategies that you can  use to create a brand voice for your app.

Think of Your App as a Person or Mascot and Develop a Character Profile for it

When people are using your app, they will likely have a phone in hand with their device only a foot or so from them. That’s pretty close quarters. In essence, that’s about the same distance (or less) that you would be from someone you were dining with. Now, instead of picturing the communication in your app coming from a piece of technology, imagine it was coming from a person. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are this person’s mannerisms?
  • What are their interests?
  • How do they approach people who have serious concerns?
  • How do they approach people who have minor issues to deal with?
  • What are the personality characteristics of other brands my app personality should emulate?

Then, create a character profile. Here’s a brief example:

Dave is fast-talking, funny, and has a quick wit. He loves keeping up with pop culture and has usually seen the latest in TV shows and movies. He loves social media and sports. He enjoys engaging people with quick-witted banter and quickly puts them at ease. In spite of this, when things are serious he has no problem switching gears and taking an appropriately serious tone.

Make a List of The Traits That You Want People to Associate with Your Brand

Everything about your app informs your users’ takeaway. This includes the images that you use, your logo, and your in-app communication. Take some time to create a list of things you want your users to associate with your brand. Do you want them to associate your brand with reliability, expertise, and reassurance? If so, that is what should be reflected in your in-app messaging. According to Aji Abraham of Armia Systems, in-app messaging and communication plays a much larger role in branding than many people predict. “Think of the most successful apps, Candy Crush for instance. The app has a very distinct personality oozing through everything from texts to interfaces and custom animations. It’s light, friendly, a bit childish, but amusing. You can’t resist following the storyline and end up spending more hours than you’ve wished you had within this app.”

“Think of the most successful apps, Candy Crush for instance. The app has a very distinct personality oozing through everything from texts to interfaces and custom animations. It’s light, friendly, a bit childish, but amusing. You can’t resist following the storyline and end up spending more hours than you’ve wished you had within this app.”

Write a Branding Book

Create a style guide that you and others will use as you develop and maintain your app. This should essentially act as a roadmap. This branding book should include suggestions on words and phrases to use in different situations, guidelines regarding appropriate language, and even the images that are used in your messaging. One element to consider is maintaining consistency in language and tone from your social media pages to your website to the verbiage your app users will see. The last thing you want to do is confuse people.

In-app, communication may not seem that important at first glance. However, the truth is this; It is the micro-interactions that customers have with your brand that add up to inform their overall impression of you. Pay attention to what your in-app communication is really saying to your audience. Fortunately, once you take the steps outlined above, you will have a great foundation on which to base the decisions you make regarding in-app communication.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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