Chapter 2. Voice: They Recognize You

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Voice: They Recognize You

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

—Unknown, attributed to many

Humans are affected by their interactions and will come away with a feeling they associate with the experiences you create. As the organization responsible for those experiences, we want them to remember how it makes them feel. That feeling makes the experience recognizable, consistent, and distinct from its competitors. Voice is the set of characteristics that allows content to create that feeling.

As we saw in Chapter 1, the organization uses content throughout its relationship with people. When the voice is consistent throughout the virtuous cycle, brand affinity is strengthened. People can be more loyal to experiences and organizations that they recognize. Conversely, if we don’t design how the content supports that feeling, the person might be left feeling anything: affection, repulsion, loyalty, disgust, or a confusion that leaves them detached.

The biggest barrier to this consistency is the many team members who write the content. Sometimes, they are in different departments in a large organization, and aren’t aware of one another. Having a common description of voice helps diverse teams create a cohesive voice.

For example, when I worked at Microsoft in 2010, the voice for the Xbox 360 game system was, “The console speaks like we’re sitting beside them, helping them play.” The “them” was well ...

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