brand voice guides

Brand voice guides built from data, not hunches

Banish the burn and bewilderment from defining and applying your voice.

When you have this level of depth, validity, and detail in your voice guide, achieving consistency across every channel will no longer be a chore.

And only then will writing copy that really cuts through to your intended audience be far easier to achieve. There's a vast difference between copy written from a sound strategic core vs. words you're guessing might work—and people notice that difference.

Think of the verbal and the visual together like the power couple of content marketing—as a united front, no-one else can replicate the 'je ne sais quoi' they exude. 

Polish & Punch voice guidelines equip you with precise parameters, strategy, and a distinct brand lingo built from verified data. A voice that’s measured and mapped this way leaves little room for you (or other writers) to veer off-brand.

That’s a hearty YES to:

  • Far less time drafting, reviewing, and endless editing
  • Amplified brand building in every written piece on any channel
  • Visual and verbal identities working equally to position your brand (as they should)
  • Gaining a recognisable edge and more chances of snagging dream customers
  • Money saved in production, and made because of bigger brand appeal

Without this kind of definition in a voice guide, all you do is purge words that lack strategic backbone and fail to position your brand. 

Which costs you brain burn, time churn, and missed chances to sell.


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Why brand voice matters, and where most guidelines fall short.

A definitive voice guide explains the freedoms and limitations for how you speak to your audience—without restricting anyone’s creative flair. That means confident, efficient writers, less editing time (and cost!), and consistent copy that’s always on-brand.

Explaining freedoms and limitations is far more than “cultured, but not snobbish” or “vibrant, but not giddy”. You might have a few “this, but not that” descriptors, but which trait do you lead with, and why?

If I were presented with this level of detail before starting a copywriting project, I’d be asking for additional time in the scope to ask that question and others, like:

~ Which words characterise ‘cultured’ or ‘snobbish’ in reference to your brand?

~ Do you have examples of existing copy that epitomises each of these parameters?

And then…

~ Why and how do these examples of copy epitomise each of the given parameters?

~ From which standpoint do you want to motivate your audience? (for example, reassure or encourage?)

Also, I’d need to refer to brand elements such as:

  • Archetype
  • Personality
  • Promise
  • Value proposition
  • Origin story
  • Philosophy
  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Values

In particular, the brand personality would need more detail than “approachable and down to earth” while also being “measured and perceptive”. My version of these would likely be quite different to another person writing from this specification.

See how the lack of depth and nuance leaves too much room for mixed interpretation? As your copywriter, I’d need to allow extra time in your scope to be sure I can nail your brief.

If you have others writing copy for your business:

Time spent going back and forth on reviewing and editing just to get your copy sounding spot-on is enough to send you barmy (and your bottom line a bit bare).

Then there’s how it looks—when and what to format, which heading styles to use, emoji guidelines—all of these and many, many more are the essentials to a truly effective voice guide.

If, when your writers use the voice guidelines you’ve documented, the copy ends up sounding iffy, or not expressing your brand personality, or worse—so far from your brand it makes you wince—it doesn’t mean your existing guidelines are wrong.

Just that they’re mostly built on a hunch and not measured, analysed, and built on real data.

That costs you dearly in many ways.

When you have a clear, complete voice guide that really takes the guesswork out of writing for your brand, you (and your other writers) will be whipping out on-brand, bombshell content time and time again—faster than you ever imagined.

Talented teams and clever people I work with


James Thompson, Creative Director | MJA Studio

"There just aren’t a lot of copywriters around that make me nervous"

~ Jay Crisp Crow, Copywriter + Copy Mentor | Crisp Copy

There just aren’t a lot of copywriters around that make me nervous. Sarah does. I always teach that copywriters are made, not born, but I think Sarah blows apart my theory with her seemingly innate ability to pick up copywriting skills and blend them seamlessly with her natural understanding of how to develop a brand’s voice."

She’s quick, she’s so deliciously wonderful to collaborate with, and she manages to work in both a big picture way – keeping the overall vision of the brand in mind – while paying intense attention to every itty bitty detail."