Nowadays, a large part of the consumer research process takes place online, and this is where the vast majority of first impressions are now experienced. Many customers are unable to visualise the body language of sales rep through their laptop or iPhone screen, so the tone of voice becomes a major influence in how they perceive a brand’s image and personality.
In this way, your writing and content become part of your branding. From the choice of wording used on the website to the copy on your newsletters – it’s all going to affect and influence how people perceive your business.
Voice can draw your audience in or drive them away. Here’s how to strike the right tone.
Know and communicate your values:
The first step in guiding your marketing voice is to understand the company itself. If your brand were a person, what would they be like? By examining the products/services you provide and by speaking to both employees and customers you will be able to gain an understanding of the brand’s core values, and even what differentiates them from other competitors in the market. Identify 3 core values (preferably human) that are appropriate to your business.
If your business sits in a saturated or competitive market then use the tone of voice to set yourself apart from the rest of the competition. The tone of voice can demonstrate your expertise, sense of humour, or any other attribute that you want to exhibit to potential consumers.
Use a tone for your target market:
Express your brand’s personality through carefully chosen vocabulary and terminology that resonates with your target audience. Tone of voice has the ability to single-handedly attract or deter customers, so it is important to choose a tone that matches the interests and needs of your market. If your primary customers are professional businessmen and women, your tone might be authoritative and direct, but if you’re targeting teenagers then it should be light-hearted, quirky and on point.
Keep your tone coherent, consistent:
Just like other forms of branding like logo design and colour schemes, it is important that your consumers believe all your media comes from one source. Having the same tone across all of your customers’ touch points with your brand increases familiarity, and sets the bar for what customers should know and expect from you. Although different media platforms require different ways of speaking (i.e. social media in comparison to a press release), it is still important to maintain a degree of consistency with tone of voice across the board. Having consistency over time is what will help build your brand image, and make it likeable. Make sure you don’t ‘fake it’, or try to deceive your customers. If you’re not a fun brand, don’t try to be.
8 brands we’ve noticed have nailed tone of voice:
- Innocent Smoothies
- Paddy Power
- Taco Bell
- Intrepid Travel
- Cards Against Humanity
So what is the difference between your voice and your tone?
Tone: A subset of your brand’s voice.
Tone adds a specific flavour to your voice based on factors like audience, situation, and channel.
Essentially, there is one voice for your brand and many tones that refine that voice.
Voice is a mission statement. The tone is the application of that mission.
By Alex Obertelli