If your company’s messaging and branding is inconsistent, or you’re not reaching the kinds of audiences that you’re aiming for, it may be time to change your tone of voice.
Perhaps contrary to the phrase itself, ‘tone of voice’ in branding terms relates not so much to speaking, but to all your written copy: your newsletters, website copy, social media, print and online adverts, the labels and packaging you put on your products – perhaps your internal messaging too.
It’s not the messaging itself – which might be informational, or promotional, or a list of ingredients – it’s the way you convey the messaging.
If you look at products and services around you, you’ll see that tone of voice can vary wildly between brands, depending on how they want to express themselves.
Tone of voice examples
A letter from your pension company probably isn’t going to be bubbly and kooky – otherwise you may not put your trust in them. Instead, it’s likely to be authoritative and reassuring:
“As the UK’s leading pension provider, we will help you to understand which investment is right for you.”
A luxury travel brand is unlikely to use informal chummy language, or corporate jargon – instead it will deploy evocative words and phrases in a way that sounds sophisticated and exciting, and helps a customer to picture themselves on holiday:
“Discover a hidden gem in this emerald-green rainforest: our jungle villa is waiting for you.”
Meanwhile, a start-up make-up manufacturer might take a more off-the-wall tone to appeal to a fun-loving younger crowd, with a guerrilla style campaign of abrasive and confrontational messaging:
“GET it ON yer FAAAAAACE!”
They MIGHT anyway.
And the key thing about a company’s chosen tone of voice? It should be consistent across all channels.
Reasons to set your own company’s tone of voice
Now we’ve looked at what tone of voice is; here’s why it matters:
It gets you the audience you want
Companies are rarely – or rarely should be – trying to reach ‘everyone’. For this blog, I’m going to assume that you’ve already put in the work to identify your target demographic (and if you haven’t, I can help!) Perhaps it’s 63 year-old Dennis from Lincoln who loves a spot of gardening in-between bouts of Dungeons and Dragons with his pals; or it’s 19 year-old Zoe from Oxfordshire who loves to knit cosy scarves for her guinea pigs.
A tone of voice that appeals to your target audience is key to attracting them to your product. By speaking in a way that connects with your customers, you’re demonstrating that you understand what it is they need or want from your company.
It reveals the people that drive the brand
A company is nothing without its people. And people who work for a particular company are likely to have values and interests that align with the company’s brand and vision.
By having a company tone of voice, your audiences can connect more readily to the people behind the brand, meaning transactions will feel more personal.
It helps you to stand out
In a world (and worldwide web) afflicted by information overload and excessive advertising, it can be a real breath of fresh air to read something that actually conveys personality. It shows that thought and passion has been put into the words you’re reading.
And if your company is really similar to another one just down the road, the approach you take to tone of voice could be the thing that brings an audience your way.
What’s your tone of voice going to be?
Working on tone of voice might sound like a complicated task, but it’s a really important one to get right – and it’s honestly fun to do as well!
Essentially, it starts with your customers. And I can help with that:
- I can help you to build audience profiles and establish a tone of voice that speaks directly to them.
- I can create your ‘Style Guide’ document to promote consistency in all future written communications across your channels.
- I can draft blogs and social media posts that use your tone of voice!
Get in touch for a chat/discussion/chinwag….