This is one of my favourite subjects but did you know that it’s also an area that is very often neglected when building a brand?
So…what is your tone of voice?
In its simplest form, it is how you sound to others.
It’s how you talk to people online, in meetings, pitches, over the phone, in your literature, on packaging – basically everywhere!
“You know you’ve got a strong tone of voice when you remove your logo from a piece of content and people can still tell it is yours.”
So, for a minute, take some time to think about a brand that you love…
Is there something unique that you can pick out about the way they communicate? Is there a particular tone to their content that resonates with you? Do they use any distinctive phrases that have become part of their trademark style?
One of my favourites is Brewdog. They are consistently straight-talking, real, and witty.
In the example below, James, the CEO finds the perfect tongue in cheek way to highlight that their bars were going to be turned into vaccination centers to help with COVID-19.
I’ve also always loved Innocent and the style they use. Their tone is conversational, playful and straight forward.
In the example below, on a promotion for their dairy-free range, you can see how by using a playful tone, they are likely to make the audience laugh, or at the very least smile. This kind of Tone of Voice is popular with consumer brands who are trying to speak to the masses. It’s relatable, it’s real and it will resonate with a lot of people.
That’s great, but WHY is tone of voice so important?
It’s quite simple really. Your tone of voice is one of the key things that will help you stand out from the crowd in your market. It’s a MAJOR touchpoint of your brand.
Think of it this way… If you called a hotel that you were considering staying at and the receptionist answered the phone with “What?!” and then continued to be rude as you inquire into booking a room, it’s likely you will be put off and consider a different venue.
If however, the receptionist were to answer with “Good morning, Brady Towers, how can I help you?” and then continue to be pleasant, fun and helpful with your inquiry, you are much more likely to book a room, right?!
Tone of voice is all about making the right impression on our audiences and then building consistency on that to keep them engaged with what we have to say.
Think about the content that you currently put out into the world on your website, in your literature, on your social channels, in your proposals, in your emails…
- Are there patterns that occur?
- Is there a specific tone that you are using?
- Maybe you are using little catchphrases that you haven’t noticed before?
Then look at the level of engagement you get with your content.
- Do you have good conversations over email or social with your clients?
- Do people interact with what you’ve got to say?
- Or, let’s be honest, is it boring?
It might sound silly, but having a good tone of voice is essential for connecting with your audience.
You might be thinking, that’s all well and good Hannah but where do I get started?
Fear not! Here are a few things you can do to help refine your tone of voice…
⇾ Be VERY clear on your business values, mission, and unique attributes
⇾ Know your target audience inside out! (I can’t stress this one enough! )
⇾ Think about how you want your brand to be perceived
⇾ Write down phrases, words & characteristics that you want your tone of voice to include
⇾ Create a set of tone of voice guidelines for everyone in your business to see
Once you start to create consistency with how you speak to your audience across all channels, you watch folks…they will start to connect with you so much quicker.