Why tone of voice matters_
A brand communicates to its audience in three ways: the way it looks, the way it sounds and the way it acts.
These combined factors affect how people perceive, value and relate to a business. A brand goes much deeper than what you look like on the surface or your logo – it’s what makes your business meaningful and relevant. Sure, consumers care about how your product/service is different and how they’ll benefit from it, but they want much more than that. Consumers need to know what you stand for. And that’s where your brand personality comes into play.
Brand personality refers to the human characteristics, emotions and attributes embodied by a brand. It’s how the brand acts and most importantly, how it connects with customers. Much like a person, a brand’s tone of voice and values is what establishes and makes its identity unique.
Tone is not only about how you speak, but also the words you use and how you use them (i.e. the cadence and rhythm).
For example, do you speak quickly or with a drawl? Are you bold and confident, or quiet and reserved? Do you speak in long, verbose sentences, or are you punchy and to-the-point? Do you use emojis? Do you use industry jargon, or slang words and dialect?
Tone of voice is not what you say, it’s how you say it.
You might have the slickest looking brand in the world, but if your tone of voice isn’t considered, crafted or consistent, you could be sending out all the wrong signals. It could mean the difference between making a lifelong customer and being just another brand in the crowd.
Setting the tone for success
Crafting a tone of voice can be tricky, but there are ways to approach it so your voice is both authentic and consistent.
THINK ABOUT YOUR BRAND AS A LIVING, BREATHING PERSON
Start by thinking about your brand as a living, breathing person. How would your brand act? How would it speak? What are its values? You can channel real people to help contextualize the process and find out which attributes align with your brand. For example, would your brand be more like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift or Natalie Portman? Or would it have different attributes combined from all of them?
BE INSPIRED BY BRANDS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL
Get a feel for how other brands are speaking to your ideal customer. Who’s catching your attention? Who’s making you feel a connection? Checking out brands from all industries can inspire you, or even confirm how you don’t want to come across.
SAY IT OUT LOUD
Experiment with creating copy drafts. Read your words out loud to gauge how it sounds and imagine your audience are sitting in front of you. Would you talk to them like this? Is this the tone you want your brand to own?
KEEP IT CONSISTENT
When you’re happy with your brand tone of voice, it’s important to set out some rules. Tone of voice guidelines ensure your brand voice is consistent and maintain the integrity of your brand identity. Here you should outline adjectives to describe how you do and don’t want to sound. For example, you might want to sound confident but not cocky and friendly but not chummy. Document any language to avoid, how your brand approaches grammar, swearing and even emojis.
Struggling to find your voice? We can help you figure it out.
At A_TK we know that an authentic tone of voice is key to a brand creating connections with their audience. Our Outhink™ program always kicks off this creative process, taking a deep dive into our clients’ business, their product/service, their industry, audience, values and visions. Only then can we craft a genuine tone of voice that’s more than just words – it becomes an identity with meaning.
Talk to us and we’ll help you create a brand voice that really speaks to your consumers.