Your brand’s tone of voice is how you communicate with the outside world. It includes all of your written marketing materials—from a printed flyer to a website.
Crafting and identifying your brand’s tone of voice is essential to engaging your customers in a meaningful way. In fact, it’s the foundation for all of your marketing communications. The more engaging your tone of voice is, the more customers will feel compelled to learn about your company. The more consistent your tone of voice is, the more customers will trust that you’ll continue to offer valuable products or services.
Tone of voice is not what you say, but rather, how you say it. It expresses not only your brand personality, but your values as well. It includes both written and spoken words and needs to be considered for all written and verbal communications, including websites, social media, emails, packaging, direct mail, annual reports, statements and invoices to customers and even instructions and helpdesk resources.
The first step in determining the right tone of voice for your brand is to know your origin story—basically the reason your company came into existence.
Once you’ve identified your brand’s tone of voice, nourish it. If your brand’s tone of voice is nurturing, make sure all of your communications soothe and comfort your reader and if it’s highly professional, make sure your marketing language is poised and polished.
How to decide on what’s a proper tone and reach it? First of all, you have to know your customers. When you know your audience, it will be easier to create a universal voice that speaks to your target market.
If you want your tone to be effective, you have to connect to the customers emotionally. The writing, regardless of the media channel, should sound like a conversation rather than an advert. Try to make it natural and appropriate. Watch out that it doesn’t sound forced – it has to be carefully planned, but you’re targeting at something spontaneous.
Another important note is that you should find something that makes your brand authentic and present it transparently to the customers. To them, most products look exactly the same, and therefore, a well-developed tone of voice can make you stand out and become the preferred choice. Take your time when creating it – think about different aspects of it and try to make it as better as you can. The basic guideline is that you are looking for something that is consistent across all levels or your company, both on and offline.
To start off, describe your brand’s tone of voice in three words and define each further. It could also be helpful to create a chart you can revise as the business is developing and changing. The key points are the voice characteristic (e.g. playful, inviting) and how to put it into words. Describe each in a sentence or two. As your targeted market and competition change, refresh your voice’s tone. Keep adding new examples and grow something big.
Marketing is sometimes a bit alike like gardening – the more you plant, the richer and greener your surrounding becomes; and it takes patience.