Brands are concerned with how they look but overlook how they sound. Finding your right brand voice is vital to stand out in the digital world. Regan takes us through how to find your brand's tone of voice.
WHY FINDING YOUR TONE OF VOICE IS A KEY GOAL FOR ANY BRAND
From names and logos to colour schemes and images, how your brand is perceived by the general public is one of the most pressing matters for the modern day company. Standing out amongst the digital crowd is a tough task, and with social media playing an enormous part in bringing in new custom, distancing yourself from your competitors can be one of the hardest things to do.
There are times when you may want to blend in with the crowd, but in the world of business, it’s not a wise idea. That’s where your brand’s tone of voice comes in - and while you’ve got to be wary of what you say, it’s how you say it that’s important. A skate apparel shop might take on the rebellious personality of a teenager, whilst a football club might want to balance an authoritative voice with more playful takes on current events and trends.
And it’s not just social media where a tone of voice comes into play. The voice of your brand can be on display across your website, including blog posts - the subject of which can absolutely take inspiration from how your brand carries itself online.
1. The Importance of Tone of Voice
As people, we often have identifying features that set us apart from our friends and family to others. How many times have you heard someone refer to someone by them saying “he/she is the person that does ‘that thing’” or by something to do with personality, like their style.
It’s exactly the same with brands. Brands, despite being very much inanimate, can have personalities too - showcased mainly through their content and social media work. There are a few things that showcasing your brand’s personality can help do, including building trust, enhancing relationships and creating a distinction.
A clear tone of voice allows you to build a uniqueness that truly sets you apart from your competitors. You can be known as the cheaper brand or offer the product for cheaper, but that’s something that your competitors can easily match, and the same with any key hallmark products or features you offer too.
Idiosyncrasies in your brand’s tone of voice allow the consumer to recognise the brand for something other than its offering - be it an unorthodox style, a recognisable warmth or something that just allows a person to identify with the brand.
A website and a logo can only offer so much to a consumer and often this isn’t enough for a real relationship, the kind where a visitor to your website or a casual viewer of your product(s) isn’t likely to keep returning to you time after time. But with an identifiable tone of voice or personality, that’s where the real connection starts.
Companies sharing their values - and proving that they truly believe them - is a surefire way to build a healthy business to consumer connection - or even business to business connection.
Let’s use an example for this one. A vegan consumer is looking at your website or social media profile, and whilst you don’t offer exclusively vegan products, your brand or business is relevant to this consumer. They see that despite not being exclusively vegan, that your tone of voice represents a conscious, thoughtful company that is trying to do more to combat climate change, whilst offering something that fits their needs. The start of a relationship is built, and they consider you to be a brand or business that they would use in the future. The more your tone of voice and values reflects their own personality, the stronger the bond and the stronger the trust, and this all starts with defining what you want your brand to portray.
2. How to Define Your Tone of Voice
If you’ve ever been in a job interview and have been asked to describe yourself or your personality in three words, that’s the first place to start in defining your tone of voice. Perhaps you could do it twice, once with how you currently believe your brand sounds - and if you’re not happy with that, again with how you’d like to sound in the future. This is a great way of auditing your current content, finding pieces on social media or within your website and blog and picking the ones that you feel truly represent the brand you’re striving to be. Then pick three words or traits to describe that content for example friendly, thoughtful and intelligent. If that’s not where the brand should be in regards to its personality - then this is the best chance to set the wheels in motion for a bit of a brand overhaul when it comes to tone of voice.
It’s key to set out key ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ when it comes to your brand's voice. If you consider yourself an ‘intelligent’ brand, then you want to be industry champions that share knowledge as much as possible - but you don’t want to come across as snobby or use too many obscure terms that the general consumer wouldn’t understand. It is all a careful balancing act to ensure you’re not doing too much, or too little. There could even be secondary characteristics that fall under one of your traits, and it’s worth fleshing out the rights and wrongs for those too.
Once that’s all sorted, it’s about translating that tone of voice from your brand to those who are going to be sharing it. The backbone of any brand’s voice is the people implementing it via web content, social media and more, and by ensuring that they have the right tone, you’re making sure that the same voice is heard across all channels. This is important! Think how you feel if you’re a regular listener of the radio and your favourite mid-afternoon host is off and someone else has stepped in - the show just isn’t going to be the same, is it? Making sure your voice is consistent is vital, but there can be some flexibility depending on what social media platforms you’re using.
A tone of voice can change over time, much like the company can - and should evolve as the brand does. There are also times when you can forgo the tone of voice. If something is really important but the rest of your social media and brand is jovial, if the voice isn’t going to match the news or the post well, then reconsider how you’re writing it.
3. Hit the Right tone
Once you’ve established your brand’s tone of voice, you should have a clear vision of where you want your brand to stand in the digital world and what you’re saying and how you say it can have a positive influence on improving your standing amongst consumers. From there, you can add to and develop the tone of voice as you see fit - as long as it evolves alongside the company!
Looking for an expert eye on developing your brands tone of voice? Get in touch with our content team to discuss how you can stand out from the crowd.