Defining your brand's tone of voice


JUNE 2, 2018





If your brand were a person, what type of personality would it have?

Is it the life of the party? The trustworthy, understanding and wise-beyond-its-years friend? The free-spirited girl next door? The geek-chic whiz kid? Perhaps it's the crazy single aunt who drinks one too many vinos with lunch.

Whatever type of personality it has, it should be authentic - because your brand's personality is a direct reflection of its tone of voice.  

Tone of voice is not exactly a buzzword, but it can be a little tricky to define. In simple terms, your brand’s tone of voice is not what you say, but how you say it. It expresses your personality, humanises your brand and lets your audience connect with the ‘who’ as well as the ‘what.’ 

A well-considered tone of voice makes your brand unique and enables it to stand out in a crowd of lookalikes. It’s the conductor of your brand’s choir, and as such, it should reflect who you are as a business – your values, characteristics and quirks.

Tone of voice is a powerful tool for building trust with your audience and should be consistent throughout website copy, brochures, advertising, social media and email communication.

Finding the right tone of voice for your brand is something all businesses (regardless of size) should prioritise. If you’re unsure of where to start, here's some ideas to get the creative juices flowing…

1: Get inspired

Look at any successful brand and you’ll see it has a highly distinctive tone of voice, for example: 

Apple: innovative, inspirational, tech-driven, sleek

Red Bull: adventurous, wild, energetic

Buzzfeed: humorous, light-hearted, fun, entertaining 

2: Figure out the who/what/why of your brand

Ask yourself the following questions:

·         Why did I start this business?

·         Who is our target audience (what do they like/dislike, what are their characteristics)?

·         What value does this business bring to our audience/what problem do we solve?

·         How are we different from the rest?

·         What are our values?

·         Why should our audience trust us?

·         Do we prefer formal or informal language?

·         What do we want our audience to think and feel when they read about our brand?

·         If this brand were a person, what kind of personality would it have?

3: Time to experiment

There’s a difference between “We are pleased to inform you that the new [product name] is now available in retail stores across New Zealand” and “Hey peeps, we’re stoked to announce that [product name] has officially hit NZ!”

It's not a question of what's right or wrong – the above phrases are simply different. And that's OK, because what works for one brand will be horribly wrong for another. 

Once you’ve answered life’s big questions about your brand and audience, it’s time to have a play with language to see what feels right for you. 

Do you want to get your message across in a clear and direct manner, or is witty banter (with the odd slang or mild swear word) all part of the fun? At the end of the day, it’s about figuring out what works for your brand, and what sort of tone and language will enable you to cut through. When you've found a tone that brings your copy to life in an engaging and relatable way, you're on the right track!

The only major rule to follow? Be consistent.

So, there you have it, folks. A memorable tone of voice can strengthen your brand’s positioning by gaining the trust of your audience (enabling you to get that all-important first foot in the door!).

If you’re having trouble nailing your tone of voice, give us a buzz and we can chat you through the process. If you’re feeling adventurous, we can even whip up the copy to bring your new voice to life (you're always in safe hands at Tide Studio – it's our job to make you look like the cool, calm and collected industry leader you were born to be!). 

Laura TuckComment