Tone of Voice is, quite simply, how your business comes across through any written communication. Website copy, adverts, blog posts, newsletters and, of course, social media are all ways in which your tone of voice is displayed.
When it comes to establishing your brand tone of voice, it helps to break it down into four sections.
Persona: This is essentially the personality of your brand. If it were a person, would they be friendly, quirky, serious etc?
Tone: The tone is the ‘vibe’ of your brand and how you wish it to sound. For example, if your persona is Quirky, the tone may be humorous, whereas if your persona is more professional, the tone might be direct.
Language: The language you use feeds into the above points. What kind of words are you using in your copy? The quirky, humorous brand mentioned above is far more likely to use fun and simple language as opposed to something more complex.
Purpose: Finally, what is the purpose of your brand? Do you exist to educate you audience, provide entertainment, inspire, or simply sell a product?
These four points are incredibly helpful when it comes to establishing your brand tone of voice and understanding exactly what you want to sound like. It’s also helpful to take some time to work out what you don’t want to sound like, and they type of language you should avoid.
Once you’ve done all that, it’s time to start putting it into practice. With social media now embedded into the majority of marketing strategies, it’s important to make sure that your brand voice is consistent across all customer touch points. If what the customer is seeing in store differs to something they’re reading on Facebook, it’s not only confusing but can also make your brand look inauthentic.
It helps to create Tone of Voice guidelines which can be shared company-wide to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This not only goes for those working with web copy, social posts and advertising, but extends further to customer service advisors and anyone that may be representing the brand.
In fact, when it comes to customer service, it’s important to strike the right balance. Remember that quirky, humorous example we used earlier on? Whilst it’s important to maintain the tone of voice when interacting with customers, when it comes to dealing with more serious complaints or PR matters, this does need to be adjusted accordingly. Remember this awful example? Don’t do that.
The good news is that there are so many brands out there that do get it right. Here are just a few of our favourite brands that are nailing their brand voice on social.
We couldn’t talk about Tone of Voice without giving Innocent a mention! Whether you’re a fan of the brand or not, there’s no denying that they have a highly distinguishable brand voice. From the labels on their bottles and TV ads, to their Instagram captions and conversations with customers via Twitter, their quirky personality is ever-present.
We’ve made a new drink. It’s blue. It’s tasty. It’s blue. It’s good for you. It’s blue. It’s made from apple, lime, guava, and coconut water. It’s blue. It’s boosted with vitamins. It’s blue. It’s the perfect subject for a Venn diagram.
Did we mention it’s blue? pic.twitter.com/7T4QFZlWGm
— innocent drinks (@innocent) April 18, 2019
They may not be everyone’s bag, but fast fashion brands such as Missguided know their audience, and know how to talk to them. Think tonnes of emojis and colloquial language ¬– Missguided talk to their, predominately young and female, audience like they’re talking to a best friend.
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Just Do It. Nike’s iconic slogan pretty much sums up their tone of voice. Empowering and inspiring, their voice is consistent across the whole brand.
Mindfulness brand Headspace seamlessly translates the relaxing, informative and supportive tone of the app into their social channels, online copy and blog posts. With contributions from professional doctors, Headspace manages to broach the sometimes serious subject of our emotions and mental health, without sounding patronising or intimidating customers with scientific language, instead opting to take the simple approach.