Your brand is everything that your customers see, hear and feel about your business. It’s not just your logo. It’s the quality of your staff, service or products; it’s how your website looks and what’s in your marketing materials – opinions are formed at every step of a customer’s journey. But it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it that’s important – and that’s your brand’s tone of voice.
Having the right tone of voice is an important part of your brand strategy and is crucial to the delivery of marketing messages that resonate with your professed corporate values and vision. It includes the choice of words and phrases used, whether sentences are long or short, even the pace at which they can be read. Once defined, your brand tone of voice should be consistent across all communications and reflect the personality and principles of your business.
A corporate law firm, for example, is likely to have a more serious tone – to reflect their professionalism, expertise and gravitas in legal matters. They probably won’t use abbreviations, colloquialisms or be over-friendly in their tone but instead be quite serious and to-the-point, using technical legal terms with a steady rhythm to their written material, to imply confidence that they know exactly what they’re doing. small family solicitors specialising in more personal legal matters might be more informal, with language that is easier to understand with friendlier undertones. They probably wish to give the impression that they understand your needs as an individual, and are on your side.
They’d use shorter sentences and include the use of words like “we”, “together” and “help.” A professional brand consultant can help you to develop the right tone of voice for your business, one that is distinctive and recognisable – and a copywriter can bring this to life in a way that most of us are unable to do so. Having a brand strategy that incorporates a consistent tone of voice will give your customers confidence in your business, and create a feeling of trust. This, in turn, increases their likelihood of becoming – and staying – a customer.
Before defining this crucial element in your brand strategy, you need to think about your values as a business and how you would sum up the personality of your company in a few short words. Quirky, fun, energetic? Scientific, accurate, reliable? It’s useful to get the views of a variety of people within your organisation – it’s always interesting to see how peoples’ views can vary.
There are no right or wrong answers, but obviously, the words chosen shouldn’t contradict each other, or if they do, you’ll need to discuss and resolve any conflicts. This is where a brand consultant can help – by asking the right questions and facilitating the debate so that you get to a set of keywords that all in your business can believe in.
Think about words that describe the way in which you want your customers to think about your business and the customer services it provides. Once agreed, all your customer communications should reflect this tone of voice.
It can take time, especially if you need to change existing materials like websites or printed brochures, but hopefully things will need to be tweaked rather than changed dramatically – use a professional copywriter to help adapt and to develop copy for your sales and marketing materials.
You’ll start to see how a defined brand tone of voice that is applied consistently will have measurable business benefits that will reach directly to your bottom line in terms of increased sales, reduced customer churn, referral opportunities, greater staff retention, and increased profits.