Any business that wants to market themselves to consumers (which is pretty much all of them) should consider how they come across. Establishing a personality associated with your brand is a great way to communicate more effectively. Tone of voice is a big part of brand identity, but what exactly is it?
In this blog, we’ll be breaking down how tone of voice is used for business marketing and what steps can be taken to define yours.
Tone of voice for brands
Tone of voice concerns the characteristics of a business that come through in its content creation, regardless of its nature. It can loosely be defined as the way the brand expresses itself, both in writing and through speech. Just as everyone you talk to face-to-face has mannerisms and ways of speaking unique to them, the same is true for businesses.
The only difference is that a business is free to choose how they communicate. As such, tone of voice is an important consideration for young businesses trying to establish their customer base, or businesses going through a rebranding.
Why is tone of voice important in communication?
People are more comfortable buying from another human being, as opposed to a faceless corporation. Who’d have thought? The main reason for this is that tone of voice helps businesses be more relatable to consumers. This is supported by a 2021 research survey, which found 88% of people value purchasing from brands they trust. Tone of voice can also reflect brand values, as well as provide insights into a business’s stance on certain topics.
In the same vein, a business might change its approach to communication depending on if they’re content is B2C or B2B. For lead generation purposes, it might also get adjusted based on the position of the individual in their buyer’s journey. Tone of voice is therefore important, as it allows businesses to be flexible in how they interact with consumers. Without further ado, focusing on tone of voice can have the following benefits for your business.
A recognisable tone can emulate face-to-face communication, making brands come across as more authentic. This is especially effective for marketing channels like social media. For example, interacting with comments allows a business to display their tone of voice without being confined to a specific topic. Consumers are able to develop trust simply by viewing a business’s content from afar. Then when they come to interact with the brand and express an interest in buying, they already know what to expect. The result is tone of voice creates a strong foundation for deepening customer relationships.
Sets you apart
Your tone of voice is unique to your business and its values. Where many industries feature businesses with ubiquitous products and services, a strong personality goes a long way in setting you apart from the competition. For instance, consumers choosing between businesses may opt for the one who’s personality is more in line with their own. Tone also helps consumers become familiar a business, which can be another factor in consumer decision making. This is doubly important in today’s crowded digital marketing landscape.
Read our blog about How to Measure Brand Awareness.
Creates a consistent reputation
Over time, a particular tone of voice can be something consumers come to expect from a business. In many cases it’s what drew them to the brand in the first place. As a result, a recognisable tone of voice can become synonymous with the business’s products and services. This can in turn create a positive reputation and establish a clear target audience.
On the other hand, brands can damage their reputation by having an inconsistent tone. Consumers are likely to be sceptical about businesses that promote one thing with their content, while attempting to sell something entirely different on their website. To ensure the business puts out a consistent image, tone should be considered at every step in the content creation process.
Tone of voice can build consumer trust by making complex topics easy to understand. It’s a one-two punch of imparting relevant information while staying true to your business values. Oftentimes, people are more likely to engage with content when it has some lively elements like jokes and other informalities. This can instil confidence in your audience, as those that can be light-hearted about a topic are usually knowledgeable. Establishing authority through tone of voice can lead to a loyal customer base. This in itself can have many benefits. In the best cases, these people will generate leads for the business by recommending you to others.
How to define your tone of voice
There are many options when it comes to tone of voice for businesses. When finding yours, considerations must be made to ensure its effectiveness. The first step is to define your business’s core values, along with its mission statement. Most of the time, businesses will have a record of their values which can be easily referred to. Nevertheless, it’s still worth going over why they were chosen. This helps reveal the tone of voice aspects you should focus on get the desired effect.
To this end, ask yourself:
- What are my company’s goals?
- Who is my audience?
- How am I going to achieve my business goals?
- What reputation do I want to have?
Once you decide on the traits you would like to appear in your business’s tone of voice, it’s time to think about your audience. Understanding their priorities and expectations will allow you to adjust tone accordingly. A great option for research is identifying the platform where your audience is most active. Being a fly on the wall and seeing how people within this group communicate with one another can act as inspiration.
Finally, businesses should draw up comprehensive tone of voice guidelines. These should then be made available to those responsible for providing content creation services. This enables consistent messaging to be implemented across the brand. Although, tone of voice guidelines should be reviewed every so often so you can adapt to market changes.
Here are some tone of voice examples:
Work with an expert content marketing agency
At Deliver Media, we offer high quality content writing services to fit your business and audience. Our writers take the time to understand your ethos and personality. We work holistically with all our clients so we can tailor our approach at a moment’s notice. If you want to create tone of voice guidelines from scratch, we can help with that too.