How to find your brands tone of voice
Many things determine the type and popularity of a brand, but only a few are as crucial as the brand's tone of voice. How we address our audience through advertising, appearances, packaging, and representative interaction determines how people will perceive the brand.
How people view your brand is crucial because it determines their likelihood of becoming customers or fans. This is why some corporations invest billions in the public image, leaving no stone unturned in searching for the perfect approach.
Whether you actively strive to have a specific tone of voice or not, chances are that you will develop one either way because, over time, behavior patterns will begin to appear. However, not paying attention to this detail can have you approaching your audience incorrectly, losing many prospects along the way.
In the article, we’ll guide you to finding your brands tone of voice on the road to building an attractive brand.
Find Your Brands Tone of Voice
A brands tone of voice is how it communicates with the audience at every possible opportunity, whether it’s social media posts, advertisements, or other types of messaging. It will determine how the audience perceives your brand and will be critical in whether or not they will get on board.
A brand’s tone can come in different forms and with the purpose of adhering to the standards of a different niche. The tone can be formal, humorous, optimistic, motivational, etc., depending on who the target audience is and what image the brand is looking to build.
The voice isn’t just the actual voice or the text. It is also the imagery, designs, and behaviors that your brand displays to the audience.
Before anything else, the audience will look for authenticity in the tone of voice. This is why you mustn’t just adopt a competitor’s tone for your brand, no matter how intuitive it may be. You don’t want your brand to fit in; you want it to stand out and be the one that says, “We do things differently.”
Moreover, the terms tone and voice are synonymous, but there is a slight difference between them. Voice is the general image of your brand, i.e., how people perceive it when in contact with it.
On the other hand, tone refers more to the mood of the situation and is a bit more fluid in terms of change.
Overall, to determine the best tone of voice, define your brand, focus on core values, and research your target audience. Determining a brand's tone of voice can be difficult, but it is necessary for the success of your company.
Why Your Brand Needs a Specific Tone of Voice
Having a specific tone sets your brand apart from others. In an era of radically declining attention spans, you have to have an eye-catching appearance and demeanor to get people interested in your product or service.
Your product can have the most wonderful features, but if they are badly marketed, people will never find out about them. The tone is not about the substance of the message as much as it is about how the message is conveyed.
Another reason why your brand needs a voice is that it creates a loyal customer base. Communicating in an appealing tone creates a feeling of trust among your audience, making sales more probable.
The brand’s voice must be consistent throughout all departments to maintain that trust. Receiving an inconsistent message may lead to customers having second thoughts or going elsewhere.
For example, if you’ve created a stern and professional persona for your brand in one department, showing a humorous tone in another may not be taken too kindly by a customer.
How to Find Your Brands Tone of Voice
Define your brand
The first step to finding the right tone is knowing what your product or service is about, who the customers would be, and how they would come in contact with your brand. Once you have this, it will be easier to determine the tone.
A big mistake brands often make is that they only adhere to the audience's needs when deciding on a tone. The problem with that is that after coming in contact with your brand, the audience will quickly recognize inconsistencies between the brand and the tone.
You need to have your brand with its core values in mind before targeting the audience because otherwise, you will reach people, but they won't be interested.
Who is responsible for finding the tone of voice?
It is up to the decision-makers to decide how the process will go. A quick way to get it done is to hire a marketing agency that will determine the tone and maintain it. There is always the option for just a few people up the hierarchy to do it on their own.
Since the implementation is the more significant challenge, a very practical solution is to get as many people as possible on board as part of the process of finding the right tone. People are more likely to accept such changes when they are involved in choosing, and you won’t have as many problems as just imposing the changes.
Figuring out the target audience for your brand should always be among the top priorities, and it’s not always easy. Observing data just paints one part of the picture. It can tell you various demographics and statistics, but getting to know your audience requires more profound insight.
Factors such as personality, interests, values, and lifestyle, as well as their ever-changing preferences and attention spans, are impossible to learn from a chart. This plays a significant part in how people like to come in contact with a brand, which is crucial to how you should tailor the tone.
Though it’s not easy, studying the target audience is vital for establishing the tone of voice. Market research tools such as polls and surveys are beneficial, while website and social media metrics are vital to observing behavior and preferences.
Determining your brand's core values is essential before finding the ideal tone of voice. In fact, everything related to your brand should represent your brand’s core values.
What problems is your brand trying to solve, what ideas is your company trying to implement, and what does your brand stand for? The answers to these questions would represent some of your core values.
Figuring out the core values will give a personality to your brand, and it will set the tone for all the marketing materials and communication instructions to the employees.
Study the competitors
Observing the competition will give you more precise ideas about what the market requires and how your brand can fill the gaps your competition leaves. Your brand needs to stand out, and knowing what the competition offers, you need to go for an approach that would be unique.
If you have limited knowledge about the competition, some ideas will likely repeat, thus making your approach similar or bland.
Studying the competition allows you to market their bad sides and how customers wouldn’t have such problems if they were with you.
Many brands base a portion of their identity on what they are not rather than what they are. This is a negative tactic by citing flaws commonly found in competitors, but it gives considerable results, especially in industries where quality solutions are not easy to find.
Determine the tone of voice
After you’ve settled on a target audience and core values, you can now determine the brand’s tone of voice.
Does your brand rule the industry with an iron fist? Or is it a spirited and humorous brand creating happy thoughts for anyone that comes into contact? Perhaps it is an optimistic and professional solution or a motivating thought creator.
You will decide upon a tone for your brand by connecting the traits of the target audience with the core values of the brand. If you’ve done your due diligence on learning about your brand and your audience, determining the tone of voice will come easily and naturally.
While it’s true that you are the one choosing which persona will suit your brand the finest, the tone should, in a way, be choosing itself. The product/service and the audience are invariables in this situation and should be the most relevant factor in determining the tone of voice.
Implementing the tone of voice
This step might pose bigger challenges than the deciding part. After deciding the tone, you must implement it in all brand departments. All communication should adapt accordingly, and all employees need instructions on how to adopt the tone.
Training your employees to accept the brand’s tone of voice is essential because the audience’s perception of your brand rests on the behavior of those who represent it.
To successfully train them, you should first explain what the tone of voice should look and feel like. You should also provide good examples for social media content, emails, or more conventional interactions like public advertising, phone calls, meetings, etc.
The choice of words is essential, and your employees will be happier if the instructions are clear and explained in detail. If the instructions are incomplete, you can be sure that confidence levels will drop and the tone’s quality will suffer, especially in direct communication.
If your brand’s newfound tone of voice is more difficult to implement for some group members, then exercises like role-playing might come in handy. For example, pretend phone calls for customer service employees.
Fine-tuning the tone of voice
Finding the right tone takes time and effort, and you may need more time to get it right. Test the approach with your target audience, analyze the results, and make the necessary changes to improve the tone.
Changing a brand's tone of voice
Changing the voice can be because of a wrong choice at the start or as part of a rebranding process. Opting for another tone can be tricky because it requires changing how people perceive the brand, but there are situations where a change is necessary.
Reasons for changing the brand’s tone include correcting a mistake, rebranding, and introducing a new product/service.
If the change is an attempt to rectify a mistake, the task will be more straightforward because the process will resemble the initial choice of tone. However, if it’s part of rebranding an established brand, then a more thorough process is necessary.
As mentioned earlier, consistency will be critical to setting the desired tone. One potential danger of a change of tone is leaving old content with its old tone to coexist with the new one, creating inconsistencies.
All content should be modified when performing a change of tone, and everyone in the group should be on board with the change. The new choice of tone should reflect both the brand’s core values and the target audience.
Adaptation vs. change
It is important not to mistake simple tone adaptation with a change of tone. When switching to another platform, the tone of voice is bound to change accordingly.
That is something we must accept because the tone also depends on the platform where the content is released. The authenticity and consistency standards still apply, but we won’t post the same content for our Facebook and TikTok audience, for example.
That is where creativity and wit come into play. Maintaining the same tone of voice across different platforms and with different types of content takes a lot of work to pull off.
The tone of voice is what makes a brand recognizable. Everything a brand communicates with its audience in written form, design, imagery, videos, and direct communication, falls under the category of brand voice.
Determining your brand's best tone of voice is done by first determining the target audience and core values. Then, with these two factors in mind, we pick a tone that will strike a balance between what the company offers and what the people need.
A brands tone of voice is like a personality selected to represent the company to the public. Implementing the tone onto the brand requires adapting every department to fit in with this personality and every employee to adhere to the new communication style.
Consistency with the tone of voice across various departments will give people a sense of security and trust in the brand, so it is essential to be consistent with the tone. In contrast, a lack of consistency could drive people away.