Everyone knows you have a wonderful personality (you’re welcome!) but what kind of personality does your brand have? Is it commanding? Chatty? Quirky? All three? It’s very rare for any brand, or person for that matter, to have vastly conflicting character traits, however, if your company has several brands, then it’s utterly acceptable to mix and match…and a lot of fun! Just be aware that each individual brand’s tone of voice, whether it’s edgy or cosy, must be consistent across the board.
Your brand’s personality is most clearly expressed through its tone of voice, or more simply, the words you use to promote your product or service, and how you say them. And believe me, there are words aplenty in your marketing materials, web copy, social media posts and press releases, all ready to make an impact in the marketplace.
It’s vital that your tone of voice remains true across every platform, because consumers are canny folk who will pick up on any discrepancies. You don’t change your logo and letterhead willy nilly, do you? That would lead to mass confusion, weeping and wailing and no one wants that. You want your audience to recognise and appreciate your integrity and that can only be achieved through honest, dependable content.
Keeping your language consistent is a breeze so how do you settle on the perfect tone of voice? Read on.
First of all, sit down with a nice new writing pad and fully inked-up pen, because you’re going to get busy. To be fair, most switched-on business owners will be ahead of the game here, because what I’m asking you to do is identify your business values. This is ‘Business 101’ territory for most businesses but for some of you it could be a helpful exercise, or a least a refresher course in what makes your business unique. Your business values are a reflection of what drives you, what makes you get up in the morning, and how you view the world. Think about two things: the reasons why you started your business and what you want your ideal customer to know about you. Simple!
There’s no need to write a long list, having three or four core values are sufficient. For example, if you sell environmentally-friendly cleaning products you could identify your core values as: responsible, honest and committed. The trick here is familiarity and trustworthiness. If your tone of voice expresses honesty, reliability and simple humanity customers will rush to support and commit to your brand long-term.
When it comes to creating your written content consider the words and phrases that will best describe both your product and your brand values. I would suggest going online and looking at the tone of voice and content of a variety of businesses. You will quickly conclude that they differ considerably! An I.T company will use technical language because it wants to engage with ‘techy’ customers. A builders merchant will use no-nonsense language to articulate the finer details of their products and will steer clear from the kind of ‘flowery’, aspirational language that is common among health and wellbeing brands.
Content writers have a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to tone of voice and language. Regardless of whether you’re selling tech or candles, avoid lengthy sentences and giving too much detail. Consumers want to know what’s in it for them, not how many features or doodads your product boasts. They relate to everyday language and they don’t want to be spoken down to; imagine you’re having a face to face conversation. Writing this way encourages customer interaction, and who wouldn’t want that!
Why not dig a little deeper and find out exactly who your target market is? By building a profile of current customers you can refine your tone of voice and make it more appropriate to potential customers. You can do this by analyzing your social media demographics, breaking them down into age, gender etc. Knowledge is power!
If you take away one key message from his blog, let it be this: make authenticity the backbone of your brand, your business culture and interactions with your audience, embraced by all team members, from the shop floor to the boardroom.
Tell your story, your way! For more guidance on how to perfect your tone voice get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org