Carswell Gould has over 25 years’ of experience in helping businesses and individuals develop their visual identity and tone of voice. Tone of voice is vital to strengthening brand identity, developing relationships with target clients and adding credibility, among other benefits. However, it is often the most overlooked aspect.
A company’s tone of voice will inform all of its written copy, from its website and social media messages to its emails and packaging. Getting it wrong can cause mixed messages and confusion, alienating the target audience.
Here’s our top five ‘not-so-secret’ secrets to develop a tone of voice that’s right for you:
1. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it
Your tone of voice needs to be consistent across all of your consumer touchpoints or you’ll risk causing confusion and audience alienation. Maintain consistency through having well-structured brand guidelines in place, so everyone involved clearly understands what you are saying. For example, if you want your company to be perceived as relaxed and humorous, then staff should be encouraged to interact with consumers in this way across all written copy and communications.
2. It’s all about storytelling
Whether it’s the company history or the vision of where it’s going next, a good story can present unique information that resonates with the target audience on an emotional level. If told well, the story will embody the brand’s beliefs and values in an entertaining and, more importantly, memorable way.
3. The people behind the brand
Tone of voice should be an expression of the people behind the brand. It should demonstrate the things that drive them, the things they’re passionate (and not so passionate) about, and what they want to share with the world. Furthermore, through involving people in the brand, it means they are more likely to be invested in how the company is represented.
4. Separate yourself from the rest
The tone of voice should be distinctive and recognisable. Consider the tone of voice in everyday language; Everybody’s tone of voice is unique as they each have their own favourite expressions, idiosyncrasies and pace, as well as culture and dialect influencing each individual approach to words. Colloquial language is an efficient way of injecting personality into the brand.
5. Build trust
There is a strong link between familiarity and trust because something familiar requires little effort to process mentally, therefore the audience is more likely to feel at ease around it. Again, the language used must be consistent so that its writing becomes familiar with the key audience. Creating a strong tone of voice plays a crucial part in this.
Overall, your tone of voice encompasses not only the words chosen, but their order, rhythm and pace. So, if you follow our five secret top tips, you will be able to develop a strong tone of voice, guaranteed to bring you success.