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Guides & Advice

How do you define a brand’s tone of voice?

By Stuart Jameson / May 4th 2017

It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it. When it comes to communicating with customers, potential customers and any visitors to your site, it’s important to ensure that you do so in a way that mirrors your brand and market.

Defining the tone of voice you will use when communicating is crucial, we explain the key things to keep in mind when deciding on how your business comes across.

Define your core first

Everything you write or produce should reflect the personality of your company. You need to identify what is at the emotional core of your brand, including the values your brand adheres to and aspects of your business philosophy that you believe should be at the forefront of all your communications. This can help you create the foundation from which to build a suitable tone of voice.

Having a strong emotional core to your communications allows you to not only write about your brand in an engaging and consistent way, but it will also help you to communicate effectively the reasons why your brand exists, as this forms the backbone of your tone of voice.

Values appropriate for your sector

The sector you operate in may have a major bearing on the core of your brand and how you communicate. For example, if your brand is for a lifestyle product you might value friendliness and humour at your core. You then write in a way that reflects this, considering word play, humour and an informal tone when communicating.

Illustration of people holding placards displaying different values

Alternatively, you might work in a focussed sector such as engineering. Here you might value being straightforward and factual. Your writing could be much more restrained, focusing mostly on how skilled your business is and your efficiency in the market.

Striking a balance with audience

It’s important to balance the emotional core against knowing the audience that you either currently reach or plan to reach, as understanding who reads your content can influence how you choose to write it.

On top of that, knowing your industry means you know how your competitors write. Use that information to think how you can make sure your writing separates you from your competitors and makes your business stand out in a positive way. You may embody different core values, but how you put those across will draw certain kinds of readers and clients to engage with your content.

One way to decide on exactly which personality aspects sound right for you is defining some keywords that you feel embody your business. This should help you to start building a brand-specific “dictionary” of the kinds of words that work in your content, and the words you should steer clear of. This way you ensure that you maintain a consistent tone.

Illustration of a set of weighing scales with people on one side and placards displaying values on the other side

Be consistent through all forms of communication

Once you’ve decided on the core values of your business, it’s important to carry them through all forms of communication; the tone you use for internal communications should match communication with clients no matter what platform you’re communicating through.

Even job advertisements should carry the same tone. If you’re trying to put across your values, it should be done through all avenues. On top of that, a well-written and creative job advertisement will help ensure that potential hires have a good idea of the kind of company you are, and will be more enthusiastic about sharing in your values and goals.

Marketing is a process that takes place through multiple channels at once. If for example, you push for a marketing campaign across multiple fronts, and each avenue seems to suggest different things based on the tone, what might that look like to potential employees, clients, and industry influencers?

Some clients may take far longer to land than others; inconsistency with your tone over a period of time may put off some potential clients and can affect how you are viewed in the market, while a united message will give everyone who comes into contact with your business a clear and defined image of who you are, and what you stand for.

We’d love to explore how our outreach or content marketing strategies could deliver results for your business. To arrange a brief telephone conversation with one of our team call 08447 550 350 or get in touch to find out more.